A new wine shop is coming to Downtown Lafayette: Wild Child Wines. It’s a passion project of husband and wife team Denny and Katie Culbert. Neither are new to entrepreneurship, but they hope to start a movement toward new ways to drink and approach wine. Don’t expect Barefoot or Yellow Tail here. The plan is to part wine shop, part hang out.
Natural wines that don’t use additives for stability, color, taste or to speed up fermentation have grown in popularity. Many typical grocery store wines you find by mega-producers, especially from the United States, have added sugars and food coloring to please mass consumer palates. The Culberts hope Wild Child Wines can open the community up to more organic, artisanal varieties.
“We want to provide Lafayette with the wines we love to drink. Coming from retail and food marketing backgrounds, plus our die-hard love for natural wine and Downtown Lafayette, a Downtown wine shop seemed like the perfect fit,” Katie says. “We live Downtown, and we couldn’t possibly dream of a better time to open a retail space in Downtown Lafayette.”
The shop is located at 210 E. Vermilion, the current location of Denny’s photo studio, and opens this weekend. (The couple’s young daughter, Kitt Capri, is emblazoned on the store’s logo.)
The new shop has wines from producers who dry farm, meaning they don’t use additional water or irrigation. They carry wild-fermented wine, which uses native yeasts found on grapes and in the vineyard.
“We want to create a destination for those who are ready to taste and explore a world of wine that is vibrant and alive,” Katie says. “We believe in wine that has been cared for deeply from grape to the bottle with nothing unnatural added in-between whether that be pesticides in the field, flavor inducing yeasts or extra sulfites for stability.”
Katie says they are choosing producers who do not compromise just to make more money.
“These are growers and producers that are going against the traditional system to make wines that they believe represent the terroir [earth/flavor] of their fields and that pay homage to the traditions of their forefathers. Even the wines themselves can get a little wild and that’s what we love the most,” she says.
By “getting a little wild” she means the end result of natural wine can sometimes produce a funky, complex wine with sediment floating at the bottom. Think of the strongest kombucha you’ve had and add booze — that’s kind of how some natural wine tastes.
Even for regular wine drinkers, exploring the realm of natural and organic wine can be intimidating, since many of these types of wine act and taste very differently from conventionally produced bottles. However, Wild Child encourages exploration.
“We’re hoping Wild Child is the kind of place you might stop in on your way home from work, drink a glass of wine, and buy a bottle or two to take home for dinner,” Katie adds.
“We’re big fans of bubbles,” she says.
Follow developments on Instagram at @wildchildwines