What is Living Wine?

woman selling burcak
Burčák being sold on the side of the road in Moravia

Living Wine is our take on a young wine popular in many parts of Europe. We call it “living wine” because of its probiotic and prebiotic components. It is “living” because the living yeast is not killed or removed by chemicals, as is the case with all other forms of wine.

Since living wine is full of healthy yeasts, it also contains large amounts of vitamin B’s. European folklore says that drinking 7L of living wine in the autumn will strengthen the body’s immune system and help keep you healthy through-out the winter. There may be some truth to it too since a healthy immune system is greatly influenced by a healthy gut. The natural prebiotics and probiotics in living wine can only help to revitalize and strengthen your body’s ability to fight off disease.

Another benefit enjoyed by regular drinkers of living wine is that it helps people stay regular and fall asleep at night. If either of these are an issue for you, you may want to consider drinking a moderate amount of living wine each night before bed.

Remember that living wines continue to ferment through its life-span, producing carbon dioxide and therefore, it cannot be corked. Likewise, it cannot be pasteurized without killing the yeast and destroying the fresh, bubbly characteristics that is unique to the drink. It also has a short shelf life of 3-5 days. If it can’t be pasteurized, purified, bottled, transported and stored, it has no commercial value, therefore, the NA commercial wine industry will never be able to sell living wines on a large scale.

Living wine has been around for eons but unless you have a personal relationship with a vintner, are a home-based wine maker with the requisite knowledge and expertise, or are part of our members-only community, you will not get access to this wonderful drink in NA!

You may also be interested to note that Federweißer from the German Feder, meaning “feather”, and weiß, meaning “white”, describing the appearance of the suspended yeast.[1] To find out more about the various forms of young wine, explore the links below:

Burčák: This site provides a great exposition of what burčák is and the culture around the drink particularly in Czech Republic.

Federweißer: This site provides information about the German form of the drink.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federweisser

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