What is Clean-Crafted Wine? Is it really that much better? And side-effect free??

If you're wondering what the "buzz" is about with the clean-crafted wine movement, you've come to the right place. The wine is delivered to your door and has a variety of benefits, so there's plenty to gain from learning more about it. Feel free to read top to bottom or skip around to your specific questions. I'll get straight to the Frequently Asked Questions:

"What is clean-crafted wine?"
"Clean-crafted" wine is a trademarked term created by the Scout & Cellar winery. For a wine to be considered Clean-Crafted, it goes through two rounds of independent lab testing to guarantee that it's free of synthetic pesticides and chemical additives, and has fewer than 100ppm of total sulfites. They also evaluate and review farming and production practices to confirm that they are, in fact, Clean-Crafted. Founded by an attorney (Sarah Shadonix) turned Advanced Sommelier, Scout & Cellar was born out of deep dive on the ingredients in the majority of wines made and/or sold in the United States. While completing her Sommelier training, Sarah continued to get terrible wine headaches without any explanation. Rather than give up the trade and chalk the headaches up to a "wine allergy", Sarah went searching for answers. After speaking to wine makers, doctors, naturopaths, and pouring over the research, she realized it was the additives and pesticides in the wine process that were the culprits of her headaches. She was shocked to learn that there are 250 additives and 300 pesticides that are allowed in the wine-making process, many of which are not needed if the wines are properly crafted. Sarah worked hard to create relationships with vineyards around the world that would meet stricter standards for their wine, and the clean-crafted movement was born. This video shows every step of extra detail that goes into the clean-crafted winemaking process:

Want to get to the point? This image highlights the many different characteristics of clean-crafted wine, and how it is unique:

Yes, you read that right, there can be up to 16 grams of added sugar in wine! Clean-crafted wines, however, do not add any juices or sugars to the wine, and because the wines are usually fermented to full dryness, most of the residual sugars (from the grapes themselves) are taken out as well. That means most of the clean-crafted wines are paleo, keto, and low carb friendly. AND the calorie count per glass is about 100 as compared to up to 300 calories in other wines. Tricky, though, you won't know if the wine you're currently drinking has added sugars, chemicals, pesticides, or what the calorie count is because the labeling requirements for alcohol are almost nil (wine is primarily overseen by the Department of Treasury, not the FDA!). Hence the creation of the Scout & Cellar clean-crafted seal. If Scout & Cellar sells it, they guarantee the wine fits all of the listed qualities in the image above, and does extensive testing on every batch of wine before they accept it from their vineyard/winery partners. In many ways, the clean-crafted movement is to wine what the organic movement was to food in the US in the 1990s.

"Does clean-crafted wine taste the same? What if I don't like it?"
The wine tastes like real wine, because it IS real wine! It's wine the way it was made before wine makers started messing with the color, texture and taste through additives and before herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals were added to farming practices. It's also not watered down or full of artificial sweeteners like some "diet wines" on the market. It's just grapes and the lowest amount of sulfites needed to keep the wine from turning to vinegar. The only thing you won't taste is some of the heaviness/aftertaste that additives and pesticides can add. But if for some reason you don't like it, Scout & Cellar still offers a Satisfaction Guarantee and will credit you back to try something else (even after the whole bottle is gone). Unlike buying a random wine at the liquor store, there's nothing to lose.

"Is the wine more expensive?"
Is it more expensive than the $12 bottle from the gas station down the street? Yes. It should be. Just like a hamburger from McDonalds will cost less than a grass-fed burger from a natural burger joint, so too will mass-produced wine cost less than clean-crafted wine. But not by much! Scout & Cellar has wines that are $19 a bottle, and their wine club also offers discounts to the total cost of wines otherwise purchased a la carte.

Back to the cost, it's important to know why there is an additional cost to the production of this wine. Where mass-produced wine includes grapes (and subsequently the leaves, bugs and pieces of stems) harvested by a large machine, clean-crafted grapes are hand harvested and hand vinified. In mass-produced wine, rotten grapes are harvested by the machine and mixed in with the other grapes, whereas rotten grapes are noticed and excluded from hand-harvested grapes. Mass-produced wine often adds chemicals/sugars to offset the rotten and/or underripe grapes and clean-crafted wines don't have to. Step by step throughout the production process, the clean-crafted wines have additional steps, attention to detail, and testing, resulting in a higher-quality wine with a higher production cost. A worthwhile cost.

If you drink/gift at least one bottle of wine a month, Scout & Cellar has a wine club option for you and subsequently a better price point per bottle. You can read about the club options here. The most you can get is 12 bottles sent every month and the least is 4 bottles sent every quarter ($89 shipping included). All reds, all whites or mixed.

"How does Scout & Cellar know if a wine meets their standards?"
They test it, every batch... twice! Scout & Cellar tests to validate the wines meet the clean-crafted list of ETS Laboratories they test for things like sugar, alcohol, acidity PH and more. S&C then sends the wines to UC Davis, the premiere vinicultural school in the US, and test for over 300 pesticides, including glyphosate. It is a residue test and it is expensive, but it is critical!
requirements and are free of any modifications, additions, or synthetic pesticides.

"Isn't organic and clean crafted the same?"
Fair question, but no. Clean-crafted wine has grapes that come from organic or biodynamic farms, it goes beyond organic standards because it is *just* grapes and naturally occurring sulfites. Scout & Cellar only allows added sulfites if needed to keep the wine from turning into vinegar, and every bottle is certified less than 100 ppm (most are less than 50ppm), versus up to the 350 ppm allowed in regular wines. Organic wine can still add organic additives, such as sugar, processing aids, have higher sulfites etc. and not tell you about it. They can also have residuals from non-organic herbicides and pesticides through water runoff or overspray from nearby farms, but they wouldn't know it unless they test their own wines. Of all of the organic and biodynamic wines that are submitted to Scout & Cellar to be considered for distribution, only 15% pass the stringent standards once lab tests are involved.

"Are the clean-crafted wines all from one vineyard?"
No, the wines are from vineyards all over the world. Sarah herself goes to the vineyards and wineries, meets with them and taste tests wine. She even crafts many of the wine blends with them, using her sommelier knowledge to ensure an excellent sipping experience for each wine as well as a variety of flavor profiles across all the wines Scout & Cellar carries. Her goal was to not only create clean-crafted wine, but create a wine experience for customers that was inclusive of variety, quality, and wine education.

"Do any other companies make clean-crafted wines? What about the clean wines at Thrive Market and Dry Farm Wines?"
This is really important... if the company doesn't throughly lab test their wines to confirm that they are actually free from all of the chemicals, pesticides, etc than can be found in the farming and wine-production process, they can't claim or prove that their wines are truly clean. No other wine company has wines with the guaranteed standards of Scout & Cellar, and especially not with the extensive testing they invest in (Thrive Market does not test their wines, and Dry Farm Wines only test for three things and are lower alcohol). Also, Scout & Cellar is the only clean-minded wine company to allow a la carte purchasing of wines, canned wines, wine spritzers, and easy customization of club memberships. Even more, the are the only company run by a sommelier (not to mention an Advanced WSET) who is committed to making sure every wine has a top-notch sipping experience. Lastly, Scout & Cellar takes extra steps to ensure the delivery of our wines is done with professional care (no hot wines showing up at your doorstep here). There are a lot of important differences packed into this paragraph, so read through it again.

Want to get in on the clean-crafted wine movement? Here are three ways you can...

Become a customer - You can purchase wines a la carte HERE. If you do purchase a la carte, know that orders over $99 ship free during most months (summer Safe Ship is different), and you'll get a bulk discount of 5% off for +6 bottles or 10% off for +12 bottle orders!

Become a club member / subscriber - The membership is free and you can adjust or cancel it at any time with no penalty. You can get 4, 6 or 12 bottles every month, two months, or quarter. The variety of wines in each shipment is selected by the sommelier owner, and each shipment comes with descriptions and food pairing recommendations for your wine education. Many of the club wines are exclusive and not available a la carte unless you are a club member. Best of all, the prices are fixed and affordable! Click here to join the club.

Become a Scout & Cellar Wine Consultant - For $249, you can start your own wine business with Scout & Cellar. You'll receive four bottles of wine, the Business Basics Kit, and one year of your wine website to accept wine orders. Consultants get commissions and heavily discounted wine for sharing the wines with their networks and local businesses. There is zero inventory to manage or accumulate because of it being alcohol (which would otherwise require a license), no required monthly sales to stay active, and you can grow your business as quickly or as slowly as you like. Consultants also receive ongoing wine education and support the larger movement of encouraging cleaner wine practices in the industry.
See FAQs for the wine business here. If you just want to get started, you can sign up here. And if you would like to request additional details about the compensation plan, you can email scoutandcellaraspen AT gmail.com for all of the details not listed on the website.  

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