World's Biggest Natural Wine Fair

Natural wine is no longer seen as a fad. As the quality has improved a growing number of restaurants and retailers are now listing at least a few orange wines, Pet Nats and zero-SO2 examples. The la Dive Bouteille fair in Saumur in the Loire claims to be the biggest natural wine event in the world, and showcases wines from France and elsewhere.

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La Dive Bouteille and some of the exhibitors
La Dive Bouteille and some of the exhibitors

The first la Dive Bouteille fair was held in 1999 in a cellar in Bourgueil, in the Loire with just 40 or so vignerons. It was organised by Pierre and Catherine Breton, biodynamic producers who made their first zero-SO2 wine in 1992. 

After the first two years, it was taken over by Sylvie Augereau who has been running it ever since and who described the early events as ones in which producers were "happy to see each other once a year, particularly when they were misunderstood at home. We could be rebellious, we could be under the radar, we always could sing and dance."

This year, around 180 French estates are showing their wines, along with 50 'strangers' from Europe, Mexico, Australia, Chile and Georgia. There are also 15 producers pouring spirits (including Armagnac, Calvados and Cognac), vinegars and oils. 

The event is only open to professionals and is located in the Caves Ackerman in Saumur, on February 5th and 6th.

Analysis

Natural wine remains a niche but, as Magalie Dubois reveals, it is steadily building a following in France.

Reading time: 9m 45s

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