Our collection of natural wines, ciders and sake, chosen in partnership with wine professionals Brian McClintic and Vanya Filipovic, are about more than just superior sipping. By coupling ancient fermentation techniques with restorative farming practices, our partners rebuild damaged soil, restore native biodiversity, and help draw down carbon—all while delivering beverages that are as rich with life as the landscapes that inspire them.
Straddling Austria and Hungary’s fertile lowlands, Meinklang is one of the largest biodynamic farms on earth.
Meinklang, a Demeter-certified biodynamic vineyard, is home to more than 300 plant species and spans roughly 7,400 acres, although only 200 acres of wine grapes thrive in the rich soils left by an extinct volcano. Wild flora—especially clover, vetch, native grasses and nettles—thrive among the rows, loosening the soil and stimulating the vines into healthy competition. In addition to serving as habitat for threatened pollinators, these inter-row crops help draw down carbon. Fed by a homemade compost of livestock dung, pomace, green waste and rock powder, the vines grow naturally with limited pruning, delivering grapes with a high skin-to-pulp ratio and complex flavor profiles.
Anneliese and Werner Michlits, Meinklang’s founders, work side by side with their three adult sons to restore the region’s biodiversity. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the shallow lakes and marshes that made these soils so rich were drained to make way for industrialization; the area is finally returning to productivity thanks to the Michlits’ regenerative, water-friendly growing practices. Given the family’s commitment to unfiltered wines bottled with little to no sulfites, you can experience the lushness of this lowland landscape with every pour.
This certified organic vineyard on New Zealand’s South Island uses captured rainwater for much of the winery’s needs.
To grow his exquisite wine grapes and orchard fruit on land surrounded by mountains and sea, Alex Craighead relies on regenerative, dry-farming techniques that benefit not only the vines and trees but also local fauna. Excess graywater from the winery is channeled to a restored wetland where wildfowl thrive, thanks to his commitment to avoiding synthetic fertilizers and herbicides. Though the property totals 90 acres, the vines take up just ten, leaving plenty of pasture and forest habitat for the creatures—domestic and wild—that play a vital role in the ecology of the vineyard.
For Craighead, wine begins underground. The son of a soil scientist, he ensures the health of his fruit by developing site-specific compost teas from grape pomace, straw, and foraged seaweeds. Craighead has returned to viticulture’s roots by aging many of his wines in handmade clay vessels. He doesn’t fine, filter, or add sulfites—promising that these wines are as alive in your glass as they are the farm.
Château de Béru
Nestled among France’s renowned Chablis Grand Cru foothills, Château de Béru dates back more than 400 years.
Chablis’ wine tradition dates back to the first century A.D., when Romans realized the unique fertility of the region—owing to the tropical ocean that covered the landscape during the Jurassic period—and planted the first vines. In recent times, industrial wineries, with their heavy dependence on pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and machine harvests, have come to dominate the region.
Château de Béru pursues a radically different, regenerative path. Demeter-certified biodynamic since 2010, the estate spans almost 40 acres of coveted kimmeridgian soils, where fossilized oyster shells deliver their nutrients directly to the vineyard’s root systems. Valerian, nettle, chamomile, and silica preparations are used instead of synthetic fertilizers, and any necessary ploughing is done by horse.
Athénaïs de Béru cherishes this land, passed down from generation to generation since the 17th century. She and her mother, Laurence, in their shared quest for the perfect bottle of wine, have returned to the practices used by their ancestors. In addition to limiting human intervention during the growing season, only indigenous yeasts are allowed to contribute to fermentation. All of the family’s wines are aged deep underground in a 13th-century cellar where temperature and humidity remain naturally stable. Pour a glass to experience an exceptional Chablis with a storied past—and biodynamic present.
Frank Cornelissen is reviving Sicily’s ancient, regenerative viticultural practices—on the slopes of an active volcano.
Certified organic since 2010, the Frank Cornelissen estate spans 60 acres on Mount Etna’s rugged and rumbling north slope, where volcanic basalt boosts vineyard health. Across much of the grounds, indigenous Nerello Mascalese vines have been trained to grow using the traditional, free-standing alberello method, which produces a more robust grape. During ripening, clusters are carefully tended to remove damaged berries. This attention to detail continues through harvest; each cluster of grapes is cut at its peak of phenolic potency, ensuring a striking profile in each bottle.
Frank Cornelissen’s approach to winemaking begins by looking back at the Mediterranean’s millennia-old tradition of sustainable, self-sufficient viticulture. Olive trees aid the grapes by retaining water and attracting beneficial insect life, while cereals like buckwheat help suppress weeds and prevent erosion. Try a bottle; you’ll be struck by the vital, living flavors of this region, which has been producing wine for at least 2,500 years.
Wild Arc brings regenerative viticulture to a family farm in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Home to the oldest and longest continually operating wineries in the United States, the Hudson Valley and its grapes benefit from a microclimate influenced by the Catskill Mountains. Wild Arc, a ten-acre family farm established near Pine Bush in 2016, is busy showing the world how harnessing the power of nature can produce a better bottle. Their Marquette grapes thrive thanks to inter-row crops of grass and wildflowers, which help prevent erosion and break up compact soils. Instead of spraying industrial pesticides, Wild Arc encourages flocks of ducks, chickens and geese to wander the vines, where they consume insects known to damage grapes.
For Todd Cavallo and Crystal Cornish, the founders of Wild Arc, permaculture is a family affair. Their young daughter, Luca, plays among the vines in summer and watches with awe as the grapes are harvested each autumn. Naturally fermented and bottled without added sulfites, Wild Arc’s wines deliver the good life of the farm direct to your glass.
In the Valle del Cachapoal, at the foot of the Chilean Andes, Alai is using ancestral Basque techniques to remake modern cider.
Rooted in fertile alluvial terraces, Alai’s orchards are over 50 years old and include Royal Gala, Granny Smith, and Scarlet varietals. Quince trees thrive along the orchards’ edges, where they protect the apples from destructive fauna (and add a fascinating bite to the finished cider). Horses and sheep control the native grasses in the orchards, while also enriching the trees with their “locally sourced” fertilizer. Alai’s apples are always hand-harvested at peak ripeness before delivery to an on-site, artisanal basket press, ensuring only small batches with vintage-specific flavor profiles.
Laurence Real, founder of Alai Sidra, is a Basque-born oenologist who decided in 2013 to devote her talents to the preferred drink of her ancestors. She brought to Alai the ancient pétillant naturel method of fermentation, used for sparkling wine. The result is an unfiltered, naturally effervescent, vigorously complex cider whose floral notes give way to a finish as crisp as the mountain air.
Japan’s Terada Honke brewery, founded in 1673, makes renowned sake from local rice and sacred spring water.
After trying modern industrial fermentation techniques that took over the sake industry in the mid-20th century, Terada Honke returned to traditional brewing practices over three decades ago. Their sake has never tasted better. The brewers begin with local rice varieties, in our case Miyama Nishiki and Kamenoo, grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Then they wash and soak the grains in “mother water” drawn exclusively from a spring under the nearby Kozaki Shrine in Chiba Prefecture. Their ancient fermentation process depends on homegrown koji—a type of beneficial culture allowed to prosper in a charcoal-lined room—and native yeasts that have thrived on-site for more than three centuries.
Masaru Terada, the 24th-generation owner and brewmaster (toji), sees his role as guaranteeing the health of all the organisms that contribute to the making of sake, from microorganisms that thrive in the rice paddies because of restorative farming practices, to the koji and yeast that catalyze fermentation, to the workers who stir the liquid while singing the same joyous motosuri songs that were sung centuries ago. Masaru believes that these ancient melodies help bring the koji and yeast into a delicate rhythm with the human actors in the brewery, and for this reason he—like his predecessors—limits the use of mechanized equipment on-site. Open a bottle of this singular sake, and you’ll taste Terada Honke’s commitment to life lived in synergistic harmony.
Our Fall 2021 Release
We offer six natural wines, a sparkling piquette, two ciders and a sake—all produced using restorative farming practices and bottled with minimal intervention.