Dry Farm Wines | Biodynamic & Natural Wines, Tested for Purity
Dec 22, 2020
Podcast producer: Chris Robertson
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Did you know that there are 76 FDA-approved additives that US wine-makers can use? Some of these are natural, some are toxic.
In addition to using pesticides to support the farming of vineyard grapes, additives are used for manufacturing the wine's taste, extending its shelf life, and much more. Ultimately, these chemicals help winemakers' bottom line of maximizing recurring revenues and minimizing expenses. For example, additives/chemicals are used to help optimize yield from grapes, maximize mass appeal of the wine by adding sugar and alcohol to improve its taste, and stabilize the quality of the desired product. In this podcast with Todd White, you'll learn a lot more about conventional wines, natural wines, and biodynamic farming.
Todd White, a health-conscious wine lover, and passionate biohacker, is the founder of an incredible company called Dry Farm Wines. Dry Farm Wines is the largest Natural Wine merchant in the world, bringing awareness to Natural Wine consumption and supporting farmers who honor the soil. I also love that Dry Farm Wines does laboratory testing to ensure that each bottle it sells is sugar-free, lower in sulfites, and lower in alcohol. The wines are friendly to low carb, Paleo, ketogenic, and low sugar diets.
Dry Farm Wines has seen 780% growth in revenue in the last three years, making it one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., without any debt or investors.
At the time of our interview in April 2020, Todd estimated that Dry Farm Wines sells about 30% of the wines that they test. Most, if not all, wines it sells are from outside the United States because American wine generally does not meet the strict purity standards of Dry Farm Wines.
Dry Farm Wines is dedicated to supporting family farmers who preserve 87,000 acres of organic vineyards and save 1.4 billion gallons of water annually by not irrigating their vines. Dry Farm Wines vets each grower’s practice and support those who focus on regenerative farming, biodiversity, hand harvesting, and the absence of industrial additives.
After 15 years in the wine business, Todd's is dedicated to educating and helping people make better choices about food, nutrition, and how they think about consuming alcohol. As the founder of Dry Farm Wines, a writer, speaker, and a leader in the organic/Natural Wine movement, he has widely educated communities on conscious consumption. Todd is deeply passionate about bringing people together to share love and laughter through Natural Wine and the health benefits it provides.
In this podcast, you'll also learn:
- What is natural wine and are there certifications to look for when shopping for natural wine?
- What are the health benefits that some people experience from drinking natural wine?
- What are the differences between conventional, biodynamic, and natural farming and winemaking approaches?
- Todd's approach to diet, fasting, favorite healthy fats, and his top 3 Practical Nontoxic Living tips.
Buy a Dry Farm Wine for 1¢
As soon as I learned about Dry Farm Wines, I subscribed to a monthly box. I love that I can become mindless about stocking my kitchen with red and white wines that have been laboratory-tested to be among the healthiest wines in the world. The bottles are actually cheaper than what my husband was purchasing.
Dry Farm Wines also offers a 100% Happiness Promise. This means that if you're not fully happy with any bottle received from Dry Farm Wines, then you can receive either a replacement or a refund. Whichever you prefer.
I am proud to now be an affiliate partner with Dry Farm Wines, and I have a special offer for you: Receive a bottle of wine for just a penny with your first order!
Visit https://www.dryfarmwines.com/nontoxicliving (affiliate link) to get started.
From this web page, you can select what kind of delivery you'd like to receive. For example, you may want 12 reds every month, or 3 rosés every other. I receive 6 reds and 6 whites each month. They're great to share with friends!
So, again, to start your adventure with natural wines, visit https://www.dryfarmwines.com/nontoxicliving (affiliate link).
And let me know what you think! I'd love to hear. You can direct message me @ruanliving on Instagram or Facebook. For more great offers and information, register for my newsletter at the button on the bottom of this page or by texting "DETOX" to 66866.
Podcast Key Topics
- Podcast intro
- As a passionate biohacker, Todd White, has tried various diet, which contributed to him pursuing wines with low sugar and low alcohol:
- The goal of the ketogenic diet is to minimize insulin response, maintain low blood sugar, or even mimic fasting.
- Therapeutic ketogenic diet: about 80-90% fat, very low carbohydrate, and very low moderate protein. Used to treat epilepsy and other maladies. Todd started on the therapeutic ketogenic diet, but changed to the modified ketogenic diet. One side effect of the therapeutic ketogenic diet is that some people have a sensitivity to alcohol.
- Modified ketogenic diet: looks like the Atkins diet. You stay in ketosis but you're not seeking a therapeutic level of ketosis.
- Low-carb diet
So here's what's wrong with conventional wines.
- 52% of all wines sold in grocery stores are made by 3 companies. Their goal is not to make better wine, safer wine, healthier wine. Their goal is to make wine cheaper to manufacture and more profitable. Irrigation helps with this goal.
- Top 30 US wine companies make over 70% of US wines.
- Thousands of brands and labels are created to hide this consolidation.
- Their goal is to maximize profit—not to make better wines or healthier wines.
- Glyphosate, which is Roundup, is the most commonly applied herbicide in US vineyards. It's used everywhere. Glyphosate has been found in California wines, both in organic and nonorganic. It's thought that perhaps it's coming in through irrigation.
- Irrigation makes everything easy and produces a higher yield (more berries on the cluster and the berries weigh more because they're filled with water).
- Added alcohol, which is a neurotoxin. If you're drinking wine, you should drink wine with lower alcohol content. Alcohol content used to be 12%-12.5% and now it averages around 15%. This is a huge difference.
- The label reflecting alcohol content is not legally required in the United States to be accurate. So if it says it's 14% under the law, it could be as high as 15.5% and still be legal.
- Alcohol greatly influences the way a wine tastes. Assuming it's good wine, alcohol is the single largest contributor to determining how the wine taste. So higher alcohol wines are bolder, bigger, richer, more dense.
- Seller practices
- 76 additives approved by the FDA for the US in wine-making. Some are natural, some are toxic. The most toxic is dimethyl dicarbonate or ammonia phosphate.
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- Always organically or biodynamically (an advanced form of organic farming) farmed.
- Biodynamic farming is an advanced form of organic farming.
- There are always no chemicals used.
- Always fermented with indigenous, or native, wild yeast that is indigenous to the vineyard that the grapes are grown.
- Commercial winemakers fermented with genetically modified yeast.
- This allows for greater and more efficient wine production.
- Lab-cultured yeast can also withstand a higher alcohol level. High alcohol will kill a native yeast.
- You can purchase lab-cultured yeast in various flavor profiles. For example, you can make an industrial grape that's irrigated in central California, which may be very low and poor quality, taste like it's from Italy from lab-cultured yeast.
- Wild indigenous yeast is harder to work with (more fragile, more risk) and they don't produce as much volume.
- You can produce wine in only small quantities. Commercial winemakers want to produce wine in large quantities.
- However, there has been no certification for natural wines.
- France just announced that it will be introducing its first natural wines certification.
We don't sell domestic wine because there are no wines made in the United States that meet our standards of health and purity.
—Todd White, Founder of Dry Farm Wines [00:22:55]
Dry Farm Wines
- Less than 1/10 of 1% of all wines in the world are natural. They are very rare. They're quite hard to find. We're the largest importer and reseller of natural wines in the world.
- Dry Farm Wines is bringing natural wines to the masses. A Dry Farm Wine averages $22/bottle.
- Dry Farm Wines has a certification process with standards that exceed natural wines standards. Its requirements are strict for health and purity too. For example, Dry Farm Wines requires grapes to be farmed without irrigation, even though that's not a qualification for the natural wine category. Farming without irrigation is more expensive and more work.
- Dry Farm Wines is tested for:
- Indigenous wild yeast (must be used).
- Sugars. We require that the wine be less than one gram per liter of sugar, which is statistically sugar-free.
- No vines be irrigated.
- Sulfur. We also test for sulfur in every wine. Our average wine has 39 parts per million of sulfate. The US legal limit is 350 parts per million, and most conventional wines contain between 100 and 250 parts per million. So they're much, much higher in sulfur. Most people, however, are not having a reaction to sulfur.
- Alcohol is very influential on taste. Higher alcohol wines are thicker bolder, denser.
- Alcohol is a neurotoxic substance.
- Labels are not required to be accurate.
- Most alcohol content has been averaging 15% but it used to be 12-12.5%, which is a bigger increase than it sounds.
- Dry Farm Wines sell wines as low as 7%. Todd prefers the taste of 9-11%.
- Dry Farm Wines has its own certification process for health and purity.
- Work with 800 small family farms.
So these small family farms, they're sort of like activists. They're just activists for the earth and for a healthy way of living. They live organically. They eat most of everything off of their farm or the farm of their neighbors. It's just a very congenial, you know, people who care about the earth. They're not necessarily health advocates per say. They care about a way of life. And so it's just a way that they live.
—Todd White, Founder of Dry Farm Wines [00:23:26]
Would you talk more about the symptoms that people may be able to improve by detoxing their wines?
The differences will be extraordinary and notable.
* Please note: The experiences below may not be your experience.
- Once you drink, Dry Farm Wines for a month, even for a week, you couldn't go back to drinking conventional wine. You wouldn't like the taste of it. You could taste the additives. You can just taste it, taste funny. You thought this is what it tastes like because you never drank real wine before.
And then the alcohol difference is huge. And so you'll just feel better not waking up in the middle of the night, not waking up dehydrated just for drinking less alcohol.
And then in addition to that, many people suffer symptoms that they don't even know about. So it could be a flush-ness, a warm-ness, tightening in their frontal cortex, just pressure in their brain. These additives... we don't know exactly what causes it... but people think this is just what...
Some people lose weight for a number of reasons... Conventional wines contain sugar in various amounts. We lab test every wine. We require that the wine be less than one gram per liter of sugar, which is statistically sugar-free. We just recently tested the top 20 selling wines in the United States. Only two of the 20 qualified for our sugar content. All the rest of it would be non-qualified. They were all much higher.
Sugar and alcohol make for a particularly nasty combination. And here's how you know that's true. If you've ever had a shot of tequila or two, that's a very different feeling you have than drinking a margarita or two. And so this combination of sugar and alcohol together are not happy partners. And so sugar is a large contributor to us feeling bad in conjunction with alcohol.
- Sulfites do not usually cause headaches. Sulfite is naturally occurring in many foods. And anything that's fermented—pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, wine, anything is fermented—contains naturally occurring sulfites. Now, the question is, Has the wine then received added sulfur dioxide, which leads to very high levels of sulfur. That's a separate question. And conventional wines have been sterilized and preserved with sulfur dioxide.
Most people are getting these ill conditions from either the additives, drinking too much in the way of high alcohol, or biogenetic amines are a very common cause of headaches, or flush-ness, or redness, or hot flashes, or all of these things are related to biogenetic amines that are very high in commercial wines—and the two primary ones are tyramine and histamine.
Health benefits of drinking natural wines.
There are many health properties from natural wines, including the polyphenols, flavonoids, and anti flavonoids are found primarily in red wines.
- So these polyphenols—the reason that red wine is considered to be healthier than white (white wine has just over 200 polyphenols and red wine has 800+)...
- Another health benefit of natural wines is that there's bacteria—living bacteria—because it hasn't been sterilized with sulfur dioxide and preserved. There's living bacteria and the wine that is very friendly to the gut microbiome. Dr. David Perlmutter, whose New York Times best selling author on the connection between the gut microbiome and our brain, has written twice about Dry Farm Wines and the living bacterias that exist in natural wine and why they're friendly for the gut microbiome. So that's another health aspect of drinking natural wines.
- Wine also promotes love and relieves stress.
Can we heal from the harm caused by years of drinking conventional wine? Is it too late?
Todd White: [00:34:46] No, it's not too late. I do a regular extended water fast and I'll eat once a day. Anything we're going to consume is going to have some negative effects on us. Nothing good comes from eating other than basic nutrition. So I recommend... thinking about extended water fast and just consuming less in general, which is why only I don't drink during the daytime ever. I don't eat in the daytime either. So I eat between six and seven at night. That's also when I started drinking wine.
So no, I think everything is reversible largely. I think we just have to detox by removing ourselves from toxicity. So just drinking water. I'm a big, big believer in fasting.
Todd's top 3 Practical Nontoxic Living tips:
- Meditation. Thinking is the greatest debilitation that we have in the modern world, so most of us are ruminating all the time on regress of the past or usually anxiety about the future. And this is particularly true and uncovered in uncertainty... Uncertainty is our greatest source of stress... I believe that stress is our greatest toxic cause of the suffering of humanity. And so meditation is the cure to teach our brain to be silent. At my company, even my entire staff meditate for an hour together every morning before we begin creating in the world. And so I believe meditation is the foundation of a well-lived life.
- Fasting. In addition to that, my second go-to is fasting... I normally do three days. I've done five, seven and 10 day. But I find most of the benefits seem to be derived in the first three days. So I will last eat on Sunday night and I eat again until Wednesday night and just have water only in between.
- Giving up caffeine. I personally found great benefit in giving up caffeine about a year ago.
I eat fresh, bright and light. That's the way my customers eat, too. So this wine is more compatible with the way they eat.
—Todd White [00:25:46]
What are your preferred sources of fat?
Todd White: Olive oil is my number one choice, followed probably by coconut oil and butter. Those are kind of my three, but I olive oil is my fat of choice.
Sophia Ruan Gushee: Are you as picky about olive oil as you are about wines?
Todd White: I am... Look, it's estimated... that 75% of the extra virgin olive oil that's sold in the United States isn't even olive oil.
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