My thoughts on wine

As a nutritional counselor, I get the question all the time on my views on drinking wine. So I decided to get my thoughts in order and take a few minutes to talk about that!

In general, I think the word that sticks closely to my heart as I teach and counsel others is ‘nourish’!  I know that we may have many thoughts when it comes to that word but nourishing can look lots of different ways.  In life, there is a variety of things that can nourish us, and not just our bodies but our souls. I talk a lot about specific foods and herbs that are extremely nourishing to the body specifically; but something like sleep is also crucial for our nourishment and so is exercise, alone time, exploring, creating and spending time enjoying the company of others. For me, this is a big one, and this usually happens around a table full of wonderful people, delicious food, candlelight and sipping on a really good glass of wine. That combination right there nourishes my soul in ways that only food cannot. Wine is definitely a big part of bringing people together.  For me, there is also the aspect of learning about it and appreciating where it comes from and how its made that adds to my enjoyment. 

There are definitely some adverse health ailments that can come from drinking too much alcohol. We are all aware of the ramifications of excessive alcohol intake. The first one would definitely be an addiction and that is no joke for sure! Also, excessive alcohol can feed cancer due to its sugar levels and also not the best for diabetics either. Alcohol becomes poison to your body when taken without self-control.

First, having said all that, when you consume a really good glass of wine accompanied by food and good friends, it can be a nourishing experience. Binge drinking is not nourishing, the overuse takes away the joy in my opinion. In cultures all over the world, wine is a staple at any dinner table. Many of these cultures also have less cancer and heart disease than most in the US. They also know how to take some time out to sit and enjoy these moments without looking at their phones or watch because they have to be somewhere. Many cultures that treat wine as a part of everyday life also are known for their hospitality and some of the best food in the world.  We have lost the art at just sinking in and celebrating others and I do believe that several hours around the table engaging in conversation and sipping on wine can be incredibly healing.

Secondly, I do believe that not all wines are created equal and I want to share with you some information I’ve found. I am not a wine expert I’ve just done some research to make sure I am doing right by my body! I drink primarily wines from France, Italy, Spain, Croatia and Austria. Why? Because their standards for winemaking are a lot more stringent than here in the US. The biggest thing I have learned is that in many of those countries, Monsanto (the manufacturer of the pesticide “Round-Up”) is not allowed.  They have found that almost all wines in California are testing positive for Roundup, even the organic wines due to run off. I encourage you to do some research on your own. It gets me kind of worked up so I’ll leave it at that.

Bearing this in mind I’ve come to the decision to buy the vast majority of my wine low in sulfites, organic or biodynamic. Let me break this down a bit. A sulfite is a preservative that can be added to wines for extended shelf life.  There are also natural sulfites that occur in winemaking but the wines I drink do not have any added sulfites. Sulfites can be the cause of headaches, nasal congestion, itchy throat and hives in some people when enjoying a glass of wine.

Organic means without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizer added to the soil in the vineyard or sprayed directly on the grapes themselves. Pretty important when you think about the fact that wine gets its flavor and properties directly from the soil.

Biodynamic means not only organic but it is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to grape growing and winemaking. Many of you know that I am a farm to table advocate and since about 65%- 80% of all I eat year-round is from local organic and biodynamic farms, you can understand why I would make the choice to stock my cooler with organic and biodynamic wine. I don’t sweat it if I’m in a situation where it is not available to me though. Life is all about balance.

I highly recommend Dry Farm Wines if you are interested in pursuing this path as well. They are a wine club and will ship wine right to your front door. Their wines are also low alcohol and low sugar so they are also great for watching your sugar intake as well as organic and biodynamic!

One last thing while we’re on the subject of wine. I have a special guest post scheduled for this Friday from my friend and assistant Sommer Graham, of @mommyneedssomewine on Instagram. Tim and I spent the evening with her and her husband Anthony a couple weekends ago having a wine pairing dinner. She paired wines with my ricotta crostini recipe, my pimento cheese and charcuterie. We had a lovely afternoon that lasted into the evening of talking, sipping and fellowshipping. It was so nourishing for everyone involved and I was so happy to be able to have that experience. I can’t wait for you to hear from her and I hope you have a better understanding now of my thoughts on wine and how it can be balanced into a healthy, happy and nourishing lifestyle.



2 thoughts on “My thoughts on wine

  1. Demetrius

    Susan, this is Demetrius and I really enjoyed this post. I am a big fan of wine especially Big reds like Boudreaux’s, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. It s interested to hear you talk about the wines here in America but also sad because I love Wine Makers like Stag’s Leap Cellars but this has caused me to look deeper into the wine making process here in America!!

    1. Susan Gleeson

      I love big reds as well and Napa Wines were my favorite, especially a bold Zinfandel. The difficulty with the wines that are coming out of California is that even the organic wines are testing for glyphosate (round up weed killer) and on top of the sulfites the wines can cause so many side effects. Since drinking cleaner wines i find I don’t have any side effects from drinking them and they are so much better for my health. There are some incredible French Bordeaux’s so I would say to start there. I think you might find plenty that you will love!! Also, Italy has some amazing bold reds. I love a Super Tuscan as well!! I think it is always fun trying new wines!! I am loving Austrian wines right now. They are super clean and a bit on the funky side but I really like them.


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