Nick and Harleen Hargun’s venture into the wine industry proves that the greener the grape, the sweeter it tastes.
When forward-thinking ideas combine, the result is often an inimitable business endeavour that captures the right market. Such is the case with Naturalista, a newly launched enterprise by dynamic husband and wife duo, Nick Hargun and Harleen Hargun. Their business is an online portal of natural wines, all of which have low intervention methods in the wine-making or vinification process. Launched this year, Naturalista has already captivated Bangkok’s food scene with its dedication to promoting sustainable agriculture, all of which pay homage to small local wineries that make Thailand’s drinking scene so unique. Nick reveals more about the conception and success of this cutting-edge brand.
How did you come up with the name?
We wanted an identity that encapsulates our individuality and philosophy. The name Naturalista just seemed very fitting as the term refers to the ideology of low-intervention farming. Our mission is to provide exposure to exciting natural wines currently in production, and by pairing our choices with artisan foods and hand-crafted experiences, we believe it’s a winning combination!
What inspired you to venture into the wine industry?
The first time I tried a bottle of natural wine, I knew I found my calling. I was intrigued to learn more, and the deeper I dove, the more I realised that whatever we consume daily affects us in the long-term. So I knew it was time for a change.
How did you come up with the idea to explore organic alternatives to vinification?
Our ideology was inspired by ‘terroir’, a French term that takes into consideration all the environmental factors that affect a crop’s distinct characteristics. We chose to apply these ideals to the promotion of biodynamic and sustainable farming in viticulture. Through our events, we aim to educate other wine drinkers to understand the minimal intervention approach.
You might be asked this often, but aren’t all wines natural?
On the surface it may seem that all wines are natural, but there are actually varied principles in winemaking. These include the conventional approach which involves pesticides and lab yeasts, and the sustainable approach, which allows flexibility while focusing on conservation and renewable resources. There is also the organic approach, which involves additive-free, naturally-grown grapes and a biodynamic where vineyards are considered delicate ecosystems affected by lunar and astrological cycles. Lastly, there is the Ayurvedic approach where wines are often unfiltered, and native yeasts are of utmost importance.
The wines we have curated incorporate sustainable, organic and biodynamic principles, and we hope consumers understand the difference and choose us in their journey to drink wine more consciously.
Do you believe that Thailand is heading in the right direction in terms of sustainable agriculture?
At our event ‘On Common Ground: A Natural Wine Exhibition’, it was concluded that Thailand still has a long way to go, as return on investment remains a driving force behind businesses regardless of their consequences. A farm I would recommend everyone to look into is Raitong Organics. They are the leaders in sustainable farming and should be considered role models for fellow growers looking to make a change.
How have you chosen to market your product?
We are naturally sociable, and we believe that our target audience will interact with the content we create through social media. The organic wine market is still in its infancy, and so we use our Naturalista events as a platform for educating and promoting the industry, hoping that more people will engage more with multisensory experiences. All our efforts are aimed at driving traffic to our online delivery portals.
Why did you decide to pair wine with music at your events?
Wine is often limited to the sense of smell and taste. However, we believe that wine can offer a multisensory experience when paired with music. It is a purely experimental decision, so let us know what you think!
What are your top wines at the moment?
We have so many favourites right now, including Gut Oggau, Michael Gindl, Lucy Margaux, Claus Preisinger, Domaine L’Ecu and Patrick Sullivan. It is a crime to name just a few, but the beauty of these biodynamic wines is that they keep changing. With every passing year, these vintages offer something different.
Do you consider Naturalista to be a part-time project? If so, how do you manage your full-time career with this endeavour?
I am self-employed, so I get to organise my day as I see fit to achieve my goals. My wife also supports me with various aspects of the business including branding, digital strategy and events.
What upcoming events should readers keep a tab on?
We can’t reveal too much at this stage but follow us on our social media accounts to keep up with our upcoming events. Add us on Facebook and Instagram at @naturalistabkk
If you are interested to learn more, drop Nick an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Naturalista’s online delivery portals at naturalistabkk.com and gonaturalista.com.