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The Case for Simplicity// Natural Wine with Emma Siobhan of Glou Glou Girls

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Devotees of simplicity, lean in close. When it comes to my body, I prefer to keep things as close to nature as possible. Organic food. Natural skincare (hi, LAP!). And when 5 o’clock rolls around, you can find me with a glass of natural wine in hand. The case for natural wine is simple: it’s “low-intervention,” meaning that the vintner allows nature to run its course, only stepping in when necessary. Live and let live, so to speak. Grapes are carefully handpicked to ensure only the best of the best gets into your hands. Vintners tend to stick with native yeasts when it comes to fermenting the fruits of their labor. No harmful dyes, artificial flavors, pesticides, or herbicides here! Similar to Lauren’s All Purpose Salve, the ingredients are kept down to the essentials— allowing Mother Nature to do what she does best. And the proof is in the glass! Like the difference between a crispy, fresh apple and one that’s gone mealy, when comparing natural wine and conventional wine: the difference in taste (and the next-day feeling) is too large to ignore. When it comes to skincare, the same rings true. After years of applying harsh products, LAP is like a breath of fresh air. I mean seriously! Even the scent alone is so soothing. In 2020, I don’t think there’s a place for unnatural products in my home. Caring for our Earth is more important now than ever: so I implore you to make a change. Shop small. Whether it be small wine producers, local biz, or diving deep into organic skincare— keep it simple. 

My natural wine love story is short. After being furloughed from my bartending gig in VA at The Jasper, a first-of-its-kind cocktail bar in the heart of Carytown, I quickly discovered that cocktails just don’t taste the same when you make them at home. The ice in my fridge is no good for shaking or stirring. It’s messy (and sticky) to make syrups on the stove. Not to mention how annoying it is to juice citrus at home. Plus, after a ‘tail or two— I’m not so hot on my feet. So, I turned to wine— first, for its simplicity. Pour, sip, repeat. It’s easy. And sharing a bottle (or three) with friends feels way more approachable than being stuck shaking booze every time someone’s glass runs low. That being said, I’m the first person to admit: wine shops can be, uh, confusing. There’s so much to choose from: regions, styles, grapes, producers… the list goes on. Labels are pretty, but relying on them alone can lead you to a bell-peppery white when you were really craving a juicy rosé. Luckily, there is one way to narrow it down.

Finding natural wine is easy— you just have to know where to look. While I adore a label that’s easy on the eyes (peep my Instagram!), the label on the back is actually the one to read. A trustworthy importer/distributor, like Jenny and Francois, Plant Wines, and Native Selections (to name a few), all prioritize natural wine. Plus, once you’ve got a handle on some of the producer names, like Ruth Lewandowski or Martha Stoumen, it’s easy to find them in good company amongst other like-minded vintners.  

Night after night on the couch during the pandemic, I would (and still do) simply sit with my fiancé and enjoy a glass of wine after working long hours as a freelancer. Conversations always turn towards tasting notes: from raspberries to salted watermelon, to even movie theatre popcorn! Perhaps one of the things I love most about raw wine is that the flavors are fresher and (in my humble opinion) more pronounced. One of my favorite things to do is compare tasting notes, especially with people from different backgrounds. In an article for PUNCH! Magazine, sommelier Miguel de Leon remarks upon an experience tasting wine in a professional setting: the tamarind notes in the Cab Franc he was tasting (through which he recalled specific memories from his childhood, eating tamarinds and jackfruit candies) weren’t shared by his colleagues— and it’s no wonder! When was the last time you ate a tamarind candy? If you’re like me, never. Conversing about wine— even just comparing tasting notes— is a display of community and camaraderie within the world of living wine. In the words of de Leon, “We share bottles, we share stories, we share our vulnerability and ourselves.” 

So— for those craving simplicity in these complicated times, natural wine might just be the solution. 

 Stay tuned for the official launch of Glou Glou Girls: a virtual Austin-based wine shop featuring a carefully curated selection of bottles from small farmers with a focus on living, zero-zero, natural wine. A percentage of sales each week will go towards like-minded organizations, WSET scholarships, and complimentary tastings for BIPOC. Local delivery, a wine club (with perks!), and events are just a few of the things around the corner…