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Healthier wine means fewer calories, fewer cravings and fewer hangovers

There’s a new buzz in the world of wine. Did you know, there are 76 FDA-approved legal additives allowed in wine? As much as you might want to give all the credit to the grapes in that sip of white, red or rose, there can be lots more — sugar, preservatives and even milk products to name a few.

There’re vineries emerging, however, that want to change that. They pride themselves for being fully transparent about their wines and the grapes they use. These are often natural, biodynamic, organic, low-sugar or keto.

The premise? It’s two-fold: enjoy your glass without the harmful additives and chemicals that may worsen your hangover, and no extra calories to worry about.

Walking through the isle of wine in the grocery store, however, will unlikely give you any clue as to what’s in that bottle and which ones are healthier. How many times have you taken a bottle off the shelves because you liked how the label looked? We certainly all have. By law, winemakers are only required to display the amount of alcohol on the label, but not any other ingredient.

Christine Fitzgerald on the vineyard of SmartVine

Christine Fitzgerald, founder of SmartVine, has spent 20 years of her career as a nutritionist only to see that her clients were picking wine over sticking to their diet and health regime. To find an alternative, she created SmartVine, a certified vegan wine with a healthy twist.

“The wines out there were throwing my clients off of their health goals with their high amounts of sugar and chemicals,” she told me. “Now they don’t have to decide between their health and their social life.”

While most vintners won’t display what goes on during the wine-making process, Fitzgerald says she’s proud to share. They don’t only test the grapes for preservatives and Glyphosate (the carcinogen found in the weed-killer Roundup), but also add a unique liquid infusion before the bottles are sealed.

There are only 2 grams of carbs per glass, and 1 gram of sugar in the entire bottle. Plus, there’re four wild-harvested herbs, organic turmeric, organic Muscadine grape skin, organic lemon peel and organic chicory root, which won’t alter the flavor profile, but will help your body digest alcohol and save you the headache, bloating and weight gain.

Wine has been the staple of our culture for millenniums, in fact, human beings fell in love with wine more than 6,000 years ago. A lot has changed since then, and most wines we drink today are far from being as pure as the ones our ancestors had enjoyed.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the amount of pesticides sprayed on vine fields has increased 26-fold over the past 50 years.

The long list of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers winemakers use, may destroy the insects in the soil, but they also destruct the nutrient content and ecosystem of the soil itself. Hence, causing the grapes to be less nutritious and delicious, and those chemicals may even end up in your glass.

Additives often play a role in balancing out that loss of taste and structure. “Most wines have up to 20 grams of added sugar per bottle,” Fitzgerald says.

Now, with all those holiday delicacies and sweet and savory dishes, the calories you’re consuming this time of year are most likely much higher than any other months. So, knowing that wine won’t be something you’ll need to work off as soon as January hits, might just sound rather refreshing, doesn’t it?

Low sugar content is a great advantage with these healthy wines, but there’s something else. They often lab test for chemicals, preservatives, stabilizers and mold.

Dry Farm Wines red

Dry Farm Wines works with vineyards where grapes are grown through natural, sustainable, or Biodynamic farming and dry farming.

The foundation of biodynamic farming is to cultivate a healthy microorganism-filled soil to grow nutrient-rich vines. Adding to that, dry farming, meaning no irrigation, requires the roots to grow deeper for water, therefore, also tapping into more nutrient-dense parts of the soil.

Through the fermentation process, wine is made by adding yeast to grape juice. Then, the yeast converts the sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide as byproducts. Since Dry Farm Wines allows fermentation to run its full course, the amount of sugar left in their wine won’t exceed 1 gram per liter.

These practices make natural wines have a more distinctive smell, they’re cloudier, juicier and generally resemble the actual taste of grape better than traditional wines and are naturally on the drier side.

Keep in mind, alcohol can still be toxic, so always consume in moderation. Wine shouldn’t be an escape or hide-away. It’s supposed to help you wind down after a busy day, lift your spirit, complement a meal and create connections with the people around you.