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okanagan valleyWe spent about 10 days recovering from our month in Italy. But my addiction to travel not yet sated, we are now making our way up the West Coast, with our ultimate northerly destination, British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. They make good wine there although we don’t see much of it in the U.S. , and it will surely taste good against the backdrop of stunning, landscapes.

We don’t arrive in Canada until September. In the meantime I will be focused, for the most part, on tasting and learning about natural wines as we move through California.

Why natural wine?

Natural wines are wines made without cultured yeast, minimal (or no) use of the preservative sulfur dioxide, minimal modern winemaking technology, no additives, no filtration, and using only grapes grown organically and/or sustainably. As the main promoter of natural wines, Alice Feiring, defines them, “nothing added, nothing taken away” except a little sulfur if necessary.

Although the marketing of natural wines has been controversial among conventional winemakers, the natural wines I’ve tasted have been for the most part quite good. Natural wine represents the avant-garde of the current wine scene, although many people think it’s more hype than substance. Although they claim to be returning to the winemaking techniques of the past, these wines often taste differently from conventional wines. So I’m curious about what those differences are and whether there are consistent flavor profiles that mark a wine as natural.

After all, it’s differences in both wine and geography that make life worth living.

If anyone knows of natural wine producers in California or Washington State that we should visit, let me know.

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