Why wine is being rebranded as the hot new health drink

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Can wine be rebranded as a health drink? In a bid to win over millennials, some wine industry creatives are giving it a shot.

The millennials are simply not drinking their fair share of wine, according to Rob McMillan, the founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) Wine Division.

In his annual report, McMillan said the wine industry expected millennials to consume enough to take the place of baby boomers. But this simply isn’t the case, and McMillan points to many factors. They include millennials’ debt load, their preference for craft beers and premium spirits, the legalization of cannabis and the negative health messaging with alcohol.

Some in the wine industry are being proactive to counter the millennial slump in sales. One company in particular is trying to reverse wine’s negative health messaging. Dry Farm Wines (dryfarmwines.com) is calling itself “the only health focused, natural wine club in the world.”

Here’s a blurb from Dry Farm Wines’ website: “Dry Farm Wines curates only the highest quality natural wines from small, sustainable family farms that meet our strict standard of health. Unlike today’s commercialized and processed wines, this is real wine. Nothing is added, nothing removed.”

And here are some specifics about this “real wine”: “Sugar-Free (1g/L); Low Sulfites (75 ppm); Low Alcohol (12.5%); Mycotoxin/Mold-Free; No Additives; Dry-Farmed; Old Vines (35-100 years); Hand harvested; Wild Native Yeast; Small Productions; Gluten-free; Paleo-Friendly; Keto-Friendly; Low Carb-Friendly; Naturally or Biodynamically Farmed.”

The website also makes a case for its wines by featuring what it calls “Health leaders who love our wines.” One is Mark Sisson, the author of “The Primal Blueprint,” the catalyst for the Paleo Diet to become a household name. Known as the caveman diet, this health regime focuses on foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering – lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Sisson’s quote on the website? “The perfect paleo wine. I’m a believer.”

Whether you find yourself in the pro-health wine camp or not, you’ll likely see more sites like dryfarmwines.com in the near future. However finding a healthy wine may be less important than drinking a moderate amount of any wine.

The Mayo Clinic reports “various studies have shown that moderate amounts of all types of alcohol benefit your heart, not just alcohol found in red wine. It’s thought that alcohol: raises HDL (healthy) cholesterol, reduces the formation of blood clots, helps prevent artery damage caused by high levels of LDL (harmful) cholesterol, and may improve the function of the layer of cells that line your blood vessels (endothelium).”

With moderation in mind, if you really want to be health-conscious pay less attention to the branding of certain wines and more attention to how much you imbibe.

You can reach wine writer Peg Melnik at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

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