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Paleo Wine: How to Avoid Hidden Sugar on Your Paleo Diet

by Todd White
Home/Blog/Protect Your Mental Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Did you know that Paleo wine is hard to come by?

That’s because there are hidden sugars in most wines out there.

Sugar is in nearly everything, but most of us don’t even think about it when it comes to wine.

If you are mindful about sugar consumption, you can simply look at the ingredients and nutritional label of whatever you consume to see how much is there. But not when it comes to sugar in wine.

Why not?

The wine industry has spent millions of dollars lobbying to keep contents labeling off of wine. Wine is the only major food group without a contents label. (That’s because they do not want you to know what’s in it!)

Reading Food Labels

We’ve all become increasingly more conscious of what’s in our food. We celebrate grass-fed meat, wild caught fish, and organically-grown vegetables because they are pure, clean, and healthy. Shouldn’t we also demand the same from what we drink?

But without labeling, how do you know what you’re really drinking?

It turns out most wines are filled with substances you would never choose to drink, including hidden sugar. We’re saying it’s hidden sugar in wine because you can’t always taste it. This is thanks to the underlying acid in most wines, which covers up the sweet flavor of sugar. Not to mention the toxins and additives that help mute the sweetness, too.

If you drink wine and care about your health, then listen up! I’m going to share the wine industry’s dirty, dark secrets with you.

red wine image

The Dirty Dark Secrets of Wine

Wine has been consumed for over 8,000 years and it’s played an important role in shaping art, culture, and religion.

The wine they drank was natural wine – just organic grapes and native yeast.

The heavy hand of commercial processing has moved wine away from its natural roots in the last few decades. What’s happening in modern wine production is not much different from what is happening in all of agribusiness and our troubled food supply – mass consolidation, driven by corporate greed.

The goal is to make wine cheaper and faster, not better and healthier.

How do you make wine cheaper and faster? Use unnatural fillers, flavor agents, and chemical additives. There are 76 additives approved by the FDA for the use in winemaking in the United States.

38 of these additives get the GRAS acronym from the FDA. That stands for “Generally Regarded As Safe”.

Outside of the Bottle…

As if hidden sugar in wine wasn’t enough, the farming practices are also far from great.

The active chemical glyphosate, found in Monsanto’s Roundup, is the #1 herbicide in use in U.S. vineyards. Just last year, in an independent study of three wine appellations in California, glyphosate was found present in all the wines tested.

Again, like most of agribusiness; the goal is NOT to be healthier or better, it’s cheaper and faster. In this pursuit, corporate greed is killing our soils and making our products toxic.

Finally, in the U.S. Wine industry, there is near 100% use of irrigation.  

Why is that important? It affects fruit quality and leads to high alcohol levels in wines.

Why irrigate? More greed. When you irrigate a grape vine, you get higher yields. Fruit filled with water weighs more. Heavier grapes equals more money for the grower because they are sold by the ton.

The problem here is they must reach a higher sugar level at ripening to develop flavor. Higher sugar in the grapes leads to higher sugar in wine and higher alcohol levels at fermentation.

Because of all this – the hidden sugars, 76 additives, use of chemicals like glyphosate, irrigation, higher alcohol levels, and more – most wines are killing your Paleo diet.

There’s a Healthier Option

A few years ago, I became fanatical about my health and wellness. I switched to a strict Paleo (and then Ketogenic) diet.

As someone who lives in Napa and loves wine, I had a conflict. I couldn’t continue damaging my health by drinking the same unhealthy wines… but I also didn’t want to stop drinking wine. The hangovers, headaches, and impaired sleep were too much.

I asked a friend for help and he pointed me toward the natural wine movement in Europe.

After tasting a few natural wines, there was no going back.

I could not only taste the difference, I could feel it. I started curating natural wines from small organic and biodynamic farms in Europe. Natural wines require very specific farming and winemaking protocols. There are only a few hundred natural winemakers in the world.

What is a Natural Wine?

Natural wines must be:

This what makes them pure, whole, honest, and handcrafted artisan wines. Only a tiny fraction of wines made in the world are now natural wines.

My passion for health made me realize I could take the whole process a step further.

To know exactly what was in these wines, I started lab testing each wine and only keeping the ones that met my health standards, including being sugar-free, low in sulfites, and low alcohol.

The result: I could drink these wines without any negative side effects (no headaches, hangovers, or bad sleep) and without any impact to my diet (I regularly test blood sugar and ketone levels).

This is why I started Dry Farm Wines. It was a way to solve my own problem. This is also the reason Dry Farm Wines has been endorsed by so many leading health authorities including Mark Sisson of The Primal Blueprint and Primal Kitchen, Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Executive, Robb Wolf of The Paleo Solution, Abel James of The Fat Burning Man, JJ Virgin of The Virgin Diet and The Sugar Impact Diet, JimmyMoore of Keto Clarity, and many more.

If you’d like to learn more about natural wines, we just published a free ebook filled with short facts about natural wine. Click here to download it!

Start Your Journey

Though it’s currently rare to find these natural wines (especially sugar-free, low alcohol, low sulfite natural wines) in the US, here are a few tips to ensure you pick the cleanest possible wines when you go to a restaurant or local wine shop:

  1. Ask for natural wines. Often, a bartender or sommelier will know a few natural wines on the wine menu. The word “natural” is becoming trendy in certain wine circles, so you may get lucky!
  2. Go European. Look for French wines from popular, cool climate, natural wine regions like the Loire Valley and Jura. Choose grapes like Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc.
  3. Go organic/biodynamic. It’s more likely that farmers and winegrowers who believe in organic and biodynamic practices will produce cleaner and more honest wines.
  4. Go sugar-free. A “dry” wine is sugar-free but the term is often misused. To be clear, ask for a wine that has no sugar in it (less than 1g/l).

Even with these tips, it’s hard to know what’s really up with the sugar in wine. That’s why I lab test every bottle I drink.

Ditch the Sugar in Wine

If you’re fanatical about your health and diet (like I am!) and a serious wine drinker (also like me!), then the best way to experience the difference from these wines is to try a few bottles from Dry Farm Wines. We’ll ship them right to your door.

We’re doing a special Paleo f(x)™ promotion. Order a box and get an extra bottle of wine for 1 penny.


Ultimately, I’d like to challenge you to question what you drink in the same way you question what you eat.

What’s really in wine?

Let that question sit and aerate, like a young glass of wine.

As it opens up, you too may find yourself venturing into this magnificent world of natural, lab tested, Paleo-friendly wine.

Dry Farm Wines



The Paleo movement incorporates several different optimizing perspectives for helping you improve your health, all based on the latest science. Everyone is different. We want to support you in understanding your unique genetic makeup, symptoms and health goals so you can choose the path that is right for you.

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Todd White - Paleo f(x)™ 2019 Speaker

Todd White

Todd has been a serial entrepreneur and creator since he was age 17. Today, after 15 years in the wine business, his life is dedicated to educating and helping people make better choices about food, nutrition, and how they think about consuming alcohol. He is the founder of Dry Farm Wines; a writer, speaker, and […]