At Bella our underlying philosophy is to produce natural wines of exceptional quality.
What is natural wine?
Attempting to define “natural wine” is difficult simply because there has never been a governing body defending the term and every winemaker is presented with a unique set of choices when responding to what the vintage presents.
So for Bella it really boils down to: what is “natural” to Jay?
To make an expressive wine that truly reflects the land where it is grown and the conditions under which it is made, free from chemicals and excessive intervention.
And what does that mean?
- start with conscientious farming. organic fruit – hold to the same high standards as other types of produce; farming without pesticides; high touch involvement; cultivating a complete vineyard ecosystem that incorporates diverse vegetation, farm animals, composting.
- pick according to the season not a recipe. Flavor is the primary indicator with colour, phenolics, brix (e.g. sugar levels) confirming the gut choice but it is all based on the vintage. Fortunately, BC is blessed to have natural acidity in our fruit.
- gentle processing. whole cluster press – it’s more gentle on the fruit and provides less particulates in the juice.
- primary ferment is feral (wild) – e.g. without the addition of commercial yeasts.
- no additives! – for instance: enzymes, nutrients, tannins, riddling aids, fining agents are all found in traditional sparkling wine production.
- an absence of preservatives – we try to maintain less than 10 parts per million (“ppm”) of free sulpher
- let the ferment dictate the time table. It’s ready when it’s ready.
- cold stabilize with the assistance of mother nature.
The above list is the driving philosophy of our ancestrale sparkling wines and our traditional champenoise style sparkling wines which also require:
- filtering – we would prefer not to filter and thereby maintain intense flavor and aroma but occasionally there are good reasons to do so and in this instance we cross-flow filter because it is the gentlest on the juice.
- second fermentation. EC1118 yeast and Roger’s sugar are added prior to bottling to start the second fermentation in bottle for our vineyard series. Our trad-nat is a natural second fermentation, read more here.
- please note: even our traditional champenoise sparkling wines are considered a natural wine in most places around the world.
Finally, if for whatever reason we don’t follow the above we’ll tell you. Transparency is paramount to natural wines.