If you’re like me, you’re always trying to find a balance between living a healthy lifestyle and living your life. With that in mind, maybe you’ve also wondered how much is too much when it comes to wine consumption. If cutting calories for weight loss is not your primary concern, then what’s the harm in a glass or two of wine at the end of the work day, right?
Not much, if you look at the French paradox — studies have suggested that regular, moderate consumption of red wine counteracts the heavy fats the French consume, resulting in their low incidence of coronary disease and many other health benefits (including their irritatingly lean physiques).
However, if you’re not lucky enough to have been born with Gallic genes, there is a way to maintain a health-conscious lifestyle without giving up your well-deserved glass of vino: Consider switching to organic wine. With more people turning towards local and organically grown foods, wine and alcoholic beverages are the next frontier in living a healthy lifestyle. The bonus is that most organic wines are priced competitively with traditional ones.
Three reasons to go organic next time you’re stocking up:
1. Organic grapes are grown…well…organically: Traditional grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed agricultural products. Go organic, and you bypass potentially harmful pesticides and insecticides that are impossible to avoid once they’ve penetrated the grape.
2. There is such a thing as too much sulphur: Sulphur dioxide is a naturally occurring product in all wine that works as a preservative and anti-bacterial agent. But many winemakers add extra sulphites, sometimes 10–20 times the amount you would find in organic wine. Consuming increased amounts of sulphites can cause a reaction (usually in the form of your face going completely red at the worst possible time) and is especially hazardous for asthmatics. It is also one of the main culprits behind hangovers.
3. Go green: Taking care of the environment might not seem to have a direct impact on your day-to-day health, but moving towards organic wines promotes farming practices that eliminate chemicals in our soil and water supply — better for the environment means better for you.
So, how does the taste of organic wine measure up to traditional wine? I’ll be honest: it’s hit and miss — but it’s definitely worth the search for one that suits your palate. According to Gidon Gabay, an ISSA-certified performance nutritionist, “Although the slightly different flavour may take some getting used to, it’s definitely worth it for all the added benefits. The purity of the wine ensures a brighter, bolder flavour, with all the antioxidant benefits we’ve come to expect, but none of the added chemicals.”
Looking for a place to start? Frog’s Leap Winery in Napa Valley has made incredible strides in the realm of organic wine. And if you’re interested in staying closer to home, check out Frog Pond Farm in Ontario, L’Acadie Vineyards in Nova Scotia or Summerhill Estate Winery in B.C.
Wishing you happy (and healthy) drinking!