Eoghan Neburagho, wine writer, speaker, chef & wine lover, loves wine so much that last year he took a week off work, picked up the phone, and asked to do harvest for a few days. Because - well - why not? He says,
“I just really wanted to see what the process was like from picking to bottling. So, I reached out to Davide Gentile of Lammidia, and luckily enough, he got back to me and said, ‘Sure, I’d love to have you over, I’ll happily host you—you can stay with me for a week in my apartment. So I kind of just threw myself in the deep end.”
It’s this initiative and pure obsession that led us to discover his website in the first place, https://naturalswill.com (and if you don’t already follow him on Instagram, do yourself a favour!)
We wanted to hear more about where this young man’s love of natural wine came from, so we got in touch.
Hey Eoghan, thanks for taking the time! We loved your harvest updates back in September 2021. How was the experience?
It was hard work, there’s no doubt about that. But working harvest just feels like you’re giving back not just to society, but to Mother Nature Herself. You’re really involved with every element; paying such close attention to the vines. We also stomped on grapes, and on my last day, we bottled 4,000 bottles of pét-nat. That’s not exactly giving back to Nature, but rather I felt I was giving back to the natural wine community. In 12 months’ time, many people across the world will be drinking wines that I bottled with my own hands. That was really gratifying.
How was your interest in wine first sparked?
My interest in wine first started about three years ago. I had fully came to terms with the fact that I don’t like beer at all, much to my friends’ disappointment; as this was a time when sipping on a cold pint of beer in a beer garden/pub was a novelty for a young 20 year and his pals. Growing up, I always opted for cider when going to a party, but cider just wouldn't cut it in my twenties, so I was actively looking for a change in my drinking, and for a new taste.
How/when did you first encounter natural wine?
A friend of mine here in Manchester brought a chill-able bottle of Gamay from South Africa round to my flat one evening, as it had caught his eye online. It was called ‘Thirst’ by Radford Dale. We drank red wine cold for the first time that night, and got extremely excited about the alien tastes and flavours we’d just experienced. That was the start…
Did you have a "penny-drop" wine that made you fall in love with wine, or have there been several?
There have been several for different reasons, but there are two that stick in my mind. First, it was that bottle of Thirst; the mere fact that you could chill this red wine in the fridge to enhance its character was mesmerising. Next, it was the 'Pretty Nats' by Koppitsch which really grabbed my interest; my first experience with a pét-nat! The bubbles, the candy red appearance, the savoury flavours combined with strawberry sherbet was astounding. If the Thirst hadn't grabbed my interest enough, Pretty Nats finished the job.
Any wine fact(s) you love/recent learnings that blew your mind?
I was stunned when I first found out about the Georgians being the first (recorded) culture to make and drink wine over 8,000 years ago from qvevris (underground clay jars; a format still used in winemaking today). The beauty of this is that in today's world, Georgia isn't necessarily regarded as a classical winemaking region (for your average drinkers, anyway). It’s the kind of fact I still enjoy telling newcomers to the scene, and to people who aren’t fully involved in wine. I'm also currently reading 'Wine From Another Galaxy' by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew of Noble Rot and I'm LOVING it! It's filled with so much valuable information and has numerous mind-blowing facts scattering the pages.
What can we find you doing when you're not drinking wine?
When I'm not doing something involving wine, you can most definitely find me tuned in to just about any football match I can get ahold of (preferably Chelsea), doing some very basic yoga in the mornings, reading a book (right now, it's 'Letters From A Stoic' by Lucius Seneca), and preparing or cooking some sort of food or meal - as that's what I do for a living outside of the wine world.
What's on your Spotify list at the mo?
I've got various playlists based on mood and genre so i'll give you one track from each playlist:
- Akula Owu Onyeara by The Funkees
- Colors by Black Pumas
- Love Cry by Four Tet
- Don't Need Friends by NAV & Lil Baby
- Royalty Capes by De La Soul
- Devil's Dance Floor by Flogging Molly
- Abracadabra by Steve Miller Band
- LV by Unknown T feat. Young Adz
- Outta Time by Bryson Tiller feat. Drake
What's your desert-island wine (or two...)?
My desert island wine(s) would have to be Rain by Patrick Sullivan, from Gippsland, and the dustiest bottle I could find in Patrick Bouju's ancient 100-year old cave which he has on his property. I've seen footage of it from Action Bronson’s Fuck That's Delicious, and there's boxes upon boxes of very old natural French wine. Mouthwatering!
What’s next for you?
In five years’ time I’d love to have grown the natural wine movement in the northwest of the UK, and in Ireland as well. I’m from Dublin; that’s my roots; and of course living in Manchester means these are my focal points. I’d love to see more people from my generation involved in the movement—appreciating wine as much as you & I—and putting it on the pedestal it deserves to be on. I feel that natural wine is still quite up-and-coming, especially here in the North. I’d like to have been the guy who’s helped to initiate the movement here as much as possible. Whether that’s via writing, YouTube, social, I’m still figuring that out. It’s hard to say what role or position I’ll be working in, but I’d like to work with an importer or distributor; someone who’s heavily involved in the movement.
We love it. And you’re already out there doing it — getting the word of natural wine out there. Thank you Eoghan, it’s been awesome to speak with you.
Patrick Sullivan RAIN
Want to try Eoghan's desert island wine? A blend of Cabernet Franc and Pinot Gris might sound wild, but this is one of the purest wines we've ever tasted. We're on the same page.