25 May 2018

Winemaking the natural way

From Country Life, 9:19 pm on 25 May 2018
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Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

Yoshiaki and Kyoko Sato left the bright lights of Tokyo for the starry nights of Central Otago.

The former bankers now spend their days tending their organic vineyard and making natural wines near Cromwell.

"Wine has to be beautiful," Yoshiaki says. "We believe natural wine making is the best way to make beautiful wine."

Conventionally produced wine can contain a long list of additives including sulphites, yeast, and fining agents, he says.

Yoshiaki and Kyoko refuse to add anything to their Sato Wines.

Sato Wines

Sato Wines Photo: via rootstocksydney.com

And can you taste the difference?

"For me, it's more complex, more gentle, generous, fruity.

"We try to accept what nature gives us every vintage. We take advantage of the grape as a whole."

New Zealanders are only just starting to develop a taste for natural wines, but there is a thirst for them overseas, Yoshiaki says.

He and Kyoko sell 90 percent of their wine off-shore. They export to 11 countries and in each of them, they deal with a distributor who specialises in natural wines.  

Paris and Tokyo have hundreds of bars that sell only natural wines, Yoshiaki says.