These days there seems to be major hype regarding the “natural wine” movement. This is where wine makers are practicing biodynamic, organic and/or sustainable farming, applied to the winemaking process with little to no chemical or technological manipulation. I have to say, there’s something about drinking “wines by nature” that does sound very soothing. Perhaps it’s also that fact that this practice allegedly reduces hangovers (hallelujah!) which sounds very attractive to all of us wine lovers.
It wasn’t until my husband Clark (aka Mr. Veggies and Vino) recently attended a health conference and met Todd White, Founder of Dry Farm Wines, that I became familiar with the natural wine mission.
Todd has helpfully shared some insightful information not only about Dry Farm Wines (which according to them, is the only health-focused, natural wine club in the world) but the natural wine movement in general.
So grab a glass of wine (natural or not), and enjoy the read…though you may never go back to commercialized and processed wines after reading this.
1.) Tell us your story. How did Dry Farm Wines get started?
A few years ago, I started to really care about my health. This meant reevaluating what I ate. As someone who lives in Napa and LOVES wine, I had a conflict. I didn’t want to stop drinking but I also couldn’t continue damaging my health by drinking the same unhealthy wines. The hangovers, headaches, and impaired sleep were too much.
I know I’m not alone with this problem.
If you’re health conscious, you likely experience the same conflict. How can you enjoy the benefits of wine – the delicate taste, enjoyable buzz, stress relief, and deep connection – without all the negative consequences – the hangovers, headaches, stomach issues, brain fog, poor sleep, high sugar, etc?
I found a temporary solution by mixing wine with tea to dilute the alcohol. The negative effects decreased while the pleasurable benefits – the taste and relaxation – remained. Eventually, however, I began a search for low alcohol wines that could provide similar results as this wine/tea experiment. I went to a friend for help and he asked if I had heard about the new natural wines coming out of Europe. I hadn’t.
I read an article about natural wine and was shocked by what I learned.
Most wines are highly processed, just like most foods. Natural wines, however, are free of commercial processing and additives. After tasting a few of these wines, there was no going back. I could not only TASTE the difference, I could FEEL it.
However, there was still a problem.
Since I was following a Ketogenic Diet (where sugar is public enemy #1), I wanted to drink only sugar-free wines and most wines have high levels of residual sugar.
So, pulling this all together, I wrote down my requirements. I wanted to drink wines that are:
- Low alcohol
As a biohacker and quantified-selfer, I realized I could lab test wines to measure exactly what was in them.
That’s when the idea for Dry Farm Wines, like a young vine, burst through the soil and took its first breath of fresh air.
I began buying natural wines from Europe and lab testing them to ensure they met my health requirements. I shared these wines with friends and found that everyone who drank them fell in love with them.
From this personal journey evolved the natural, healthy, and quantifiably clean wine club that thousands of people now regularly enjoy.
2.) Given your passion for educating people to make better choices about food, nutrition, and how they think about alcohol, what is one critical fact that we should be aware of when choosing a wine?
It’s hard to pick just one! At a high level, let’s say transparency. Just like we demand to know what’s in our food, we should demand the same from our drinks. Unlike food products that are required to have nutrition and ingredients labeling, wine doesn’t have that requirement. This is why a bottle of wine can have 76 additives and you have no idea. Be an advocate for transparency.
Here are a few more things to look for, when specifically comparing commercial vs natural wine.
3.) What is your take on the recent buzz that no amount of alcohol is good for you?
Here is a reference to our thoughts on the matter. It’s a great piece by Dr. David Perlmutter, a renowned neurologist whose expertise includes gluten issues, brain health & nutrition, and preventing neurodegenerative disorders.
4.) What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in wine making?
I’m not a winemaker; I’m a wine lover! If you want to become a winemaker, that’s awesome. If I were to give advice, I’d suggest you spend some time working with world-class natural winemakers in Europe and feel their passion for the soil, the earth, the terroir of their wine. It’s a wonderful energy to be around.
5.) How do we raise awareness on choosing natural, “real” wines? Unlike today’s commercialized and processed wines.
By choosing to join the Natural Wine movement. Just like the Real Food movement, awareness raises as more people become conscious of what’s going on and share the message.
6.) What is next for Dry Farm Wines?
Continuing to share the high health, art, and exquisite taste of these artisanal Natural Wines with more people, and continuing to champion the growers who produce these wines.