It’s no surprise that natural wines are gaining popularity in Singapore. After all, it’s made from hand-picked fermented organic grapes, where nothing is added or removed. No added additives like fake oak flavor, sugar, acid, egg white and with little or no sulphites.

Conventional wines (aka non-natural wines) that we drink, on the other hand, comes with a ton of intervention during the wine-making process. You get the pesticides & herbicides in the vineyard, and chemicals you never knew could go into your glasses from the cellar. Winemakers add loads of stuff to regulate flavour, acidity and to preserve them. Sulphur dioxide for one, is why you get a bad hangover the next day. Imagine drinking all that down your gut. So, given the absence of foreign chemicals, additives and manipulation, natural wines sound like the better,  healthier option to unwind with. And the best part about growing grapes organically and producing wines naturally is that it reduces the impact to our environment.

Natural wines are often misunderstood as being too ‘funky’ or ‘not clean’ but there’s always something for everyone that won’t feel like an acquired taste. We’re always sourcing for the most interesting and delicious natural wines at Chico Loco for you to try. And if you don’t already know, natural wines and spit-roast chickens are a match-made-in-heaven!

Our General Manager and in-house wine enthusiast, Will Leonard, answers some of the most commonly asked questions about all things natural wine.

What’s in natural wines that’s different from conventional wines?

Natural wines essentially have a different appearance, aroma and flavour. While many natural wines are actually pretty normal in style, some can be really wild and complex. Due to the fact that natural wines are unrefined, unfiltered and well, natural, they might look more cloudy and carry a funkier flavour. While others describe it as ‘sour’, ‘barnyard’, it’s actually a result of the use of native yeasts and lack of preservatives.

Are natural wines the same as organic or biodynamic wine?

Organic and biodynamic wines are part of the natural winemaking umbrella, but their definition and requirements vary.

For a wine to be labelled as ‘Organic Wine’ in the U.S., the wine has to be made from organically grown grapes, and the winemaker also may not add sulfites to the wine at any stage. Even then, organic wines do undergo other technological and chemical processes in the winery, which makes them less than natural already.

Biodynamic wine, on the other hand, goes beyond organic -  they take into consideration far more aspects than just the grapes. Biodynamic farming views the farm or vineyard as one whole entity and creates an ecosystem with diversified crops within the farm to self-sustain every section, with each component of the farm contributing to the next.

They pride themselves on using natural materials and composts to sustain the vineyard. A range of animals live on the soil and fertilize it, producing a rich and fertile environment for the vines to grow in, without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to increase soil fertility. Biodynamic farming also means that they follow a biodynamic calendar as part of the process, from pruning to harvesting.

Despite all these, it is possible for both organic and biodynamic wines to have additives and allow for the use of inoculated yeasts for fermentation and the use of animal-based fining agents, unlike natural wines which involves little to no intervention.

Does natural wine contain sulfites?

Sulfite is a natural byproduct of fermentation, so yes, natural wine does contain sulfite, but not any more that it produces. Conventional winemakers add sulfites to their wines to keep them fresher for longer, but natural wines mean that there is minimal or no added sulphur, giving each bottle a different taste.

Is there an official natural wine certification?

As opposed to organic and biodynamic wines, there is no certifying body for natural wines. But do look for hints like “minimal intervention”, “natural winemaking techniques” and “unrefined/unfiltered”.

If you love our food at Chico Loco, chances are you have signed up for the #DirtyHealth revolution! It means we are in the same camp that advocates eating well and not compromising on taste at the same time.

We have seen salad bowls and green juices taking over everyone’s instagram pages, and all the talk about eating clean -- ugh, boring! That’s why, when we created Chico Loco, our sole purpose was to bring you delicious food that are fresh, healthy, AND tasty. Yes, keyword: tasty.

To us, eating healthy has never been about feeding on salads and certainly doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy proteins and (a little) carbs. Our signature spit-roasted chicken is hormone-, antibiotic-, and cage-free, and that means you don’t feed yourself with artificial stuff - a much healthier option as compared to your regular fried chickens, don’t you think! A big bonus is that its flavour, texture and taste are just as on point. 

So if you ask us to choose between a boring salad and a good healthy protein, we’re sure you know the answer.

At Chico Loco, we’re all for you to get messy with your food and using your hands to devour that drumstick. Because it’s #FoodWorthGettingDirtyFor

It’s okay to be dirty, and it’s okay to be yourself, to not conform to social standards of healthy eating. So forget about #eatingclean or detoxing, because what really matters is eating well and in moderation while savouring every single bite! 

Life is too short for boring food. #RealChickenRealGood

(Photo: Renata Mascarello/Flickr)

The word that seems to be on everyone’s lips as of late. 

But what is the meaning of being sustainable? And how do we ensure that it lives on as more than just a buzzword?

Since 2018, we made a pledge and embarked on our Loco Green Steps program with the help of Green Is The New Black. This meant evaluating every aspect of our restaurant operations from sourcing to day-to-day workflow, and forming new processes and habits that are less taxing on the environment. The outcome of that assessment has led us to achieve the following sustainable practices: 

1. Offsetting 100% of the carbon emissions of our direct operations though purchasing verifiable carbon credits.The carbon credits were generated from The North Pikounda REDD+ Project, which is a project designed to protect 92,530 hectares of unlogged native forest in the Congo from deforestation, maintaining and protecting the biodiversity of the area.

2. Eliminating single-use plastic straws and only offering a biodegradable straw on request.

3. Ensuring all our printing paper are from FSC-certified renewable sources and implementing new processes that has saved 30,000 pieces of paper being printed each year.

4. No longer choosing to buy  imported bottled mineral water and replacing with premium filtered tap water which reduces the emissions from importing and disposing of glass bottles.

5. Zero use of palm oil in all operations.

6. That all chickens on our menus are free-roaming, organic-fed and non-GMO certified.

7. Implementing a sustainable operations blueprint:

- Setting a recycling infrastructure that allows for daily recycling

- Composting 100kg of food waste per week with Green Circle Farm

At Chico Loco and The Loco Group, you will never hear us say we are the most “sustainable”. Sustainability to us does not mean a race with a defined finish-line. It is an ongoing mission to make the carbon footprint we leave behind a little smaller each month, each quarter and each year.

As we continue our mission as a group to challenge ourselves to minimize our environmental impact, we invite guests, suppliers, collaborators to join us on our journey to become more sustainable in our own capacities. 

We are also always on the look-out for collaborations to spread the word about sustainability or find new ways to become more sustainable ourselves. If you’re interested to collaborate with us, we’d love to hear from you!


Best New F&B Establishment

Casual Dining

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102 Amoy Street

Singapore 069922

Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 10pm

Sat - 5pm - 10pm
Sun - Closed

+65 9738 7828

© 2019 by The Loco Group. All rights reserved.

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