It’s Sunday morning after a night out. You wake up surprisingly energetic, clear minded and ready to start the day. This somewhat surprises you as you fondly remember a night before filled with friends, laughter and wine at your local watering hole. Lately even a glass or two of vino has been giving you an icky, foggy feeling which you light heartedly laugh off as “aging” amongst your group of friends. This is the exact feeling that wine drinkers are trying to avoid with the new funky, organic, low intervention wine movement, and millennials are leading the charge.
Now, hangover-free mornings are not at all the claim of this kind of wine. It just happens to be a happy coincidence amongst millennial chatter since the exploration of more unique, consignment wines gained popularity at locales like Savvy Co., Casero , Bruce Wine Bar, and Down Home.
This is by no means the only reason why one would venture into this trending world of delicious juice. Some find the bold and artistic labels to be the draw, other’s the concept of a “chilled red”, while many are experiencing local low intervention favourites found in subscription boxes meant to explore new flavours and styles.
So what is a “funky wine” and how do you ask for one? These varieties have certain characteristics to look for beyond a fun label. One way of discovering these is by asking if they have a “natural” wine. This refers to the low interventional nature of the growing and fermenting process. Wineries who adhere to this method, like Therianthropy, try to intervene as little as possible with the grapes.
From growing the vines with as few chemicals as possible to the avoidance of additives like sulfer dioxide (SO2) or even temperature control during the fermentation process. This process or lack thereof, often leads to the funky and unconventional characters and aromas.
Wild fermentation is another tell tale sign, which consists of naturally occurring yeast from the skins of the grape or a yeast that is already present in the winery environment. The unpredictable nature of this kind of method can indeed require a slower fermentation process but the result is a complex style that is certainly worth waiting for.
A more visual characteristic would be that of the orange wines. While the pseudonym is deceiving, no oranges were harmed in the making of these wines. Coined in 2004 by British wine importer David A. Harvey, these are actually white wines that have been granted a longer maceration period. In other words, the juice has been left in contact with the skins for a certain period of time to tint the colour to a warm amber and infuse a special composite of flavours and texture.
This distinctive style of wine can be found at multiple bottle shop inspired eateries in the area, places like the new Lovebird Snack Club and Gibson & Co and through pop-ups and events like the upcoming Savvy Fest at Savvy Co. where Therianthropy will be showcasing their low-intervention offerings.
If low-headache-probability and artistic labels aren’t enough to seek out this trendy category of vino, perhaps consider it a 6oz adventure for your palette. These refreshing and juicy, sometimes herbaceous and kombucha-esque wines, are definitely worth expanding beyond your “usual” bottle. Not only is the rise of funky wines an intentional choice for those drinking it, but an intentional creation of the vintners making it.
The bright flavours of these natural beauties are refreshing our mouths and widening our eyes. They’re a welcome trend amongst wine lovers and those exploring new and exciting libations. The morning you will thank the evening you for choosing one.
Written by Krista Kulbach
Photos by Tiffany McMillin Photography