Is natural wine healthier? Is natural wine better for you?

By Dave Schavone

Recently, an article in The New York Times about the supposed health benefits of natural wine caught my eye. It debunks a number of the most common health claims around natural wine (with maybe a few caveats). For the most part I agreed with journalist Jesse Hirsch. My hot take was that I kinda thought the article was unnecessary…

I mean, doesn’t everyone know that natural wine isn’t healthy? In short: maybe not. The amount of misinformation out there around natural wine is shocking. 

Is wine healthy? Is natural wine better for you? No. That’s just marketing hype.

Articles like this one make so many disingenuous claims that it’s hard to take them seriously at all. Some of the things they say, such as suggesting clarifying agents are present in the wines when you drink them, are simply untrue. Others are so dubious as to be laughable, especially this conclusion:

“So what does all this mean? It means that if you drink wines that fit the descriptions listed above, you should have no headache, brain fog or hangover after drinking.”

This is well past the point of being wrong. It is a lie. The article is just an ad for a popular online natural wine retailer (“Get your first bottle for 1 cent!”). They should know better. 

Others, like this post, are much less egregious. They’re more careful, making generalized statements about the benefits of antioxidants and other compounds found in wine. Though basically true, almost all nutritionists will tell you there are better ways to get these beneficial compounds into your diet. Wine has a place in a healthy diet, but it’s an indulgence. 

Wine feeds the soul much more effectively than it feeds the body.

We’re not into health claims associated with drinking wine. Our own [extensive personal] research has proven the “natural wine won’t give you a hangover” to be false. However, we believe very strongly that natural wine is the responsible choice. Which brings me to my criticism of the NYT piece.

Natural wine is a responsible, if not healthy, choice.

When discussing the harmfulness of any product on the market, we consider two things: the harm to the consumer of the product, and the harm to the environment in the making of the product. 

The NYT article was right to point out that natural wines are about the same as conventional wines when it comes to how they affect the person drinking them but it stopped short of considering the harmful impacts conventional farming has on our environment. 

Whether it’s the use (and overuse) of carcinogenic pesticides, irresponsible water usage, or disrespect for the land around them, modern conventional farms take a heavy toll on the world we live in. The more we learn about the overall benefits of regenerative agriculture, the clearer it becomes that all crops should be grown with these principals in mind. 

Like everything else these days, there is a ton of misinformation available online about wine and health. Most of the people pushing it are well meaning, but some are just after your money. 

At the end of the day, the only way to cut through the noise is to know exactly what is in the products you consume and how they are made.