Does drinking red wine make you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck?
If you want to know the truth about what’s hiding in our wine, beer, liquor, and other boozes, this show is for you. My friend (and wine guy), Todd White, is here to show us how to make hangovers a thing of the past.
Take a listen to this show with Todd White, we’re talking about:
- Why commercial red wines make you feel like crud
- The real reason alcohol has nothing on its label
- What the heck is Mega Purple?
- Properly dosing your alcohol for a better buzz
- How drinking wine is like traveling… and so much more!
Dry Farm Wines is the only health quantified wine merchant in the world that biohacks wine; quantifying organic and natural farming practices, as well as low intervention natural winemaking practices. Dry Farm Wines curates wines from all over the world, working with small family farms that are committed to producing pure natural wines.
Todd is a biohacker who practices meditation, Wim Hof breathing, cold thermogenesis, a ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting and he is a fitness enthusiast. He lives in Oakville, California in the heart of the Napa Valley Wine Country.
TODD WHITE: THE HEALTHIEST WINO ON THE PLANET
Abel: Todd White is a writer, speaker, and a leading authority on the importance of micro-dosing alcohol for health, longevity, and vitality. He’s also the founder of Dry Farm Wines, bringing the first health-quantified, biohacked organic natural wines to the world.
So here he is, the healthiest wino on Earth, Mr. Todd White. Todd, how are you man?
Ha, most of my friends know me as “the wine guy.”
Abel: And he has the guns to prove it… from carrying those boxes around. This podcast is also on antiaging because I had no idea you were almost the same age as Mark Sisson. You look 10-20 years younger than that.
Well, I don’t know if I look 20 years younger than HIM because he’s such a badass. He’s been training his whole life. The guy is so smart.
I was just in Austin for SXSW and you had me to your place for a glass of wine with 20 of your pals. We had such a great conversation about drinking and how you can drink in moderation and be healthy.
Abel: In a prior life when I was a touring musician, I was literally paid in alcohol on occasion. As a fraternity brother at Dartmouth, I learned how to drink (the wrong way). It’s best to leave those strategies of drinking behind when health is a concern.
You have “health experts” on both sides of the issue. Some say resveratrol is what you want to get from wine to optimize health. Others say you need to abstain at all costs because alcohol will ruin your life.
Most people don’t realize the commercial wine is a processed food. Glyphosate, fungicides, and mycotoxins are lurking in most bottles – even the expensive wines. Drinking most red wines will make you feel like you were just run over by a truck.
Can you explain the state of wine drinking, especially American wine, and then about what you’re bringing to the world?
Resveratrol. Let’s start there. There are advocates for moderate wine consumption. There are anti-alcohol proponents, and there are studies on both sides. It leaves most people not knowing what to believe.
I’m in the wine business. I promote drinking wine. But with resveratrol—in order to get the benefits, you’d have to be swimming in wine.
Resveratrol is a bit of a red herring. There are polyphenols and other components of wine we believe are healthy. There are plenty of studies showing that moderate wine consumption is healthy. It’s heart healthy and protects against the normal woes of aging and cognitive decline. But that’s moderate wine consumption. Where we typically go wrong is that we’re not exercising moderation.
Most commercial wines are highly processed factory products. 51% of all wines made in the U.S. are made by just 3 giant companies. These are smart marketing guys in charge of multi-hundred-million dollar companies. They package wine in thousands of labels and brands to have you thinking you’re buying it from some family farm.
All the wines I drink and represent are organic or biodynamic.
We can talk more about biohacking wine in a minute. Let’s go back to your earlier statement about alcohol. Let’s be perfectly clear: Alcohol is toxic. It’s a toxin we need to be careful with. (Water and oxygen are also toxic in the wrong dose.) We need to be really careful with alcohol.
When I was with you a couple of weeks ago, we were talking and drinking for 3 or 4 or 5 hours, but we were fine because we were moderately drinking a lower-alcohol wine and a clean product that’s also sugar-free.
There’s a whole bunch of stuff in wine that’s making you feel bad. It’s not the sulfites as most people believe. #1 is alcohol. Just alcohol is going to make you feel bad if you drink too much. You’ll get dehydrated and feel sick. But then there are additives in most commercial wines because you can’t make volumes of wine without putting something in to prevent spoilage.
Wine is fermented in giant barrels. It’s a living organism. There’s bacteria in there and you have to control the outcome of how these things react with each other chemically.
Abel: Then it’s time to standardize the vintage so every bottle tastes the same.
That’s what we call sterilizing wine, so you end up with a consistent product. What most people drink today is what they associate with wine, but that’s not what real wine tastes like.
There are about 500 winemakers worldwide that make Natural Wines. All of our wines are organic and naturally made. They all taste a little bit different. They’re alive.
Abel: It’s more like a kombucha. There’s a difference in feeling. Like when I’d drink a big punch-you-in-the-face alcoholic wine like most bold reds, I feel maybe a little sleepy, heavy, and I get a burning sensation in my stomach a little bit later.
When you drink natural wines, especially the lower alcohol varieties, you feel almost… lifted. You feel light, clean, and it’s not dragging you down.
It’s energizing. My job is to help people think about drinking, to step back and say, “I’m going to drink, I like to drink. How can I do it in a healthier way?”
I have stopped before—I call it “suffering through sobriety.” It’s just not my gig. As I got in my 50’s I couldn’t drink standard wines anymore. I was going to have to stop drinking. When I met Mark Sisson he said he wasn’t interested because he couldn’t drink wine anymore.
That happens to a lot of people. Heaviness in the brain and then you wake up in the middle of the night and you’re thinking about some business problem and it’s a struggle to get back to sleep. I went down this path of finding a better, pure, naturally made product that’s also naturally lower in alcohol. Nearly everyone who drinks natural wines and those that we procure:
- Experience no brain fog
- Sleep through night
- Have no hangovers
- Get a lighter, cleaner, gentle lift (a better buzz)
We talked about doing a dinner—you all like to cook and I love to cook. I live in Napa Valley wine country. I want to sit down at a dinner party for hours and drink wine through the night, remain creatively expressive, and remain cognitively connected.
A good wine in the right dosage lifts euphoria slightly. But in the wrong dosage, euphoria quickly turns into something else.
The right dosage partnered with this low alcohol wine, you’re going to get elevation and a rejoicing of experience. We’ll still have creative connection and celebration all night long as long as dosage remains correct.
It’s when the dose gets too high that it’s not as fun anymore, and it becomes less engaging creatively.
Abel: How do you make sure you’re not overdoing it?
You have to start with a lower alcohol product. We’ll talk about “glorious exceptions”—like at a wedding, festival, or bachelor party. Glorious exceptions are awesome. But they need to be rare because the cognitive and body damage associated is significant.
We have to start with a low alcohol product, and I don’t drink beer for obvious reasons. It’s full of gluten, maltose sugar and it’s nasty.
Abel: And you’re ketogenic, right?
I’ve been ketogenic for almost two years. I stay in full time ketosis. I monitor for ketones and blood sugar on a regular basis. Because our wines are sugar free, they have zero impact on blood sugar and ketosis.
Your listeners know that moderating alcohol isn’t going to be you having one glass of wine at a dinner party. They want to be able to drink all night and enjoy themselves… and wine tastes good and it’s great with food.
If I have dinner at your house, I’m going to bring 15 wines and we’re going to have this experience… we’re going to adventure all over the globe. We want to get excited about tasting new wines—just the same experience we had with Tucker Max at your party. I think we opened 15 or 20 wines. We didn’t drink them all—we left open bottles at your house. I’m not sure what you and Alyson did with them.
Abel: The world will never know.
Abel: Like coffee or chocolate or cheese, wine making is art. The people who make these are craftsmen, and they take pride in making something real that works with nature instead of adulterated products like commercial wines.
When you taste commercial wine, what you’re tasting is additives and syrups and many things that aren’t nature—their flavor isn’t always derived from unique grapes and wild yeast.
What you’re also getting (in commercial wines) is a lot of sugar. The American palate lends itself to sweetness. And in fairness to the vintners that make these wines, they’re responding to the market. Their job is to sell wine, and Americans want to drink a syrupy, sweeter, heavier product.
But that’s not your audience and not what I want either… and there are millions of people who reject that concept.
Our job is to educate them on the missing link in their diet. So they’re on The Wild Diet and they’re clean and feeling great, but they’re still drinking this crappy poison because they don’t’ know.
Natural wines are also inexpensive for a fine wine product at $18 – $25 a bottle.
Price and quality have no correlation in wine. The price is correlated to the romance and the story. It’s Marketing 101.
I don’t drink beer or spirits. I completely get the distilled purity argument, but for me the alcohol dosage is simply too high. So that leaves me with low alcohol wines as my choice that allows me to drink through the night with zero ill effects—nobody’s getting messy or loud, they’re just expressive.
What we seek is a microdose. That doesn’t come from drinking just one glass, just lowering the dosage of alcohol. I drink a bottle of wine a night over a five hour period. At no point am I losing cognitive expression or creative expression, I’m just euphoric.
Of course, you have to eat and stay hydrated, then if you’re sticking with a lower alcohol product you’re in good shape. Your body will metabolize about 10 ml of ethyl alcohol an hour. That’s in a typical 5 oz glass of our wine. So if you’re having a glass an hour you’re metabolising that alcohol.
Abel: Can we talk about the yeast in commercial wines?
Yeast is native to every vineyard. It’s on the outside of a grape skin. If you went and picked some ripe grapes from a grape vine and you threw them in a bucket and left it in a corner for a couple weeks, you’d be making wine. You don’t have to do anything with it. In Napa Valley, in the fall when the fruit falls to the ground, the whole valley smells like wine.
Commercial wines are using GMO commercial yeast modified in a lab to achieve certain flavor profiles, again responding to an American palate. They might look for banana in chardonnay—well there’s no reference point for banana in chardonnay, so they artificially create it.
In the pursuit of health, I want a whole, natural product. I want all wild food, like on The Wild Diet. I’m looking for a real food experience.
I don’t want GMOs or commercially modified yeast in my wine. I want a whole, natural product.
WHAT’S HIDING IN COMMERCIAL WINE
Let’s talk about additives. There’s 76 additives approved by the FDA for use in winemaking, and 38 of them include the acronym GRAS, generally recognized as safe. That doesn’t bring me a whole lot of assurance that the FDA (whom I don’t trust in first place) is telling me that they’re generally accepted as safe.
The FDA and the government have been in bed with the alcohol industry for a long time. That’s why there’s no ingredient labels on wine. You’ve got one thing, and that’s the alcohol content, and by law that doesn’t even have to be accurate. There’s a spectrum—the label can be up to a percentage and a half off.
If you’re drinking a 14% alcohol wine, you could be drinking a 15.5% wine and not know it.
At Dry Farm Wines, we use a third party independently certified analyst to lab test every one of our wines for a number of standards of purity to ensure the wines meet our standards. All of the wines we drink and sell, that we recommend you drink no matter where you get it, are 12.5% alcohol or below.
Many of our wines are 10-11% alcohol, and that’s a huge difference between what you see in commercial wines.
Abel: A lot of times commercial wines will doctor the alcohol content, as well. They’re adding sugars and alcohol later in the process to bump up the alcohol percentage.
It’s called chaptalization—which is adding sugar to the grape must to increase alcohol and sweetness. When you start with a high sugar product, you end with a high alcohol product. Yeast is already on outside of grape skin. When the skin breaks open and juice flows, the yeast starts eating it, and the result of that is that it creates alcohol.
In America and much of the world, grapes are being picked later, riper, so they have higher alcohol, higher sugar, and high sugar byproducts.
If you’re going to drink, I recommend you drink wine and you should drink a naturally made low alcohol wine. They’re hard to find but you can find them.
HOW TO BIOHACK WINE
The other thing we do is biohack wine.
I’ve been biohacking since I was about 40 years old. Only it wasn’t called that because quantified self and people like Dave Asprey hadn’t started yet.
Biohacking is the science and art of the study and optimization of the neurological and biological effects of our behavior, including what we consume.
How do I hack that in a way that makes my life longer, more importantly, that I’m extending my health span not just my life span?
For lunch today I had a can of sardines. It’s always my lunch of choice when I’m going to do a show. It’s that high octane brain food!
Abel: I usually have a can of sardines in my backpack. Sardines have saved me on numerous occasions.
I just don’t eat them on a plane! I eat them in a hotel and then have to put the can outside. It’s so pungent.
I do Wim Hof breathwork and cold therapy every day. I love winter cuz it’s a great time to express that.
So, what we did was biohack wine. We said, “Let’s go in and lab test all these wines for sulphites, sugars, alcohol, contaminants, etc.” All the wines we represent are sugar free because I’m sugar free.
When you buy a wine from us, you know it’s the same wine I’m drinking… and I’m fanatical about what I put in my body. You know it’s a lab quantified pure product.
How you measure alcohol in a drink:
When you think about having spirits, wine, or beer, there’s another place the U.S. Government has mislead the American public. They like to do that where diet and nutrition is concerned. They’re in bed with the alcohol industry, that’s why there’s no label.
Just because wine isn’t sweet doesn’t mean there’s no sugar in it. If you add enough acidity, you won’t taste the sugar.
You wouldn’t be able to consume a Coke with its high sugar content without a high acid content to balance it out. Same thing with wine.
Because I biohack everything, I thought, “How do we deconstruct wine in a way that makes me feel better?” We cracked the code on it, and we have many supporters in the health influencer marketplace—Mark Sisson, Dave Asprey. I think you are…
Abel: I really enjoy your wine. It’s totally unique. In America right now we are paying more attention to the food we eat, our health in general, and why is this wine make me feel terrible and why is it not labeled?
I looked into alcohol to find out about the additives. There is a monumental difference between having a relatively clean liquor like good vodka or tequila. When you get into the well, the cheap drinks served in most bars, those give you biggest hangover. All the additives, all the lack of quality and lack of transparency in the industry, you don’t get to see what you’re consuming or what is added to what you’re consuming.
I’ve given up wine many times. Once in awhile I’ll hang out with my parents or someone else and have too much wine. Then I regret it.
When you find that wonderful red or white wine that tastes different and unique and you wake up the next morning and feel wonderful, you’re like, “This is awesome!” But I have a hard time finding those wines the next time I’m looking for a good time.
I’m glad someone with your passion and enthusiasm is bringing great wines to the health nuts, but you’re bringing transparency to it, too. Wine isn’t required to be labeled with additives, so you’re essentially making your own label. You test it and see what’s in it and only pick the best. I love what you’re doing.
I was very skeptical at first, but as soon as I tasted the first, second, third bottle and noticed how unique, different, and light these wines are, I knew it was a good thing. And the buzz is different. Healthy, natural wine is something to be excited about.
My grandmother used to say, “it took a hundred years to get overnight mail.” Sometimes it takes awhile for these things to come forward. I happened to be uniquely positioned as a biohacker and wine lover to make it happen.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEER, WINE, AND SPIRITS
The U.S. government told us that a beer, a glass of wine, and a mixed drink are the same amount of alcohol – a standard drink unit. This is categorically false—especially craft beer – they can range up to 16% alcohol.
If you want a beer-like drink that has that taste and sensation, I recommend apple ciders… but you have to get the right ones out of europe. But you have to watch for sugar. We are thinking of adding ciders (sugar free ones). They’re hard to find.
We talked about this when we first met. The British government developed a system to introduce to their citizen in 1987 to accurately measure alcohol in a drink—it’s called alcohol units. In essence, it takes the milliliters of wine multiplied by the actual alcohol amount divided by a thousand, and that gives you a unit measurement… and a unit is 10 liters of ethyl alcohol.
In America you multiply the number of ounces by 29.6 and that will give you milliliters. Divide by 1,000 and that will give you the units.
Example: In a 12% alcohol wine, a 5 ounce serving is 1.77 units. Compare that to say a NorCal Margarita which is 3.55 units. It’s twice the amount of alcohol consumption in a serving.
I’m glad Robb Wolf brought the NorCal Margarita to the Paleo movement because it’s a whole lot smarter than drinking anything else. If you’re going to drink a distilled spirit, tequila is a great choice.
Abel: If you have a glass of wine that’s low in alcohol, over the course of time you feel that euphoric feeling. The happy zone.
When you have a NorCal Margarita, you have three units of alcohol quickly. You might skip the euphoric happy zone and go straight to something worse?
You’re going to stop in and visit the happy zone but you’re going to keep on cruising. But most of us aren’t going to just have one drink. I can’t remember ever having gone to a social engagement and having one drink when everyone else is drinking and it’s a party environment.
Alcohol is a domino drug. It pulls you in. The more you drink the more you get pulled in. The faster you drink, the more your judgment is impaired—then it goes to an unhealthy place.
Sugar is a domino drug as well. You eat that sugar and you go crazy trying to get more of it.
Abel: You want to get to that happy zone and stay there. So many of us aren’t taught “how to” drink. But to stay in that happy zone with a mixed drink, like a NorCal Margarita, perhaps you could go for one shot with more club soda.
My job, like yours, is to help people. What I’m passionate about is educating people. Why I’m here is to educate and talk about this so people walk away and go, “That makes sense.”
Abel: For me, hope was lost for red wine years ago, and I want to give people hope. I want to find that fermented fruit drink that you can enjoy without feeling trashed.
I’m going to tell you something that surprised me—we were watching a movie the other night and spilled a glass of one of your red wines right on the new carpet. But we put paper towels down and put a little water on it- it came right out. No stains.
Can you talk about why people get stained teeth and clothes and why it doesn’t happen with your wines?
One of the top-selling additive in the industry is called Mega Purple—it’s a color agent. Winemakers use color agents, or more importantly with finer wine products—long soaks on the skin, to make wine darker. Consumers believe the darker a red wine is the better the quality. But color has nothing to do with quality.
Because of that, winemakers are responding to these perceptions. They leave skins macerating in the juice of a long time to extract color.
For your listeners who don’t know this, let me explain: If you squeeze the juice form a red grape and white grape, the juice is clear on both. Red wine gets its color from contact with the skin. The longer the skin soaks the darker the color and then you get these pigments that stain your teeth or your carpet.
Sometimes that might be a color agent or an extended soak. Either way, you get this dark color.
These extended soaks exacerbate biomines like histamine. That’s why you get heaviness or get flush or warm or have some constriction in the forehead—that’s all caused by histamine. It’s exacerbated and comes from a long soak on the skins.
Many people say they can drink white wine but not red wine. When we talk about sulphites, white wine actually has more.
We’ve had this email relationship this last year as I’ve been educating you on how these wines work. So the other week I’m on my way to your house and on the phone with a friend, and I’m like “Abel is getting kinda famous.”
He’s a New York Times bestseller, he’s on this TV show, and I said, “I’ve never met the cat. We’ve talked on the phone and he seems super cool, but I’m not sure if he’s been tainted by the celebrity brush.”
I’m happy to report that what you see on the screen or hear, he’s not been tainted by the celebrity brush. Abel is exactly what you see and he makes people feel good. He’s got that soul.
Like that album, Swamp Thing, you just released. It’s got soul. I’ve got it in the car right now and I’m listening to it and everybody should get it!
In addition to robbing the wine’s soul, sulphites are higher in white wines. It’s not the sulphites that’s causing headaches. It’s the histamine.
All our wines are low in histamine and they don’t have this effect. People are calling and saying, “I can’t drink red wine and I’m hoping that I can drink yours.” I give them my personal cell phone number and tell them to call me if the wine doesn’t do what they want. I’ll personally give them their money back.
I want to leave you with three things that I hope will help everyone…
#1 This is the greatest biohack of all time: meditation. What meditation does is clear out and manage the transitive thinking, the trauma of thought. We are all very busy thinking all the time and what meditation does is help you open those channels ways of peace. When you open up that space and stop the constant trauma of thinking, new gifts can come to you because there’s this space that can receive love and support and gifts.
#2 Eat Wild to power up your mind and body. This is the most important thing. See food as medicine. Food is medicine to power your mind and body with what you eat.
#3 Face your critics. You can’t progress until you face your critics. The most important is your self criticism—that inside voice, that story you tell yourself about who you are and what you’re capable of. You can change that any time you decide to believe it. The external critic’s inside voice is uncomfortable with your outside voice. It has absolutely nothing to do with you.
Now, here’s my favorite quote of all time. It’s followed me through my life and has answered many different moments for me. When you live fearlessly you have moments of criticism. I live in the heart of Napa Valley and sell natural wines from Europe and talk about poison in wine. I get some criticism.
This is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, an excerpt from a 1910 speech in Paris:
It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt
WHERE TO FIND TODD WHITE
This is an awesome thing and one of the great pleasures of doing shows like yours is that I get to inspire people.
HERE’S HOW TO GET YOUR BOTTLE OF WINE FOR A PENNY…
I have a special offer for your listeners—we will give your listeners a one penny bottle of wine and all they have to do is go to www.dryfarmwines.com/wild.
Abel: I want to be very sensitive about this. I do consider Todd a friend at this point. I had given up wine a long time ago, so I’m very happy to introduce you to Todd and what he’s doing so you can perhaps drink wine again like I have.
I hardly ever have special offers, especially during the interview portion, so if you’re not cool with that just go straight to his website and I won’t be compensated. But if you believe in what we do and you’d like to support this show—every little bit helps. Go to www.dryfarmwines.com/wild to get your penny wine.
Todd, this is fantastic and I appreciate the passion and enthusiasm you bring to the world of booze!
Natural wines currently make up roughly 1% of the market in the U.S., and that’s expanding quickly. You may even be able to find some at high-end wine shops (although we haven’t had much luck when we’ve tried).
Dry Farm Wines is the first and only club in the world to lab-test and curate low-sugar wines. The bottles cost around $18-25 each. This is relatively inexpensive for a quality wine… especially when you consider the fact that it’s lab tested.
Because these wines are naturally lower in alcohol and statistically sugar/carb free, they are friendly to The Wild Diet, Paleo, Low/Slow Carb, Sugar Free, and even ketogenic nutritional plans.
Dry Farm Wines just opened for new members, and you can get natural, lab-tested wines shipped straight to your front door.
Plus, as a gift to our readers, you can try your first bottle of wine for just one penny! You’ll get a full-size bottle of wine for a cent with any club order and free shipping for all of our readers and listeners!
Have you tried natural wines? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.