July 28, 2015

Is Wine Paleo?

The short answer?  No, but... 

Is Wine Paleo?  Pour me a glass!

It depends. While alcohol is not allowed if you are following a plan like the 21 Day Sugar Detox™, alcohol isn’t strictly forbidden if you're aiming for overall health, not a rigid diet plan.

Look, the whole reason most of us "do" Paleo is to live a healthier life.  Part of a healthy life is keeping stress low, and for most people, an occasional glass of wine does an excellent job of that.

For some people, like Nik, wine = instant headache.  For others, like Lee, wine and especially low sugar, natural, biodynamic wine is a source of joy.

If you are going to indulge in an alcoholic drink, most Paleo peeps will tell you that your best bet is to stick with wine. Many of the Pioneers of Paleo agree that wine is the closest thing to paleo-friendly alcohol. After all, it’s made from grapes, which our ancestors definitely consumed. Most likely they ate fermented fruits (aka what wine is) as well.

Dry Farm Wines, natural and low sugar low sulfite wines

Why is Wine Paleo?

After grapes are harvested, they are taken into a winery, they are crushed, and yeast is introduced to start fermentation. Then, we wait. Then we drink. (Chin chin!)

Some may argue that cavemen didn’t make wine, but if they ever ate old grapes or fruits that had begun to ferment, one can argue that they did possibly consume some alcohol, so let’s just go with it, ok?

From this you can say wine is KINDA SORTA Paleo. If you are a Paleo perfectionist you may choose to leave now. ;)  If you are more of a "healthy Paleo" type who wants to know what else to have with wine, check out our Cacao Now.

Is Wine Paleo?  Geez those grapes look good!

One great thing about wine is the number of organic wineries that offer wines. Being organic, you can feel safe in knowing that the use of chemical sprays is going to be limited.

Best of all, organic wines should have limited additives, and limited (or no) sulfites. Many regions have great choices for local wine, which should please even those pesky Paleo Police.

Be sure to not overindulge just because wine is considered a safe Paleo drink. Alcohol still isn't considered "healthy."

If wine is Paleo, what about liquor or beer?

When it comes to liquor, there are a few liquors that are gluten free, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a liquor that truly follows the principles of Paleo. You are more likely to find artificial coloring or hidden gluten ingredient in liquors than in wine.

Sure, there are liquors out there that may fit the Paleo bill (Ciroc vodka – made from grapes, not grains, and 100% agave tequila are decent choices), but another concern when it comes to liquor is the habit of mixing liquor with something else if that something else isn’t water or ice.

Most common mixers are NOT paleo, so when given the choice between wine and liquor, I’d choose wine every time to be safe.

Beer is definitely NOT paleo. Unfortunately for all those beer lovers out there, beer contains gluten, which is one of the biggest no-nos in Paleo. While not everyone who follows Paleo is sensitive to gluten, we all know what gluten does to our bodies. It’s bad, guys.  

Hard Cider is one option, other than wine, that may be acceptable while following the Paleo diet. Be sure to avoid anything with unnatural coloring, as there may be additives that contain gluten, or other harmful ingredients.

The downside to alcohol, even Paleo alcohol:

While we can agree that there are some alcoholic beverages that fit well into the Paleo diet, it's important to remember the cons of alcohol, even if it's just to remind ourselves to keep things in moderation:

  • Alcohol is a toxin and a drug - an addictive one at that. Consume in moderation, just like you consume natural sweeteners in moderation.
  • While we don’t like to claim that Paleo will help you lose weight, drinking alcohol won’t help you lose weight either– alcohol contains empty calories and will spike your sugar levels – it stimulates insulin production (just like grains and sugars) leading to increased fat storage.
  • Alcohol dehydrates if you drink too much (hangovers are SO not Paleo).

If you’re going to have a drink…

My recommendation is to choose an organic red wine over white wine; though sometimes a nice glass of Pinot Grigio does hit the spot.

I suggest red because it is filled with antioxidants that lower the risk of heart disease – when consumed in moderation.

I suggest pairing your wine with a Cacao Now, as Lee has done pretty much every night for the 10+ years we've owned Paleo Treats.

It’s important to remember that just like with Paleo Treats®, a glass of wine is exactly that – a treat! Eating many treats in one sitting isn’t going to help your overall health (or your waistline).

Enjoy wine in whatever way it fits into your healthy life.  Cheers!

Liked this article?

Nik Hawks


Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!

Too much reading...
How about dessert?

Too Much Reading...How About Dessert?


Michelle Ober
Michelle Ober

August 11, 2015

Hey Desiree, my original thought was that wine is higher in sugar than the other liquids on the paleo diet, but you are definitely correct! An apple (or banana) is higher in sugar than a glass of dry wine. I’ll amend the article. :) Thanks for keeping us in line!


July 31, 2015

How is dry wine considered to be “high in sugar”? It has 1 to 19 grams of sugar per LITER. That’s less than the amount of sugar in an apple.

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