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It’s only natural

It’s only natural
It’s only natural
Inspired by the idea of building a disruptive, inclusive and authentic wine business, Sam Olive and Taylor Meanwell launched Wine Freedom 5 years ago. The company supplies natural wine to bars and restaurants across the UK; Alchemillia, Carters, Ynyshir and Simpsons amongst them.

Inspired Beginnings

 

We believe consumers want a more authentic experience.  99% of wine bottles on the shelf don’t offer this, most are mass produced coca-cola juice. We do wine the way it’s supposed to be.  Championing proper wine that provides a real, authentic experience. Wine that’s more natural.

“When I first tried a bottle of natural wine it was like a door had been opened. Like someone had given me a top of the range sound system. Like I had been given a new pair of glasses and I could see all the colour and the detail. I suddenly learned natural wine is a more vibrant, complex and visceral experience.”

We believe consumers want a more authentic experience.  99% of wine bottles on the shelf don’t offer this, most are mass produced coca-cola juice. We do wine the way it’s supposed to be.  Championing proper wine that provides a real, authentic experience. Wine that’s more natural.

A new language

We’re creating a new wine language.  Creating experiences where taste and stories come together. We love seeing that ‘lightbulb moment’ when a customer suddenly realises how it all works; when they get it, they simultaneously realise how simple and complex wine is; and they want more!  

There’s a gaping hole in the industry for creative wine education.  You have to make the subject personal, relevant, framed in a language everyone understands. 

“There’s so much pompous wine jargon out there no one understands. What’s the point? The industry is awash with ego, ‘look at me, don’t I know a lot’. We affectionately call them wine w*nkers.”

Diversity, please

I’m a middle-class white boy; unfortunately the wine industry is awash with us, which desperately needs to be pulled into the 21st century. One of the most exciting elements to wine is its diversity; from country, region and culture.  This needs to be represented. It is key to the future interest and health of our industry.

It’s only natural

Why natural wine?

With well-made natural wine you are giving your guests the opportunity to travel.  It provides an experience unparalleled by conventionally made wine. It transports you, a window into the vineyard, a true taste of the place. Like liquid geography.  It’s kind of like tourism in a bottle.

“As an operator or restaurateur you have to ask yourself ‘Am I concerned and connected to what I’m putting on the plate? Yes? Then you should be bothered about what you’re putting in your customers glass. Natural wine is simply ‘proper’ wine that hasn’t been f*cked around with. If you source free range, hand reared produce then why not show the same care and attention to your wine.”

You taste the grape, the vineyard, the vintage.  Natural wine also has less shit in it, most bottles only have a little sulphur dioxide to help it age or travel. Conventional wine often has many additives – cultured yeast, oak chips, added sugar, fining and clarifying agents, acidifiers, de-acidifiers, stabilises and many more. natural wine has very little or none of these – just grapes.  

So, where to start designing your own wine list?

We create wine lists based on accessibility, simplicity and diversity, always keeping the consumer at the centre.  Always start with the customer. Ask yourself ‘what are my customers thinking?’. You sit down at the table, you’re handed a wine list, what do you feel? A little confused? Apprehensive even! Many feel under pressure to make that important wine decision.  If you have a good front of house team that understands how to represent, then natural wine is easy.  Every bottle of natural wine has a story. Nothing about natural wine is manufactured, unlike most conventional wines. A great wine list allows the host, Sommelier or front of house to bring those bottles to life!  Natural wine allows you to do this with authenticity. 

Ok, so how did you go about designing an award-winning wine list?

Again, simply start with the consumer. At Hampton Manor (where we won the AA Wine List of the Year) we found that most fall into one of two groups. Ones looking for a drop of something familiar and others wanting to be educated with something new.  That’s two sorts of experiences to cater for.  In simple terms, we named them ‘Comfort’ and ‘Adventure’.

Taking the Comfort route? We will introduce you to all the familiar, well known grapes, regions and styles, representing the best we can find on the market. 

Looking for Adventure!? We lead you off the beaten track, taking you by the hand and giving you a very different wine experience. Obscure grapes, unknown regions and flavours unfamiliar and new.

Many of the wines selected for the list had been found or suggested by the wider team, James and Fjona included.  It was important we built a robust model that allowed the concept to change and evolve dependent on staff and representation. 

Smaller wine list makes sense, right?

Absolutely, there are endless benefits: More confident service. More focussed to your menu. Better cashflow. Easier for your staff. Less stock. Less space. Less cash tied up. Less confusion. 

It’s only natural
It’s only natural
It’s only natural

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