Those who know a little about wine will know that Copenhagen ranks top of the list of places to drink natural wine, surpassing other cities whose proximity to actual vineyards would make them the more obvious choices. But for those less in the know, you might be wondering, what is natural wine exactly? And how did Copenhagen, of all places, become such a hotspot for it?
There is nothing odd about natural wine. In fact, it’s more of a return to making wine the way it was made back in the good old days, before wine producers started adding or removing things during winemaking in order to create a consistent, commercial product each time.
With natural wine, there’s no messing around with pesticides, sulphites, chemical yeasts or anything like that. At its heart, the natural wine movement is about letting nature decide how wine tastes. So natural wines are wines that very closely reflect the climate and ecology of individual vineyards. Sometimes that tastes funky; sometimes it tastes just like the Chardonnay you know. But the definition is loose and often mixed up.
Alongside the basic definition, a culture of drinking natural wine has emerged recently that includes several other principles. One of them is to have fun drinking wine—that enjoying wine shouldn’t be about reeling off facts about grapes and the various vintages, but more about asking yourself, “Do I enjoy this wine?,” or “How does it make me feel?” Or, perhaps, “What does this remind me of?” There’s a loose approach to understanding and describing wine and that also makes it accessible and inclusive.
As with most new developments in Copenhagen’s food scene, the natural wine prevalence can be traced back to restaurant Noma.
When Noma opened, the head sommelier at the time, Pontus Elofsson, realised that natural wine was the perfect match for the dishes that René Redzepi was creating—dishes that used sustainable ingredients based on the same principles as natural wine: with intentions to highlight the brilliance of nature, rather than masking it. Pontus enlisted Sune Rosforth, who was, back then, one of the only natural wine importers in Copenhagen, as Noma’s main supplier.
Today, wherever you are in Copenhagen, you won’t be far away from natural wine.
So, without further ado, here is a fairly extensive list of the natural wine bars, restaurants and shops in Copenhagen:
Let some of Copenhagen's experts on gastronomy, culture and urban development explain just what it is that makes their beloved city unique in its own great-tasting, creative and beautiful way.