Natural wine - a Copenhagen trend

Photo: Giuseppe Liverino

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?

What is natural wine, and why are Copenhageners so mad about it?

By Hazel Evans

Copenhagen-based food writer, founder of Mad About Copenhagen and one of our local contributors covering Copenhagen's culture, gastronomy and urban development.

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.

Vin De Table

Christopher Melin of Vin de Table in Copenhagen's Nordvest district is one of the men at the centre of the natural wine scene, and he imports wine for many of the bars and restaurants mentioned below.Photo:Mellanie Gandø

“Wine is not supposed to be consistent—it changes with every harvest and that’s the beauty of it.”

With natural wine, there’s no messing around with pesticides, sulphites, chemical yeasts or anything remotely like that. At its heart, the natural wine movement is about letting nature decide how wine tastes. So natural wines are products that very closely reflect the climate and ecology of individual vineyards. Sometimes it tastes funky; sometimes it tastes just like the Chardonnay, you know. But the definition is loose and often mixed up.

“Wine can, for example, very well be biodynamic or organic without being natural, if other, non-natural, interferences occur at some point during the production.”

La Banchina

Down-to-earth café, bar, and eatery La Banchina is one of many places in Copenhagen where you can enjoy natural wine.Photo:Daniel Rasmussen

Alongside the basic definition, a culture of drinking natural wine has recently emerged 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, which also makes it accessible and inclusive.

“But why Copenhagen?!” you might ask. It seems odd that a country with such a flat terrain and lack of vineyards should become the unofficial heart of the natural wine movement.

As with most new developments in Copenhagen’s food scene, the natural wine prevalence can be traced back to Restaurant noma.

Restaurant noma

Restaurant noma was one of the first restaurants in Copenhagen to serve natural wine.Photo:Martin Heiberg

When noma first 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 primary supplier.

“At the time, there were only a few restaurants in Copenhagen serving natural wine, but other chefs soon followed suit and, pretty soon, wine importers, wine bars and bottle shops began to spring up all over the place.”

Today, wherever you are in Copenhagen, you won’t be far away from natural wine.

Facts about natural wine in Copenhagen

  • Natural wine is: organic or biodynamic and has no added pesticides, sulphites or chemical yeasts. 
  • First natural wine importer in Copenhagen: Rosforth & Rosforth that opened in 1994.
  • Neighbourhood with the highest density of natural wine bars: Nørrebro.
  • Since 2003: praised Restaurant noma shaped the popularity of natural wine in Copenhagen.

Press kits - natural wine

Natural wine bars by neighbourhood

Today, wherever you are in Copenhagen, you won’t be far away from natural wine as it has become such a popular choice of beverage for many Copenhageners when dining out. So, without further ado, here is an extensive list of the natural wine bars in Copenhagen.

Restaurants with a natural wine selection by neighbourhood

Natural wine stores by neighbourhood

Wine importers, wine bars and bottle shops selling natural wine have begun to spring up all over Copenhagen in continuation of the Copenhagener's liking of the wine. For natural wine stores offering a unique selection of wine from top European regions read here.

Press photos - natural wine - a Copenhagen trend

Download a selection of pictures related to natural wine in Copenhagen. Press photos - natural wine - a Copenhagen trend. The photographers must be credited. 

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Giuseppe Liverino

Senior Manager - Press & PR