Friday, July 31, 2020

Feeling Snarky About Wine Fads

For better or for worse, a side benefit of being on social media is that I'm kept apprised of the latest wine fads. It appears that there is a myriad of wines that are created in marketing war rooms, rather than wineries, targeting the next generation of twenty-somethings. I am talking about clean wines, paleo wines, sugar-free wines, additive-free wines, wines made by chicks, wines made for chicks, and so forth.

Wine, wine, and more wine!
Now I am not in wine sales or marketing so I can't speak to the market research that goes into these fads. But I do make my own wine and know enough to be dangerous. So here is my snarky review. Take it with a grain of salt and a glass of wine. 

Good Clean Wine

I learned about Good Clean Wine in possibly the worst way. A poorly written advertorial was circulating in Twittersphere, subject to mockery and disdain. The piece contained quite a bit of misinformation and was later updated. Out of curiosity, I decided to google Good Clean Wine. Guess what? More advertorials!

What do they do? I would call them an American negociant of Italian wines. They source wines, slap their own labels on the bottles, and sell them. Good Clean Wine claims to source from wineries that practice sustainable farming and minimal-intervention winemaking.

Good Clean Rose
What's my beef? Their advertorials tend towards fear mongering. One of them suggests that "Good Clean Wine doesn't contain any chemical additives, dyes, fake flavors, added sugars, added sulfites or animal byproducts... ... so that your liver can fully process the alcohol without getting overloaded with toxic gunk." Their website claims that their wine pairs with a healthy lifestyle. No hangover, no headache.

No, really?

The truth is that hangovers and headaches are caused by alcohol and dehydration more so than "toxic gunk." To me, the sin of excessive additives is in the masking of off-flavors in cheap mass-produced wines. A well-made wine also requires a minimal amount of additives to coax its flavors and to protect it from spoilage. So vilifying additives just doesn't do it for me.

Would I drink it? Yes, if it is handed to me, but I won't seek it out. I subscribe to sustainable farming and minimal-intervention winemaking myself. However, I don't care for their marketing. 


Bev is the latest wine ad that has been showing up on my Facebook feed. It has a fun vibe that reminds me of the wine coolers of the 1980s, except that Bev is allegedly wine (with bubbles) and cooler. 

What do they do? They seem like the younger California version of Good Clean Wine. Instead of slapping their labels on wine bottles, they do it on cans. And instead of health, they focus on fun, female empowerment, and, for some reason, cats. 

Bev - about wine in a can and cats
What's my beef? As a female hobby winemaker with a management-level day job, Bev's brand of female empowerment does not resonate with me in either spheres of my life. It seems more Elle Woods than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The website seems to have more information about cats than wine. We do know that the grapes are sourced from Central California and the anonymous winemaker is female.

Bev has the typical no-additives, no-sugar marketing spiel. Surprisingly, it does not offend me so much as they don't pretend to be serious wine in the first place. Their wines are non-vintage, but no one is fooled into thinking that the bubbles are made via methode champenoise.

Would I drink it? Yes, and I would actually take them on a hiking trip or kayaking. A can is perfect and much lighter than a bottle. And if I somehow empower another female or a cat in so doing, all the better.

Dry Farm Wines

For the most part, I can get along with Dry Farm Wines. Of the three, Dry Farm Wines is the most serious about wine. They have extensive information about farming practice and winemaking philosophy, with which I agree.

What do they do? They are essentially a wine club, targeting paleo/keto wine drinkers who care about sustainable farming and minimal-intervention winemaking. The wines are curated and lab-tested based on a list of criteria and shipped to wine club members. Instead of slapping their labels on the bottles, they showcase the different wineries and winemakers in their portfolio.

Dry Farm Wines' ethos

What's my beef?
 I am not sure why lab-tested is used as a selling point. Most, if not all, commercial wines are lab-tested. Even I get my homemade wine lab-tested. The thresholds set for the three metrics of their lab test are lower than those for the average dry wine, although not shockingly so. One might argue that both sugar and alcohol thresholds are mere matters of taste. The sulfites threshold is also reasonable. 

But I may nitpick on the the statement that "(s)ulfites represent an unnatural way to make wine; we prefer to let nature take its course." At 75 ppm of sulfites, about half of those are not from the grapes. Nature probably will stop at 40 ppm. Again, that's nitpicking.

Would I drink it? Yes, if it is handed to me, but I won't seek it out. The marketing of natural wines is a bit of a turnoff for me. Besides, I already have several wine club memberships with wineries directly. I don't need a middleman.

Well, there you go! Thanks for reading my snarky review! What are your thoughts?