Ladidadi Wines: Berlin’s gateway to natural wine
By Michelle Torres

Ladidadi Wines: Berlin’s gateway to natural wine

Florian Tonello is the founder of Ladidadi Wines, a natural wine import business based here in Berlin. Florian lives his life spontaneously and has always followed his gut instinct; often making choices many of us find ourselves daydreaming about, but shy away from. It is these impulses that have shaped his life into being so entertaining and enriching. If you're ever in the company of Florian or find yourself at one of his many events you’re certainly in for a good time.

When I stepped into his cellar door next to the canal on Paul-Lincker-Ufer, he greeted me with a smile and a freshly opened bottle of wine. These are the highlights from our conversation:

What exactly is natural wine? How is it different from conventional, organic or biodynamic wine?

Conventional wine has all these other additives that make for a controlled process; some of these things include, sugar, salts, preservatives and chemicals. There are many steps that you can take to control the wine, to make it clear, more balanced and control the pH.

Natural wine is made without adding anything in all phases of production and using the minimum sulfites possible, sometimes just it at the bottling. So, the farming method is ecological as it is often biodynamic or organic, meaning the quality of the fruit is super important, as it is not sprayed with pesticides or chemicals. You can really feel it. It’s like when you eat a homegrown or homemade meal and it tastes amazing and you can feel it giving you some kind of positive energy. Similarly, with wine, you can taste the fruit and the freshness from the farm it came from. And take it from someone who knows, you don’t have an awful hangover the next day.

Natural wine is also not to be mistaken for the bio wines you might find at the supermarket; while they may use biological grapes, they often add a ton of ingredients during the production of the wine, and there is really no way of regulating it at that point. This is how natural wines differ from Bio wines.

How did you get into wine? What was your journey?

In 2005, when I was twenty, I moved to San Francisco from Paris. A friend of mine needed help opening his first natural wine bar Terroir.

They had a massive selection; you could find almost everything that was available in the US at the time, from France, Italy and Spain. After we constructed the bar we just started drinking, and without really knowing what the wines or where they were from I tried almost all of what we had.  

Despite being French I didn't really drink wine while I was growing up; my parents didn’t drink it, only my grandfather had a collection at his farm, and sometimes he had very nice bottles (conventional wine), but I never liked it. I had my “Aha” moment when I tried a bottle from the Jura region (a region in France), which carries a specific oxidative wine tradition. This was the first wine that changed my life.


How long did you stay in San Fran?

I continued working at many restaurants in San Francisco for six years, but I got tired of America and the cultural gap; I felt too far away from my roots, I missed Europe and my family. So my girlfriend at the time and I moved back to Paris.

After a short time in Paris, we were both having a horrible day and accidentally bumped into each other on the same metro. Immediately we looked at each other and at the exact same time said: “what are we doing here!?” Three days later we had packed our bags and were on the train to London. I went straight to the places that specialise in natural wine in central London, run by a company called a Les caves des pyrènes. They were the biggest natural wine importer in London at the time, and I got a job at their new restaurant called Brawn in East London; it’s quite famous now.

After a year, I decided to open up my own natural wine shop on Hackney Road. At the time there was a minimal selection of producers, and I would drive between France and London to get the wine as at first, I didn’t have so much money. But people in the area started. But, people in the area started recognising the shop, and it started growing. It became a sort of cellar door/bar. We had a big basement which we renovated and lived in. We would often do concerts with super loud old school audio speakers as there were a bunch of record stores in the area so the owners would often come with their jazz records and we would play political jazz like Max Roach and John Coltrane. We flicked off the lights so that would almost be pitch black and people would just sit there in silence and drink natural wine for an hour until it turned into more of a party.  People would often say it was my “manifesto”. These nights were kind of underground but to keep the business running we would supply other restaurants and private customers in the neighbourhood, as well as friends. We did food and wine pop-up residencies too in Climpson’s Arch, with Australian chef Dave Pynt who now runs Burnt Ends in Singapore.

So, what brought you to Berlin? When did you start Ladidadi?

Eventually, my girlfriend at the time I got tired of the pace of life in London, amongst other things. We visited Berlin and fell in love; it was the kind of place where you could have a city life but also a quiet life.

We moved here at the beginning of a Berlin Summer and after enjoying it in its entirety I started Ladidadi Wines in 2014, as a small import company focusing on natural wines. However, the shop we are in now has open since March 2018 as a collaboration with Wagner. The concept was to have a personal cellar for the restaurant and then use the area as a small event space and tasting room.

Why do you think natural wine is so relevant today?

It’s trendy these days. I guess people are just more aware and interested in what is happening around them. It’s becoming harder to ignore, so people are curious about more mindful produce. Like the vegan and vegetarian movement and bio food and ethical clothing, it’s to do with a general consciousness.

Why is there so much controversy over natural wine? Some critics say that natural wine can taste like old shoes. What is your response to that?

In the same way that are bad examples of conventional wine, there are also bad examples of natural wine. It depends on the maker. There are some people out there who have just thrown themselves into making natural wine without doing extensive research and education before. I think it's better to start by making conventional wine to understand more, or at least get excellent training by an already established natural wine producer. Producing natural wine is very hard, and you need to know exactly how “clean” the grapes and the whole process it has to be to execute it. If you’re starting after four or five years, you can start consistently producing excellent wine.

Do you drink conventional wine? Do you enjoy it?

No, because it’s everything I hate. Heavy tannins, woody, super dry, no fruit, no acidity. I can tell straight away when there are a lot of sulfites.

What is your definition of a good wine?

Something mouthwatering, that is aromatic and has a flavour that travels through your mouth; the more you taste it, the more you discover. I want to taste a balance of the fruit, sugar and acidity.

What is your favourite part of the job?

{Holds up the glass and takes a drink} This. However, also the people I meet, you just start with one glass, and you learn from and connect with many people from all different backgrounds, it's super social. Also, I love visiting the vineyards; some of those experiences are ones I will cherish for the rest of my life.  It’s just the best.

You often visit individual winemakers and vineyards, can you tell us a bit about what makes these growers walk/beat such a different path?

They have a different spirit. They see the land they tend as an ecosystem and a true extension of the environment. So they are very sensitive and aware of the land they look after. For them, it just makes sense to produce wine that is a testament to their soil and a true expression of the grape varieties instead of modifying it. They are just more conscious of making a product that is better for overall health. It's funny because with natural wine there is always something extra the maker adds to the wine, which is super interesting. It has their own individual taste and their spirit, a personality that you identify with and gives you such positive energy. You can’t explain it, they have done something special that they aren't going to tell you. It’s some voodoo or something.

Do you think it is possible to mass produce natural wine?

The thing about natural wine is that it’s trying to move away from mass production, as that’s harmful to the earth. Natural wine is produced on a human scale, everything is done manually unlike mechanical work; it is tough to have a huge amount of land/ terrain. When there is more and more AOC (winemakers working with organic or biodynamic soil) hopefully there will be more entire natural wine regions and then producers with lower intervention the cellar.

Tell us a bit about the cellar doors you do on Fridays. Is this the only way non-restaurant owning plebs like me can have access to your curation of amazing wine? Best way to get in touch with you.

The open cellar will start again at a new storage space in the near future, so stay tuned. It will be on Neckarstrasse, the same location where Etienne (JaJa), Jeff (Rocket wine) and Pierre le Jeune (La Malo) store their wines so, the epicentre of natural wine in Berlin.

Can you name some wines you are thoroughly enjoying drinking right now?

Anything from Pierre Evornoy. It’s made in Pupillin in the Jura, region France. It’s a very rare wine because it is produced in very small quantities by Pierre himself. I also love drinking wines from Cantina Giardino, Domaine Chamonard, Karim Vionnet, they are all very talented winemakers.

What projects are you working on right now?

I want to expand the business so I am moving to Lisbon to start a natural wine import company. However, Ladidadi will still be running here in Berlin. On top of that, we often have pop-up events when we invite chefs from all over to co-host. We will be doing once just before closing the current shop.

There will be the Back 2 the Grill event on the 11th and 25th of May where Yaya head chef of Jaja will be serving grilled foods like seafood dishes with selected natural wine on offer. So it will be food, wine and tunes on the terrace at the Hund Hund studio. More on this to come.

Lastly, we will be hosting my going away event at Cafe Bravo, but more on this will come soon.

 Can you recommend 4 wines in the low, medium and high price ranges?


Starting from left to right:


LADIROSSO from Campania (Montemarano) (organic certified)

is a recent collaboration with an Italian producer I met during my wine trip working with Cantina Giardino, this wine is made by the person who helps Cantina Giardino in the Montemarano vineyard.

Very small producer (about 1.5 Hectares) that has always worked naturally but only sold in their village or around.

I'm first time importer and will keep working with them in the future.




15 mg sulfites at bottling.

 Karim Vionnet (Morgon, Beaujolais Organic certified)

Ex-baker-turned-winemaker Karim is a rising star of Beaujolais.

Having worked for Guy Breton (part of the famous "gang of four", Lapierre, Foillard, Breton, Thévenet...) for 5 years, he established his 5ha domain in 2006 in Villié-Morgon.

The particularity of Karim is the love for his Terroir and the beautiful balanced into his wines.

A pure expression of what Gamay can deliver, at its best.

Beaujolais Village 2017 100 % Gamay

The fruit for this wine comes from the Jules Chauvet family vineyards from around 50 years vines aged in stainless steel.

The notes of red fruits are clearly recalled through a frankness carried by a banging acidity. The tannins, already few on this variety, are nevertheless very velvety. This wine surprises with its assertive character that makes you want to come back. The aromatic potential of Gamay is clearly exploited, and with a lot of naturalness and without vulgarity.

18mg sulfites at the bottling. 

Le Coste Bianco 2016 (Lazio, Italy) Organic certified

Grappe: Procanico with a bit of Malvasia and Vermention

Soil type: Volcanic

Aged in big foudre Wood - Old oak barrique



No temperature control.

Hand Harvested


Suitable for Vegans.

Suitable for Vegetarians.

Total Sulphites: 10 mg/L

This wine is fermented spontaneously.

Gianmarco Antonuzzi and Clementine Bouveron tend around 14 hectares of land, with vineyards amongst a warren of olive groves, chestnut trees, shrubs and oaks. Sat around the volcanic Lake Bolsena near Gianmarco’s childhood town of Gradoli in Lazio’s north, the region’s soils are rich in iron and minerals.

 Cantina Giardino,  Ariano Irpino Campania (organic certified)

- Vino Bianco 2017

Varieties: Coda di Volpe and Greco

Fermented on the skins for about 12 days and aged in Anfora.

Aged for 12 months, bottled in September 2017

Only in magnum, bottled without added sulfites and without filtration using indigenous yeasts.


Text curation by Michelle Torres 


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