Pop bottles: Natural wine is the unpretentious next step in Orlando's craft beverage scene

Natural winemaker Joe Swick’s ‘The Beav’ uses cinsaut, gewürztraminer, and riesling grapes. Find it at Eola General.
Natural winemaker Joe Swick’s ‘The Beav’ uses cinsaut, gewürztraminer, and riesling grapes. Find it at Eola General. photo by Jessica Bryce Young
It was in Paris two years ago that I first heard people talking about natural wines. Pét-nat was on the menu at many of the trendier places we went, but I never tried a glass. But when natural wines and pét-nat started popping up here back in the states, I figured it was time to give it a try.

I’m certainly no wine expert, so I asked Samantha Lawless (motto: “pét-nats & pet cats”) to tell me what I needed to know. When she’s not petting cats, popping pét-nats or running the front of house at Market on South, Lawless is working on opening a natural wine-centric vegan restaurant, Curate: Art + Wine, with her partner, Shaun Noonan.

photo by Jessica Bryce Young

Natty wine …
Natural wines, also called raw wines, have no added ingredients: no chemicals in the vineyard or cellar, no filtering, no added sulfites. "The natty wine movement is similar to what happened with craft beer – the flavors are fun and funky, not pretentious, but the winemakers are very serious and creative about their product."

Pet-nat …
"Pétillant-Naturel is ‘naturally sparkling’ wine. During fermentation, carbon dioxide is released. In a pét-nat, the wine is bottled while it’s fermenting – the CO2 is trapped inside the bottle, making the wine sparkling. Essentially, it skips a step (primary fermentation) used in Champagne. It’s basically the OG sparkling wine. These fizzy bottles are an awesome intro to natural wine (some people say it reminds them of kombucha)."

Curate: Art + Wine …
"We are not yet open, but we’re currently operating a pop-up wine shop inside Eola General. I’m fairly confident it’s the largest selection of natural wines in town, and all of them are 100% vegan and sustainable as well! One of Curate’s go-tos available at Eola General is Joe Swick’s ‘The Beav’ using cinsaut, gewürztraminer, and riesling grapes. Besides our little operation, the best local spots to find pét-nat would be Pizza Bruno, the Strand, the Parkview or the Swirlery."

Scroll to read more Bite articles
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Orlando Weekly Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.