Turns out, that wasn’t the problem, it’s what he was drinking.
“I thought I was drinking too much,” says Todd White, Founder of Dry Farm Wines, now the world’s largest Natural Wine company.
In 2015, White started thinking about how drinking and wine fit into his progressive anti-aging lifestyle. A lifelong wine lover, White was also very careful about what he put in his body. He was practicing (and still is) a low carb, sugar free ketogenic diet, intermittent and extended fasting, daily meditation, Wim Hoff breathing, cold/heat therapies, and a methodical fitness schedule.
At age 61, White had been a frequent wine drinker for decades, enjoying a few glasses of wine with dinner every night.
However, White would regularly experience sleep interruption and wake up with something most have experienced: a wine hangover. In fact, it’s probably quite common in the US. Americans drink more wine than any other country in the world, around 3 gallons per resident per year.
“Let’s be very clear, alcohol can be a dangerous neurotoxin,” says White, “but I didn’t want to stop drinking wine. I love the taste of wine, and the fun, social community around food and wine.”
Nevertheless, he came to believe lowering alcohol consumption was a key to optimizing his relationship with wine. He began practicing what he calls “conscious consumption,” a more mindful approach to drinking. Since he did not want to give up his daily wine rituals, lowering the amount of alcohol in the wine naturally became the one of key objectives.
A friend recommended he try low alcohol Natural Wines. “I had no idea what Natural Wines were,” White says. As it turns out, he was about to make a discovery much larger than just how to optimize wine consumption.
What is a Natural Wine?
Today, Natural Wines are a trendy topic. They now commonly appear on wine lists in cities like in NYC, Los Angeles and San Francisco. But 5 years ago, they were virtually unknown.
Intrigued, White dove headfirst into research: what was Natural Wine exactly, and how was it different from other wines?
What he found shocked him. The modern wine industry is much like the modern food industry. Industrialization has turned most wine in the world into a factory product that contains far more than just grapes.
There are 76 additives approved by the FDA for the use in winemaking, including toxins like dimethyl dicarbonate. Many of the most popular wines are full of additives and high in sugar, with alcohol levels that have continued to increase over the last few decades.
As someone who watches carefully for additives in anything he consumes, White was shocked that he hadn’t known about this. Why are these additives such a secret? Because wine producers are not required to disclose contents or nutritional information on the label. This is no accident. The wine industry has successfully lobbied in Washington to keep contents labeling off wine bottles. Simply put, the wine industry doesn't want you to know what is in the bottle.
The Dry Farm Wines Difference
White wanted to take things a step further. Not only did he want to be drinking additive free pure Natural Wine, he also wanted to ensure that the wine he was drinking was lower in alcohol and completely free from residual sugar to pair with his lifestyle and goals. He began sending bottles off to a lab to test his wine for alcohol and sugar content.
When he switched to drinking these lower alcohol, sugar free Natural Wines, White immediately noticed a difference. “It tasted more refreshing and I felt a different experience. My body was telling me I had found a better way to enjoy wine.” These wines were lighter, more food friendly, and very rare. He estimates less than 0.01% of the world’s wine production meets his high standard for pure Natural Wine.
White then created the most strict certification for Natural Wines in the world. The Dry Farm Wines Certification process finds only the best of the best. The wines must be organically grown without irrigation, fermented with wild native yeasts, made without toxic additives, sugar free, lower in alcohol, and delicious. Each wine is independently lab tested for purity, and then evaluated by a team of wine taste experts.
Today, White is on a crusade to educate more people about what's in their wine. He wants to empower people to make better decisions about what they put in their body and how they impact the health of the planet.
This article appeared on partners.wsj.com on May 23, 2022.
3 gallons per year:
US drinks more than any other country: