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My mom and I are into wine, whereas my dad and husband are the beer guys. And because we research everything we are into, we of course wanted to find the healthiest organic wine to justify our habit!
(During my mom’s research for the healthiest wine, she came across info about a company in California that scours the globe for the very best organic wine–more on them below.)
What’s Wrong with Most Wine?
Before getting into what makes a wine healthful, let’s look at what’s wrong with most of the wine you’ll buy in the United States:
- Additives. Did you know that wines in the U.S. can include as many as 76 additives without having to disclose them on the label? These can include defoaming agents, ammonia, sawdust to mimic an oaky flavor, GMO yeasts, sulfites, artificial coloring to darken red wine, sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and “fining agents” like polyvinyl-polpyr-rolidone. All of these additives provide a consistent taste and color to wine and speed up wine production.
- “Big Wine.” More than half of the thousands of brands of wine in this country are made by just three huge companies.
- Herbicide residues. Grapes are always on the dirty dozen list, meaning they have high pesticide and herbicide residue. As a result, most wines contain traces of pesticides and herbicides (usually Roundup, since that’s what is sprayed on most grapes).
- Sulfites. Wine can never be entirely sulfite-free because yeast produces sulfur dioxide during fermentation. Problems arise when winemakers add sulfites as a preservative. High levels of sulfites may increase hangovers, and conventional wines have as much as 400 parts per million (ppm) of sulfites.
Meet Dry Farm Wines
As we were learning more about all the junk that’s in most wine, my mom stumbled upon a wine delivery service that delivers only organic, incredibly clean, independently-tested wines.
Dry Farm Wines curates only the highest quality natural wines from small, organic family farms that meet really strict standards of health. They then taste and lab test every bottle and deliver to your door either monthly or every other month.
Dry Farm Wines defines “natural wine” as real wine made from healthy grapes that were grown organically or biodynamically and with native yeast.
Every bottle of Dry Farm Wine is:
- Sugar-free (lab-tested for frucose and glucose).
- Carb-free (no sugar means no carbs!).
- Low in sulfites (with no added sulfites, so never more than 75 ppm).
- Low alcohol (less than 12.5%).
- Mycotoxin/mold free (shown to contain no carcinogenic Ochratoxin A).
- Free of additives.
- Friendly to every diet, including Paleo, low-carb, and Ketogenic.
- Organically or biodynamically grown.
- Fermented with wild native yeast.
- Made in small batches.
- Gluten-free. (Some wines with added coloring may contain gluten–who knew?!)
- Lab tested for sulfur levels.
- From old-growth vines (up to 100 years old!).
- Legit delicious (Dry Farm Wines only takes on about a third of the wines they taste–the rest just don’t taste good enough!).
What Is Dry Farming?
Dry farming, which means growing grapes without the use of irrigation, saves 16,000 gallons of water per acre per year because it relies on natural rainfall. It also results in better-tasting grapes and therefore richer tasting wines. Unfortunately, fewer than 1% of American vineyards grow grapes via dry farming.
Does This Organic Wine Taste Good?
For me, the best part about Dry Farm Wines might be just how delish these wines are. My first shipment was the mixed delivery, so it was two reds, a white, a rose, a sparkling rose, and a sparkling white.
I wouldn’t call myself a wine snob, but I am relatively picky, and every single bottle was great. None was too sweet, none was too burny on the throat–and they were all super easy to drink (for better or worse!).
Is Organic Wine Really Hangover-Free?
I can’t speak for other organic wines, but I’ve never had a hangover from any of the wines I’ve received as part of my Dry Farm subscription.
I haven’t guzzled an entire bottle to test this theory, but I tend to get hangovers very easily, especially from red wine–and that’s not been the case with the curated boxes from Dry Farm.
This makes sense since Dry Farm wines have less sugar and less alcohol than conventional wines–so I can have that extra glass without feeling extra tipsy. The lack of preservatives, artificial colors, added sulfites, and mold could also make the wines Dry Farm sources less likely to cause headaches and malaise.
Is Dry Farm Organic Wine Expensive?
Every bottle of Dry Farm Wine is around $25, which is admittedly more than I usually spend when I pop over to the wine store across the street. This higher price includes shipment, obviously, and this link will get you an extra bottle for a penny.
I’m no wine connoisseur, but to me all of these wines taste like they cost more than $25, so I’m okay with the cost.
Is Drinking Organic Wine Healthful?
This is a tough question to answer. My take is that if you don’t drink, don’t start in an effort to become healthier.
If you do drink, I probably don’t need to remind you that while some wine consumption is good for you, too much is decidedly bad.
If you’re a woman who drinks a single glass of wine per night, some of the benefits can include:
- Lowered risk of heart disease, thanks to increased levels of “good cholesterol” from drinking wine, especially red wine.
- Aging more slowly. Procyanidins, found in red wine, are believed to be responsible for the longer life spans of those who live in parts of the Mediterranean. Red wines produced the traditional way have the highest levels of procyanidins, and procynaidns may even reduce wrinkles.
- Improved brain function. Studies also show that moderate drinkers have a slower decline in brain function than do those who abstain from alcohol entirely.
- Increased life expectancy. Studies also show that wine drinkers typically live longer than beer or hard liquor drinkers.
- Better mental health. At least one study has shown that those who drink up to seven glasses of wine each week are less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t drink.
“Wine cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires the young, makes weariness forget his toil.” — Lord Byron
How to Find Good Organic Wine
Dry Farm seems to be the only wine curator that offers lab testing to ensure purity, and the wines are so good that they’ve ruined me for any other kind! The food I buy is more expensive than “normal” food, so I’m comfortable with spending more for this wine–and just drinking less of it.
That said, if a Dry Farm Wine subscription isn’t in your budget, you can:
- Look for the USDA organic label on the bottle. This means that the grapes used to make the wine were grown organically, but does not mean the wine won’t contain other problematic additives.
- Ask the staff at your local Whole Foods or even a good wine store to point you to the organic or biodynamic wines, some of which won’t be labeled as such.
- When in doubt, choose wines from France, Switzerland, and Austria instead of California, as European wines are more likely to be organic and dry-farmed.
Please comment below with other healthy, organic wine brands you’ve found!
Stay sane, and cheers!
P.S. Here’s that link again for the penny bottle from Dry Farm.
16 responses to “The Healthiest Organic Wine We’ve Found”
They do seem to add sulfites to every bottle I’ve gotten from them so far…and also curious about the organic bit?
Was there any followup on the above organic wines and chemicals…
Have you done any research on the company, scout and cellar?
I would be curious to know about this as well- although on their FAQ they claim they do not use “synthetic pesticides” and “non-organic chemicals”, they don’t seem to claim to actually be an organic wine? Although my multiple neighbors who are now selling it tell me otherwise!
I’m in the same boat as Carrie; I need safe wine to drink that doesn’t cost over $25 per bottle. Frey Winery in Calif. is a old organic/biodynamic winery. I’m going to e-mail them and ask what additives they add to their wines. I work for a consumer goods company and we provide safety data sheets on the internet (the ingredients) for each product we sell. Wish me luck! I’m betting 99.9% that I won’t get a response and / or they do not provide safety data sheets.
Hi Melodie, If you do receive a response, will you post it here? I’d love to know….
What did Frey respond to you? I see that wine locally and it is cost effective.
Oregon is home to dozens of certified organic wineries, including King Estate – the largest biodynamic vineyard in the USA! Many organic/biodynamic wine-makers from the Pacific Northwest are also members of the Deep Roots Coalition for dry farming and LIVE-certified (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) for sustainable agriculture practices. I’m always conscious of the carbon footprint shipping heavy glass bottles around the world, so I consider myself lucky to have lots of healthy options nearby. There are too many delicious ones to list here, but I highly recommend exploring Oregon wines! Thanks for all you do, Maia.
Frey Vineyards is a good option, Wegmans sells it as well as Total Wine. I spend 8.99 a bottle and alternate between white and red.
That wine sounds great but it’s so much more expensive than organic wines I found in stores… have you tried any of the organic wines from Trader Joe’s? And what do you think of Bonterra?