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Clean Wine for Your Holiday Wine Cellar

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Holiday parties and celebrations often lead to excessive drinking and gnarly hangovers. But did you know there’s such a thing as clean wine? In this healthy wine guide, we’re filling up your holiday wine cellar from brands with high-quality natural wines to drink that are delicious, organic, sugar-free, low alcohol and additive-free, keeping you merry and bright all holiday season long (no headaches required!). 

Holiday parties and celebrations often lead to excessive drinking and gnarly hangovers. But did you know there's such a thing as clean wine? In this healthy wine guide, we're filling up your holiday wine cellar from brands with high-quality natural wines to drink that are delicious, organic, sugar-free, low alcohol and additive-free, keeping you merry and bright all holiday season long (no headaches required!). 

UPDATE: This post was originally published in December 2017 and has been updated with new information, tips, and helpful brands.

It’s interesting how the holidays have a way of encouraging over-indulgence. We eat more, travel more, drink more, party more; everything seems to be in excess. And while I’m all about the 80-20 rule, our health can really take a hit during this time of year.

One of the main ways we overindulge is with alcohol–everything from hard liquor and sugary cocktails, to beer and high alcohol wines.

In fact, did you know that people drink more alcohol in November and December than any other time of the year? (source)

This not only equals a lot of headaches and hangovers; it makes us feel like we’re cheating on our regular healthy lifestyle and can actually take quite a toll on our health.

But really, the holidays shouldn’t be a time for guilt or deprivation–they’re a time for love and celebration! I believe that, in moderation, alcohol can be a vibrant part of the festivities.

You just have to drink the right stuff.

So, today I’m sharing my favorite healthy wine for the holidays. (For a Guide on Healthier Beer, check out this post.) Read on to learn about some savvy swaps you can make this season to keep your health in check and hangovers at bay!
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Holiday parties and celebrations often lead to excessive drinking and gnarly hangovers. But did you know there's such a thing as healthy wine? In this healthy wine guide, we're filling up your holiday wine cellar with high-quality natural wines that are delicious, organic, sugar-free, low alcohol and additive-free, keeping you merry and bright all holiday season long (no headaches required!). 

Do You Know What’s Really In Your Wine?

As you might remember from my previous wine guide, conventional wines are highly processed and contain questionable additives and/or toxic pesticides and herbicides. In fact, Did you know…

  • there are 76 chemicals and additives approved by the FDA for use in winemaking?
  • standard modern wines are now much higher in alcohol and sugar than our ancestor’s wines, and are also filled with questionable – if not downright harmful – chemicals and additives to improve texture, color and flavor? Put another way: winemakers are trying to mask the low-quality grapes and winemaking techniques being used.
  • consumers have almost no way of knowing if the wines they’re drinking contain these additives? The U.S. government does not require wine labels to include nutritional information or ingredient lists.
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What is Clean Wine?

From all my research, I’ve learned that low alcohol, organic, biodynamic or natural wines are the ideal alcohol choice to maximize the health benefits of wine (like all those polyphenols!) and minimize the negatives.

Here’s what you want to look for when it comes to ‘clean wine’:

  • no or low sulfites (ideally less than 100ppm, compared to up to 350ppm in conventional wines)
  • no added sugar (and ideally less than 1 g/L)
  • Free from additives and chemicals found in conventional wines like GMOs, dyes, synthetic pesticides, copper sulfate, ammonium phosphate, ferrocyanide, and mega-purple
  • low alcohol (12.5% or less): low alcohol doesn’t mean “no buzz”–it’s a different buzz altogether. You can still enjoy the pleasant effects of low alcohol wines, but you’ll feel fresh and euphoric–not inflamed, foggy or sluggish.

To boot, the taste of clean wine is far superior! As soon as you take a sip, you’ll taste and feel the difference with these wines, as they’re much cleaner, vibrant, complex and crisp compared to commercial wine.

Dry Farm Wines

Where to Buy Clean Wine for Your Holiday Wine Cellar?

My two favorite places to buy wine these days are Dry Farm Wines and Scout & Cellar.

Dry Farm Wines curates the world’s best natural healthy wines in subscription boxes with no additives, industrial machinery, or GMO fruit in their wines, meaning you get a finished product that’s organic, clean, and has a positive impact on your health.

Amazingly, they only offer wines free of sugar and carbs (less than 1 g/L, so statistically sugar-free), which is super hard to find, but it makes a huge impact on how you feel (sugar = headaches)!

Plus, Dry Farm Wines lab tests every wine they import to make sure the alcohol content is 12.5% or less.

I’ve been drinking Dry Farm Wines for years now, but this summer discovered Scout & Cellar–a company that sources wine from makers all over the world that only use traditional winemaking methods–and I have been super impressed!

Their tagline is CLEAN-CRAFTED™ wine, meaning all their wines are independently tested and certified to be low in sulfites, have no added sugar (you can check every bottle on their website to see how many grams of sugar per bottle, but many have less than 1 g/L), and free from GMOs, dyes, pesticides, and the chemicals mentioned above.

You can order directly without a membership, or join their Wine Club where you can get 5-10% off orders and pick the number of bottles you’d like to receive, as well as how often you’d like to receive them (monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly).

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Healthy Wine + Gifts for the Holidays

In need of a holiday gift idea or clean wine for upcoming holiday parties and festivities? Check out the holiday promotions below for all your holiday wine needs!

Hand-Picked Clean Wine Gift Boxes 

If you want to give the gift of natural wine for the holidays (who wouldn’t love that?! It’s really the PERFECT gift for any host/hostess or wine lover!), check out these gift boxes and gift ideas:

  • Dry Farm Wines’ Hand-Picked Gift Box where you can choose 3, 6, or 12 bottles as a one-time order of reds, whites, or mixed.
  • Dry Farm Wines’ temporary membership is another great gifting option (or something you may want to gift yourself!)–  it automatically expires after 3, 6, or 12 shipments.
  • Scout & Cellar’s holiday gift sets. In addition to a special selection of clean-crafted wine, each gift set includes:
    • A beautiful branded holiday box.
    • A double-sided full-color wine card with tasting notes and food pairings carefully selected.
    • A printed personalized note card that allows you to create a unique gift for anyone on your holiday list.
    • FREE ground shipping! Last-minute shopping? You can select express shipping at checkout for an additional charge. (Note: When placing a Gift Set order, you’ll still see the cost of shipping, but this charge will be removed as a discount during checkout.)

Plus, these companies will handle all the logistics of shipping the wine, so you can sit back and relax.

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Scout & Cellar

 Sugar-Free Sparkling Wine

Bubbles are a staple of holiday celebrations, but they’re usually full of sugar. Many winemakers add sugar into the wine to trigger fermentation so bubbles form. In fact, sparkling wine can have up to 50 g/L, which is like eating 2 teaspoons of sugar with each glass of wine!

Dry Farm Wines also has a sparkling collection: from Spanish Cava to Italian Prosecco, every sparkling wine is organically farmed and naturally made without additives, plus free of sugar and carbs, making them completely Paleo and Ketogenic.

YES PLEASE! No need to sacrifice your health and get negative wine reactions like headaches or energy crashes.

Sign up for a sparkling wine subscription of 3 organic, handpicked sparkling wines monthly, bi-monthly, or every 3 months so you can feel good about clinking those flutes and enjoy a New Years celebration without the hangover!

Scout & Cellar also has some organic, biodynamic, and vegan sparkling wines (try the 2018 Ticklebumps Brut for the lowest-sugar option).

RELATED:  The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Natural Sweeteners

Healthy Wine for Just 1 Penny

Dry Farm Wines’ selection is constantly changing since all the wines come from small, independent productions.

So rather than selling a specific label or bottle, they use a subscription model, where you buy a mixed box, complete with seasonal promos to match the holiday style. Their most popular promotion of the year is the winter holiday collections–special wines for Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years.

Plus: sign up for Dry Farm Wines’ membership and get an extra bottle for just ONE PENNY in your first order!

You can cancel anytime without any fees and with their unique Happiness Guarantee, they’ll either replace or refund any bottle you don’t enjoy–so there’s no risk!

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Dry Farm Wines and Scout & Cellar are some of the only places I know of where you can place an order and be GUARANTEED that ALL the wines you’re buying are safe, natural and free of additives, so to me it’s a no-brainer and totally worth the slightly higher price to get this kind of quality.

Whether or not you try out these particular companies, I do hope that you start to look for natural, organic and biodynamic wine so you can enjoy the health benefits without the harmful additives found in modern wine.

Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday season!

Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I've linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

Olivia Johnson

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11 comments on “Clean Wine for Your Holiday Wine Cellar”

  1. This is interesting! Dry-farm wines is new to me. let me check it out. Thank you for sharing!

  2. So they have barely any residual sugars? Their wines must be quite dry then. Which ones did you prefer?

    • They definitely aren’t sweet wines, but they aren’t bone dry either. They’re much more complex and interesting, honestly. Also, it’s important to note that there’s a difference between added sugar (which is when a winemaker adds cane sugar, corn syrup or grape concentrate) and residual sugar, which primarily comes from the fruit sugars in wine grapes themselves. Though residual sugar is natural, wines that have high levels of RS are often the source of wine headaches. These wines are literally sweeter, and contain more calories and carbs (read: not as friendly to your waistline).

    • Oh yes, and to answer your question about which ones I prefer – their inventory always changes since they primarily work with smaller vineyards, there isn’t a large stock of any particular type. Thus, you don’t order specific wines by title with Dry Farm, you order different bundles of red, white, sparkling, etc. Hope this all helps!

  3. Such an interesting article and at a great time for the holidays coming up. Once I switched over to a plant based diet I stopped drinking heavy alcohol but wine is still my favorite on special occasions! I’ll be checking out Dry Farms and their holiday box! Could also make a great gift!

  4. It’s definitely a good idea to try and buy healthier wines if you can and of course to only drink in moderation.

  5. I’m so happy to learn about Dry Farm! I love wine but can feel my body’s reaction to wine that isn’t great quality – I get an instant headache and my jaw even starts to ache! So strange. I can’t wait to try these amazing wines!!