A Nutritionist Weighs in on Clean Wine
- Written By:Lauren Slayton
As a nutritionist, I’m a fan of an upgraded, healthier version. I like a good, cauliflower crust pizza, I seek out organic produce and dark chocolate. So, when I first heard about “clean wines,” I was intrigued. The first company on my radar was Dry Farm Wines. Since then, there’s a bunch of other clean wine companies on the market. We have an acronym we use at my company, Foodtrainers. It’s YOSA, which stands for “yay or step away.” So, the question I’ll answer is are clean wines a “yay” or a “step away.”
What is clean wine?
Clean wine isn’t a legal term, but most clean wine companies claim to use organic grapes and no unnecessary ingredients. Some say their products are lower in sugar, hangover free and vegan. Prior to doing this research, I assumed all wines were vegan. After all, where are the animal products in grapes? But it turns out some wines use gelatin and egg whites to make wine. Aside from animal products, there are other things that could be lurking in wines. There are all sorts of additives from fake oak flavor to something called “mega purple” used in wine. Mega purple us banned by the European Union but used in some US, mass-market wine for color and sweetness. Clean wine companies steer clear of stabilizers, flavoring agents and other chemicals.
Clean wines say they’re lower in sugar
A lot of clean wines boast a lower sugar content, which I’m sure appeals to many people on keto diets or or just trying to consume less sugar. I have to say, that drew me in with Dry Farm Wines. But a [Food and Wine article](https://www.foodandwine.com/wine/clean-wine-ok-sure-but-what-is-it) on clean wine explains you don't need to seek out wines advertised as low-carb or lower sugar. They advise to look for lower alcohol (under 13% ABV), dry wines. High alcohol wines come with more calories and carbs, so if your goal is to stay in ketosis, skip that 15% Zinfandel.
Wines paired with celebrity
Many celebrities are entering the clean wine space. There’s Cameron Diaz’s Avaline, Julianne Hough has Fresh Vine Wine. The celebrity founders and slogans such as Good Clean Wines and “pairs with a healthy lifestyle” and Wonderful Wines with “wellness without deprivation” makes me a little skeptical. Let’s be clear: wine isn’t a wellness product.
How do clean wines taste?
There are many healthy food products that sound great, in theory, but lack deliciousness. So, we conducted a a clean wine taste test. Since it’s spring, we gathered up a handful of clean rose’ wines and had a blind tasting in our offices. We sampled Wonderful Wine, Good Clean wine and rose’ wines from Dry Farm wines. Our two favorites were the Wonderful Wine’s rose’, followed by the Good Clean Wine. While we liked these, we all agreed that there are organic rose’s not specifically advertised as “clean” we liked even better. One favorite of ours is Le Bernarde from Provence.
Are clean wines a “yay” or “step away”
Despite health claims, taste is paramount. Most of the clean wines didn’t wow us in terms of flavor. On the other hand, we usually reserve “step away” status for things with iffy ingredients or side effects and that’s definitely not the case with clean wines. But at the end of the day, these wines aren’t necessarily lower in sugar than other dry wines. And if you’re buying European or organic wines, you’re not getting fake oak or mega purple.
So, it’s not that clean wines are unhealthy, I’m just not sure they’re all that special. And if you’re not a wine drinker, there’s no reason to start drinking “clean wine.” After all the “cleanest,” lowest sugar option is not to drink at all or not to drink too much. In terms of pesky hangovers, if you do drink make sure you hydrate and alcohol depletes B vitamins, so a B complex is good to have on hand. Cheers!