Three Angelenos—natural wine importer and distributor Roni Ginach, wine writer and Alta Journal contributor Sydney Love, and Alta editor at large Mary Melton—pondered the prevalence of natural wine in their city on Alta Live, even as the definition of such wine varies by winemaker. Despite some debate, winemakers generally agree that natural wine includes no synthetics, chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides in the growing process, is fermented wild rather than with commercial yeast, and has few to no other additives. “The baseline of natural wine is that we make wine without all that stuff,” Ginach said of the wines she imports and distributes. “No chemicals. Indigenous yeast.”
Melton asked Ginach and Love a question that is at the crux of Love’s Alta story about natural wine: Why does it appeal to women, and to Los Angeles? “L.A., in my opinion, has always been an underdog in terms of food and wine,” Love said. “Major somms were in other cities; they were in New York or San Francisco or Napa or elsewhere. L.A. just became a place where women could try this new thing out and run with it. From there, you build a community, and it just blossomed in the past several years.” And to Ginach, who got her start in the industry at Domaine LA and went on to convert the iconic Santa Monica restaurant Michael’s to a natural wine list, the best way to enter the natural wine scene is to build a relationship with your local wine shop. “Once you start drinking natural wine, going back to conventional wine is kind of impossible,” Ginach said. “I’ve ruined many palates this way, which I feel very pleased with myself about.”
Check out these links to some of the topics Ginach, Love, and Melton sipped on.
- Read “Uncharted Terrior,” by Sydney Love, from Alta’s Fall 2021 issue.
- Read “Defending the Lifeblood of Napa,” on climate change’s impact on Napa wineries, by Heather John Fogarty.
- Read “California’s White Wine Problem,” by Sydney Love.
- Read Alta’s remembrance of food critic Jonathan Gold, who died in 2018.
- Find your local natural wine shop.
- Visit Roni Ginach’s business, Roni Selects.
- Shop at Domaine LA.
- Dine at Michael’s Santa Monica, which has a wine list curated by Ginach.
- Check out Ginach’s, Love’s, and Melton’s recommendations for wines to check out this holiday season. Love and Melton are drinking wines from Beaujolais and the Loire Valley, and Ginach prefers sparkling wines at this time of year.
- Read You Had Me at Pét-Nat: A Natural Wine–Soaked Memoir and History in a Glass. •