Dry Farm Wines: An Interview with Anthony Benedettini

Dry Farms Wines is a wine company like none other. Boasting that it is hangover free, it’s purposeful curation of sugar free wine with an alcohol content of no more that 12.5% has made them the toast of the health community. Considering themselves a health company first, their wine has charmed the likes of Mark Sisson, JJ Virgin, Dave Asprey and many more. Not only do they make their own wine in Napa Valley, but they curate relationships with vineyards all over the world, keeping mom and pop wineries abroad thriving while bringing a variety of wines to your doorstep. I was delighted to speak with Anthony Benedettini about this special company, who is himself as ebullient and effervescent as a bottle of sparkling wine!

What do you think is timeless about the atmosphere of sharing a glass of wine around the table with friends and family? Why is it still so special after thousands of years?

I think it’s so special because it brings people together. It’s really an opportunity to not just consume wine, it’s an opportunity for others to come together and share stories, and it’s always been a centerpiece of that. Food is always there, but I think wine is the ultimate facilitator of that and it’s an opportunity to explore and to really get to try new things. With our wines, we’re trying to have people have wines from all over the world, so you’re getting a new experience in every glass and bond with others over that experience.

I love that you’re celebrating life and also celebrating health in the same breaththat’s not a message that’s overly out there.

We’re a health company before anything, so that is our main mission. The company started because Todd White [the founder] wanted to find a wine that fit with his lifestyle that was sugar free, that he could enjoy—he loves wine and he didn’t want to give it up.

Would you mind describing how your wine is different, as if to someone who doesn’t really know about wine?

With our wines, they’re natural wines, so that means low intervention—which basically means the grower is letting Mother Nature do the work. All of our wines are dry farmed, which means there’s no irrigation, so the roots are going to have to dive deeper into the soil to find their nutrition, as opposed to being babied and getting everything at the surface. So, it really makes a vine and a vineyard that is strong and resilient which translates to the grapes that are grown and the flavor profiles that are translated through the wine. With that; the wine is a living product; so it is chock full of healthy bacteria that comes from the soil based on the region, and we prioritize biodynamic and organic practices—biodynamic especially—which is just a way of farming that gives back to the soil. So when you create that healthy foundation—it’s rich, it’s living—the ecosystem around it is supportive and synergistic and adding more into that soil, then the grapes are just—you’re basically consuming a probiotic—they’re alive. They have healthy bacteria and that’s what’s allowing the alcohol to be processed better by your body and promoting the longevity benefits of wine. And so with this, the farmers are going to allow the grapes to fully ferment—so all that native yeast in the bacteria are going to eat up all the sugar in the grapes. That’s the number one question we get. ‘How can wine be sugar free?’ It’s because you’re allowing it to fully ferment, so it is leaving a product at the end of the day with absolutely no sugar. And since we’re not adding anything to it, then the sulfite levels are going to be very low, which are causing the negative reactions in most commercially made wines. It’s a very awesome process. I mean, it’s nothing new—they’ve been doing this for hundreds of years overseas—it’s just we as Americans tend to take a process and put our own spin on I,t and it doesn’t turn out the best always.

So it’s getting back to basics and what makes them so different is you can find an organic wine at the store, but you don’t really know what’s in it, so we deliver full transparency—with everything. We lab test every batch to make sure they meet our health criteria, which is: sugar free, low in sulfites, and then low in alcohol. And ‘low in alcohol’ just means nothing above 12.5%, so we still recognize that alcohol is a toxin to the body, but when done in moderation it can be processed by the liver very efficiently with no negative health consequences. In comparison, the alcohol in a lot of American wines are usually about 14–15%, and none of ours go above 12.5. It’s not a massive increase but still you’ll notice the difference when drinking that amount.

You’re in Napa, but you also cultivate relationships with other wineries worldwide that share your philosophy. Can you tell me how you find and engage these other kindred wine spirits of yours?

Of course! So, we go across seas and cultivate these relationships ourselves. For instance, a lot of us recently went to Austria and Italy, creating new relationships with our growers. We are going over there and actually vetting their farming practices and eating dinner with their families—and having this amazing relationship. We’re going out there and finding people that do it best based on recommendations from them and from people that we’ve gotten recommended to—trying their wines here—and then just actually going out overseas and getting involved in their process and their experience.

Wow. That’s so special. What I’ve thought too is— because of all the bigger companies—it must be such a blessing to these small, family owned wineries for you guys to engage with them.

Oh my gosh, yes! It’s amazing because a lot of these farmers are just—they’re so small. So, it’s a big support thing for us. We keep a lot of them in business and we want to see them succeed because they have such an authentic mission. But with any business, it’s so hard the marketing side of things, and they’re just a small family farm trying to get the word out about their wines. They are just so happy and thrilled that we’re bringing their wine to our audience. We don’t take their wine and slap our logo across the front of the bottle. We’re protecting their artistic style and the expression of the grower. So, it’s really more so spreading the message on a daily basis that is creating the most impact for them and the communities that are surrounded by them.

Your wine’s claim to fame is that it is hangover free. Could you elaborate on that?

Sure. Hangovers are caused typically by a couple of things. One—the sulfites. Sulfites are a natural allergen to the body, they’re also a main preserving agent. They’re a natural part of the fermentation process, so it’s nearly impossible to have a sulfite free wine. There are some out there, but unless you’re going for that for marketing purposes, it’s a natural part of the process. So, anything above ten parts per million is going to say ‘contains sulfites’ on the label. With that, none of ours can go above seventy five parts per million, with most of our wines clocking in around ten to thirty—in that range. But with traditional wines, you’re typically getting a hundred and fifty to three hundred. So, that’s a big jump when you have ten to twenty the amount of sulfites, and that’s what’s really causing the reaction of the sinus pressure, the flushing and the headaches. You shouldn’t get hungover after one glass, which is the experience that a lot of people tell us they have had in the past. They say, I drink a glass of wine—whether it’s a Napa Cab or this organic wine from Trader Joe’s or whatever it is—and they’re getting a hangover instantly or the next day is pretty rough; and that really shouldn’t happen with wine that’s naturally made. Also, a lot of these wines—since the alcohol industry makes it so they don’t have to put anything on the label—you just don’t know if there’s a high amount of additional sugar—so you’re getting the sugar in there as well. It’s not as big a factor in my opinion as the sulfites, but it is still something to be wary of. And then again—the alcohol—keeping the alcohol in moderate dose, making sure you’re dosing appropriately. It makes a difference now after drinking low alcohol wines. Most of the wines you find at bars are 14-15%, and I’m used to drinking 12.5 and it instantly feels like this massive ethanol bomb. It’s a noticeable difference, and that will catch up with you if alcohol does impact you. And when you have all of these other factors, you’re just prepping your body for a terrible night’s sleep, and you’re hung over the next morning.

Okay, so it seems to me that you have basically charmed everybody in the health community. They fully support and endorse you. They are people who wish to eat and feel well, but also want to celebrate and enjoy their lives. Could you talk about how your relationship with the health community has grown over the years?

With the health community, we have reached out to people who have the most impact in helping others. We know we can’t help every single person on the planet by ourselves, so we work with those who love and promote us. Just having the connections to doctors, practitioners, big health influencers, big health brands—they’re the ones that can get our message out to the most people—and that’s one way we’ve been so blessed in getting our message out. We want to continue to partner with those in the health community and support them at all costs—that’s why you’ll find us at basically every health event or conference. Right now, we support anything in the ketogenic community because our wines are typically keto-friendly. Todd [White] founded this company because the ketogenic diet changed his life, so we just want to make sure that we’re continually supporting the community that helps us grow so much at the end of the day.

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about deciding whether or not to try Dry Farm Wines?

I would say that there is absolutely no risk in trying us out, because we’ve always got your back and you know you can trust us to curate a selection of six different wines from around the world. We lab test everything, we make sure the health aspect is taken care of by providing full transparency for you, so you know what you’re getting in every bottle. Our promise to you is that you’re always going to be happy doing business with us. So, if there’s ever a bottle in your shipment that you don’t like, you just let us know and we will send you a replacement of something you love on the house. You’ll never have to deal with returns or sending anything back to us; we want to make it as easy as possible on everyone we work with and give them the best experience. So if there’s ever a wine that you love, we want to tailor it to you—we want to give you the wines that you actually enjoy drinking. Like, for instance, I didn’t know that Austrian wine was really different before I came here, and now it’s my absolute favorite. I would go home and crack open a bottle of Austrian wine before any other wine at the end of the day. I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t explore and have the opportunity to try all these wines from around the world. It’s getting that world travel in every box; you get to explore wines that you’ve never heard of. Some of our most requested is ‘Can I get a Cabernet?’ or ‘Can I get a Chardonnay?’ but those are really just the only grapes that people know in the States. We want to have people really get a feel for some of the native grapes of other countries that are unknown.

What are you as a company most proud of?

We are most proud of our attention to achieving optimal health, so—protecting our peace. We do believe that life is a balance of peace and business, and we want to make sure that we protect our mornings and express gratitude everyday, that we love unconditionally, and that we spend time with family and friends—because that’s really what makes life so valuable and so important. For us, I think that’s the most important part, and really making sure that that’s never sacrificed. And then, our ability to spread a better way to drink. Wine doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure, it can be a guiltless indulgence. And I really love that. There should be no stress around food or wine, and we want to reframe it as a healthy product because that’s what it is. It’s keeping stress down, it’s giving you longevity benefits and it’s absolutely increasing the quality of life. We want people to know that there is a better way out there—a cleaner option that will still keep you healthy.

What would you like to see happen to the wine industry in the future?

I would love to see more biodynamic farming in the States. The wine industry varies from country to country, so I can’t really speak much about the micro economy of somewhere foreign, but I can tell you in the States that the wine industry is controlled by a lot of conglomerates, and it’s very corporate—and a very, very small percentage of California grapes are farmed organically. The vineyards are all so close together, that if you’re farming organically and you’re putting the work into these practices that are so amazing, that it your neighbor is spraying his crops and using irrigation, then that runs the very high risk of contamination. That’s one of the reasons we source internationally as well, because a lot of the grapes here are contaminated with pesticides because of the close proximity— we’re growing kind of right on top of each other, especially in Napa. And that’s just not the way it should be. It’s unfair. So I would really want to see there be more regulations on the use of pesticides. I would love to see changes in the industry that would protect the people that are doing it best. Or if there were certain sanctuary areas where farmers would be able to have more say on who was surrounding them—basically making cooperatives of natural wine farmers. And really—more transparency. I’d love more transparency in the industry of lab testing—seeing the sugar content of the wine, seeing if there’s any pesticides, seeing if there’s anything else we can let the consumer know about. Letting them know if they’re putting something in their body that could be toxic—and in most cases here, it is.

Is there something particularly that’s on your heart that you’d like to talk about? Anything you’d like to talk about I didn’t mention?

Yeah, I would say, be grateful for everyday and all the opportunities that we get to have everyday. Any reframing of a situation can really transform how you approach something. So, instead of saying, ‘I have to do this,’ say ‘I get to do this.’ Or, instead of identifying problems, just go for solutions. Don’t take life too seriously…and smile more. That would be my advice.

It’s funny to think that people who would never crack open a health book could be inspired to learn more about wellness through the unlikely gateway of a wine company. “Even if you don’t consume the wines at the end of the day,” Anthony says, “We want you to walk away with more education on how things are done, so the next time you come across something at the store, you are more informed to make a better decision. We just want people to make better steps towards their health.”

During our interview, Anthony stated, “My motto is, ‘Everyday is Saturday.’ And that’s how everyday should be treated!” This seems to encapsulate the overall feeling of Dry Farm Wines itself. Everyday should be a celebration, and they give people the joy and relaxation of a Saturday afternoon in every glass.

The days where being healthy means having to live like a Spartan have met their match. After personally trying Dry Farm Wines, I found I felt great the next day, after happily cheersing and enjoying myself the night before.

It was a hardship doing the research on this one, but somebody had to do it. 😉

You can order your own Dry Farm Wines at www.dryfarmwines.com

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Anthony Benedettini the Great is back far left, with the debonair smile and mustache.