Georgia Trend. June 2024.

Have you dealt with stained teeth or hangovers after drinking wine? Wine is meant to be a natural product that should not cause stains or headaches, but the commercialization of winemaking has brought with itself, frequent side effects.

“If you buy your wine from grocery stores or wholesale retailers (such as Costco), chances are there are up to 76 [FDA-approved] chemicals and additives in each bottle of wine,” says Adam Danielson, founder and creator of Fermented, a boutique wine shop located in downtown Alpharetta, that sells ethically-farmed and natural wines. After working in restaurants and wine management for 20 years, Danielson opened Fermented in 2018 to help consumers drink clean wines that are healthier for you and support small growers. While wine has always been a natural product, Danielson says he observed a trend in the 1980’s towards commoditizing of wine. Big brands started adding acids, tannin powder, lab cultured yeast, sugar, dyes and flavoring to manipulate the wines to produce a lower priced, high volume, consistent product, year after year. He says different states have their own laws on what ingredients can be legally added. “But wine is not Coca-Cola, it has to taste different every year!” says Danielson.

Lately, there has been a backlash at the over modification of wine, resulting in a craft wine movement, where consumers are opting to drink artisanal, natural and cleaner wines. The biggest hurdle for wine drinkers can be finding these bottles, as wine producers often do not disclose the additives and production methods, citing it as “proprietary information.” Even the labels that claim to be made with organic grapes may still have additives.

This is where Danielson’s expertise comes in handy. Each bottle sold at Fermented is thoroughly researched, and only those labels that have low intervention or that have no additives (called 0-0) are offered. Danielson is also working on building a database where producers can be more transparent so that consumers have better information about what exactly is in their wine.

Img 7764

The store is divided by price point to help shoppers easily pick what they need – the party wine wall has bottles $15 and under; table wines cost $16 to $25, and for date night options, you will spend $26 to $50. There are also special occasion wines between $51 and $99, and collector wines that cost more than $100. You’ll find natural wines from all regions of the world, including countries like France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa and states like Maryland, California, Oregon and Washington. The knowledgeable staff at Fermented will tell you about sustainable winemaking practices and match a natural, flavorful and ethically-crafted wine to your flavor profile.

You can spend an afternoon at the tasting room at Fermented doing a private tasting and learning about different varieties or take an open plastic container with you while you shop around downtown Alpharetta. If you rather not drive after a drink, take a prepacked flight home with you. During the pandemic, Danielson started offering online tastings and take-home flights that come in small glass containers with QR codes, so people could follow along in the comfort of their living rooms. The idea was a hit, and even now, the flight cards change each week offering unique themes such as Seasonal Stunners, Four Blind Wines and in February, Trailblazers, celebrating Black History month. Danielson also customizes flights based on your preferences.

Fermented is one of around a dozen stores in Metro Atlanta that carries entirely natural, family-owned wines. Some other locally owned wine stores that have a selection of natural wines include 3 Parks Wine, Elemental Spirits, Perrine’s, Holeman and Finch Bottle Shop and Ansley Wine Merchants.


50 Canton Street, #106

Alpharetta, GA 

Hours: Tues-Thurs 12ish-8ish and Fri-Sat 12ish – 9ish

Subscribe to Sucheta’s Substack for Pitching and Media Tips.

yes, please!