Choosing a healthy wine doesn’t necessarily mean picking the lowest calorie wine or simply checking the nutritional facts listed on the label like you might do with other food and drink items.
Choosing a healthy wine is about choosing a low toxin wine.
We are quite literally assaulted by toxins on a daily basis. Here are a few statistics to give you some insight into how pervasive these toxins are:
- The average person can encounter more than 168 chemicals per year without ever knowing it.
- There are roughly 13,000 chemicals used in cosmetics alone.
Wine is no exception, unfortunately. There are many ways that glass of wine can carry contaminants and less than desirable additives. This not only affects us, but our landscape as well. So how to choose healthy wine that doesn’t have a lot of toxins? Have no fear! There are ways you can lessen your exposure and not support businesses that pollute the planet. The following is some great criteria to keep in mind the next time you need to stock up on some vino.
Choose Organic: The first way to choose healthy wine is to choose organic! When you choose organic wines you know that you are getting a healthier product. When you drink organic wine you will avoid:
- various other carcinogens and endocrine disruptors
You also help protect our freshwater sources. Conventional farms can cause dead zones from chemical runoff that seeps into the earth and our water table. Organic wines also taste incredible! Organic produce can have more antioxidants and a higher nutritional value. Now you will never have to feel guilty reaching for that second glass. Or third, I mean hey, who’s counting right?
Choose Biodynamic: Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming. I usually describe it as a method that works closely with the environment’s natural rhythms in a way that preserves and enriches biodiversity and soil integrity. Who doesn’t want to support that? This truly is the creme de la creme and if you have not tried wine produced this way, then please do! Most wineries have free to very cheap wine tastings so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Choose wineries that hand harvest: This is certainly a harder one to tell when wine shopping because it isn’t listed anywhere and will usually require some digging. So why is hand harvesting so important? A mechanical vine harvester works by beating the vine with rubber sticks to get the vine to drop its fruit onto a conveyor belt that brings the fruit to a holding bin. This machine can’t discern whether or not the grapes are healthy, unripe, or even moldy. The machine can also cause ruptures in the skin of the grapes making them lose antioxidant value through oxidization. Mold is a huge problem and can cause health issues even in the tiniest of doses. Have you ever gotten headaches after drinking only certain kinds of wine? Mold could be your culprit. If you want to go into how devastating mold exposure can be to your health, you should watch the documentary “Moldy”.
28% of the population have the genetics to be extra susceptible to mold-related symptoms. The symptoms are so broad and range from a common headache all the way to chronic fatigue. Hand-harvesting a grape crop cuts the ability for mold to be present in the wine exponentially. People look at the grapes before picking and are able to pass by the rotten bunches and prevent moldy grapes from becoming wine. People can discern the healthy and ripe from the unripe and rotten. A simple solution to drinking the best wine possible.
Choose vegan wines: But isn’t wine just naturally vegan? Au contraire! Wines can have suspended particles, astringent and bitter tastes, off-odors, and even browning from oxidization. This is a far cry from the finished product of wine with its stunning color and clarity. So how does it get there? The short answer is fining agents and time. Common fining agents in non-vegan wines are:
- fish bladders (isinglass)
- egg whites
- chitosan (a structural component of the exoskeleton of crustaceans like crab or shrimp)
- Casein (milk protein)
- numerous others.
Vegan wines typically use bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, diatomaceous earth, etc. I think you can see why choosing a vegan wine is more appealing, especially as more and more people realize what exactly is being utilized during the winemaking process. To choose a healthy wine, you should strongly consider going with a vegan option.
I always recommend that people do their own research and make up their own minds. Look into your favorite wines, contact them and ask questions. Look up some wine producers that fit the above criteria and give them a try! You may never go back to conventionally made wines again.
Guest post by Dianna Jensen, Creatrix of Earth Love Magic, the skincare that loves you back! Vegan, Organic/Wild, Sustainable.