WINE WITHOUT WALLS is a blind wine tasting created by VinItaly International as part of its 5Star (‘Five Star’) competition, but focussing on Biodynamic, organic or natural wine. The wines can come from anywhere in the world, not just Italy.


For the 2018 competition, wines must have been made with no more than 40 milligrammes per litre of sulfites, either added during winemaking or produced naturally by the yeast as a by-product of fermentation. Wines must also be made without recourse to must concentration, reverse osmosis, micro-oxygenation, thermo-vinification, and the blocking of malolactic fermentation. The 2018 ‘Wine Without Walls’ award winners featured in a special section of 5StarWines – The Book 2018.


Changes to the 2019 edition made by the Wine Without Walls Scientific Director and former panel chair (Monty Waldin, whose blog this is) included raising the maximum level of total sulfites from 40 to 80 milligrammes per litre, and removing the ban on the blocking of malolactic fermentation. The aim was to provide a broader church both for wine producers and consumers, not all of whom buy wine on sulfite levels alone. The judges were publisher, importer and retailer Christopher Barnes of Grape Collective in New York; Mark Cuff, founder of The Living Vine in Toronto, Canada, a specialist importer of organic, natural and Biodynamic wines; wine educator and retailer Gill Gordon Smith of Fall from Grace from McLaren Vale in Australia, and Richard Kershaw MW (the panel chair) who has his own eponymously named winery in the Elgin region of South Africa.