Sustainably Made Wines To Share At Your Holiday Meals

You’ve carefully planned a menu for your holiday feast, focusing on what’s local and in season. The cheese plate is ready to go; a pie crust is prepared and waiting in your freezer. Now, to ensure that your guests enjoy their food to the maximum and that conversation flows freely, you need wine—but not just any wine. To think sustainably, and support artisanal winemaking this holiday season, look to the eclectic and surprising world of natural wines

To think sustainably, and support artisanal winemaking this holiday season, look to the eclectic and surprising world of natural wines.

Natural wines—a term that loosely refers to hand-harvested wines made from organic vineyards—are unfined and unfiltered. Added yeasts, flavorants, and adulterants are also omitted. They only have the smallest addition of sulfites, a common preservative. In other words, we’re just talking about fermented grape juice! 

With that in mind, below, I’ve noted five natural wines under $30, including some personal favorites. As someone who has sold, harvested, produced, and now writes about natural wines (my first book You Had Me At Pét-Nat is now available in bookstores), it’s fun and also important for me to introduce others to the best options on the market. If you’re looking for a holiday beverage that supports ecological farming and environmentally conscious production, and that delivers pure flavor, this list is it!

Note that natural wines can taste a little wild, but in the most exciting way—there may be sour notes from the wild ferment, for example. No two bottles are alike. All of these are somewhat limited in production, so if you can’t find the exact bottle, you might look for something else from the same producer or ask your local shop for a similar style from a different natural winemaker. 

1. “Rosa, Rosé, Rosam”

Winemaker | La Grange Tiphaine
Price | $24

A fizzy, pink blend of Cabernet Franc, Côt (Malbec), Gamay, and Grolleau, from a family-owned biodynamic vineyard in the Loire Valley.

This off-dry, fruity, and bright sparkling wine (pétillant-naturel, as it’s called in France, or just “pét-nat”) is the perfect wine to start off your meal. Serve with a platter of antipasto, charcuterie, dips, or crudités if you feel like something lighter.

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2. “Nas del Gegant Rosado”

Winemaker | Escoda-Sanahuja
Price | $29

From one of Spain’s most popular natural wineries, this rosado (a slightly darker rosé) is a blend of two powerful red grapes, Trepat and Garnacha.

This rosado has a saline quality to it that makes you immediately want another glass when you’ve just had one. It’s tart and extremely refreshing, and would go well with a dish like arugula and goat cheese salad.

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3. “Viognier/Roussanne”

Winemaker | La Ferme des Sept Lunes
Price | $27

Have you ever tried a white wine that’s round, supple, and textured? This blend of Viognier and Roussanne, from a biodynamic winery in France’s Rhône Valley, is exactly that.

When I lived in Paris, I often went to the cutest wine bar in the city, La Buvette, for apéro (a drink to start off the night) and sipped this wine alongside a plate of charcuterie. It would be wonderful with roast chicken.

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4. “Fleurie Cuvée Tardive”

Winemaker | Clos de la Roilette
Price | $29

Gamay is a crowd-pleaser, and it’s also very important to the natural wine movement—the Beaujolais region, where Gamay is grown, is where the idea of organic, preservative-free wine began.

Clos de la Roilette makes a Gamay that was a best-seller when I worked in wine retail in Brooklyn. This one is made from an 80-year-old vineyard, which lends depth to the wine. Perfect for a hearty main course!

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5. “Obelus”

Winemaker | Caleb Leisure Wines
Price | $26

Here’s a California winemaker using clay vessels called qvevri, imported from the Republic of Georgia (where they are traditionally used). Caleb Leisure makes small-batch wine in Sonoma, and the wines change from year-to-year.

This one is a spicy, leathery red blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre, from a vineyard in the Sierra Foothills. Have it with a rich, warming main course, or alongside a ripe blue cheese and some dark chocolate to finish off your meal.

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Rachel Signer is the author of YOU HAD ME AT PÉT-NAT: A Natural Wine-Soaked Memoir, and publisher of Pipette Magazine, an independent natural wine-focused print magazine. Originally from the U.S., Rachel lives in Australia with her husband and daughter, making natural wine under the labels Lucy M and Persephone. Follow Rachel on Instagram at @rachsig.


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