I enjoy my health and I also enjoy a glass of wine.
Some may argue that these two forms of contentment are mutually exclusive. Some may not. I tend to fall into the second camp but I would wouldn’t I! I just told you I like both things and I’m the one here giving advice on health and wellness!
Wine is just like anything else that you consume (aside from the fact that it contains alcohol, which can of course be toxic if consumed in quantities that the body is unable to tolerate). By this I mean that like any food or drink, it can be made using clean, natural ingredients, or it can be made using a cocktail of chemicals.
And it all starts in the vineyard. Most wine grapes are grown using chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers. Then from the time they’re picked until they are bottled, they are bombarded with an assemblage of chemicals, some more natural than others it’s true to say. From the sulphur used to preserve and the copper sulphate used to remove excess sulphur in the wines, to the cleaning chemicals used to clean and swab the winery and equipment and so much in between.
Leaving the alcohol toxicity facts aside for a moment, it’s no wonder we get a headache when we’ve had too much!
Now I’m not here today to go into the details of individual chemicals used and what effect they may or may not have on your short or long term health. I may do this further down the track as together we learn more about clean wines. The truth is, I have an absolute shed load of wine produced in the conventional manner in my cellar that I fully intend to drink over the course of the next several years – very very slowly. (1. Seriously, it would fill a not too small shed. 2. I reserve the right to change my mind on whether or not I drink this wine as I learn more about the additions it contains!)
But I am very interested in promoting wines that offer potential health benefits and I believe that’s where good, clean, low input wine comes in. For those of us who can tolerate wine, biodynamic and organic wines known here as clean wines have the potential to be at least less harmful if not a down right healthy option.
My thoughts on this don’t go down the resveratrol ( a plant nutrient polyphenol found in the skins of red wine grapes inparticular) track. My understanding is that to get the amount of resveratrol needed to actually make a big difference to your health , you would have to get stuck into that shed of mine in a big way and probably not be able to function on any other level even though your heart might enjoy the benefits. I believe that the real health benefits of wine lie in it’s ability to allow you a little bit of down time. Some time to relax and to stop stressing about that thing that was stressing you all day.
I am also very interested in the sustainability aspect of producing wines in this way. Conventional farming of any type whether it be vegetables and fruit, meat production or grapes is damaging to our environment with chemical run off and lack of soil micro diversity. You can read more about that here in my post called “Organics – Why Bother!”
The best wine quality
And of course there is the reason many of these wine producers went on the time consuming and often expensive organic/biodynamic journey with their vineyards and vinification (industry speak for winemaking) methods. To make an amazing tasting wine of course!!! It’s a fact that many of the best wines in the world are made using biodynamic or organic principles. The health of their vineyards and the quality and purity of the fruit makes for a truly amazing end product when in the right hands.
How much is too much?
Nowhere here have I mentioned how much wine is a good thing and how much is too much. The fact is, we all have different tolerance levels and I genuinely don’t know how much that is for you. In certain cases, it may be none at all. I think for me a glass or two a few times a week can be a healthy thing. I like to have more alcohol free days in a fortnight than not but of course that depends on life doesn’t it. My body quickly lets me know when it needs a rest from over indulgence and I know I am fortunate to have that mechanism inbuilt (that and the fact that I have some issues letting go of control and I despise hangovers!)
So to that end, let me introduce to you the Clean Wines section of Find Your Natural Groove. I will be conducting regular tastings of Biodynamic, Organic and Low Input wines and writing about those that I feel deserve our attention. This is in the hope that we can stimulate more growers and makers to produce wines in this way because we have been stimulated to buy more!
My 10 years experience in the wine industry taught me how taste wine and talk about it with some level of expertise but my experience with low input clean wines is very limited so I’ll be learning with you.
I hope you enjoy the ride with me and join me in supporting these amazing wine producers who care enough about us and the earth to go the trouble of making clean wine for us to appreciate.