From Iceland — Ask A Bartender: Why Is Natural Wine So Popular In Iceland?

Ask A Bartender: Why Is Natural Wine So Popular In Iceland?

Published November 11, 2021

Ask A Bartender: Why Is Natural Wine So Popular In Iceland?
Desirai Thompson
Photo by
Patrick Fore

The popularity of natural wine—the product of farming organic grapes and allowing for the natural fermentation process to proceed without additives or unnecessary intervention—has been sweeping across Europe and the world in recent years. The word on the street is that natural wine gives you less of a hangover due to the lack of sulphates—but is that true? The Grapevine had a conversation with bartenders from two of Reykjavík’s favourite natural wine bars–Anna Weronika Zdrojewska from Vínstúkan Tíu Sopar and Natalia Grociak from Bodega–to find out.

Anna believes that the popularity of natural wine in Iceland is due not only to the influence of international trends, but also a natural extension of a growing focus on what people eat and how they eat. She explains, “People are thinking more and more ‘I don’t want to drink things that make me feel bad, that are packed with a whole bunch of chemicals and preservatives.’ People are also more aware of the impact on the environment. That’s why a lot of people choose to not eat meat.”

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It’s likely this lack of additives that leaves natural wine drinkers feeling slightly less hungover than their commercial-wine-consuming counterparts, however there’s no definitive answer to this question yet.

Regardless, it’s clear that natural wine is making its mark in Iceland–and for good reason. “There’s a way to find something for everyone,” Anna muses. “It makes wine much less posh and much more approachable. With natural wines, it’s much easier to introduce people to new things.”

“My favourite thing about natural wine is the unpredictability of it,” Natalia shares. “When you open a bottle of commercial wine, you know exactly what you’re going to get, but with natural wine it’s always an adventure. It’s always different.”

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