Are you a lover of wine but also looking to stay on your diet?
Are you a high performer who needs to get up early and feel great?
Normal wine–even delicious, expensive wine–can make you feel sluggish the next day.
It can also pretty easily break your low-carb diet because of all the added sugar.
So I’ve been aggressively searching for wine delivery services that provide healthier wine options, and one possibility I’ve located is FitVine.
- What Is “Clean” Wine?
- FitVine Wine Review
- What Makes FitVine Different
- Cost of FitVine Wines
- Pros and Cons of FitVine Wines
- An Affordable & More Interesting Alternative
- One BIG Difference
- Taste and Effects
- Thrive Market Wine Prices
- Bonus: All Your Other Groceries
First, let’s talk about clean wine…
What Is “Clean” Wine?
Like most products that have been mass produced and tweaked to appease the palate of the masses, wine has changed a lot over the years.
One of those changes was that they started adding sugar to it (like they’ve done to most food and drink). So wine that originally would have fit a low-carb diet no longer does.
There are also contaminants in modern wines like pesticides, herbicides, and sulfites–all of which can make you feel sluggish at a bare minimum.
As I mentioned above, I’ve been testing out various clean wines for myself. I have been shocked at what a difference drinking clean wine makes.
Clean wines, almost without exception, seem to have no meaningful effect on my body (when consumed in moderation of course).
I mean, there’s still a little buzz to be had, as you’d expect of any wine. But there’s no hangover, no sluggishness the next day.
I wake the next day feeling like I drank nothing but grape juice, and that’s an incredible difference.
FitVine Wine Review
FitVine is a popular producer of clean wines. It is an online retailer, which is why I included it in my reviews, but it’s fundamentally different from the other services I’ve reviewed.
FitVine isn’t a wine delivery service or wine club, in the sense that all the other options are. Rather, it’s just one brand of wine that is sold online and in brick-and-mortar wine stores.
The FitVine brand of wines is specifically designed for people who are concerned about their health. It’s intended to be used on the Keto diet and other low or no carb diets. It’s also pretty obviously targeted at athletic folks.
If your local wine store happens to carry the FitVine brand, then you can buy it locally, otherwise you can buy it on their website like any e-commerce brand.
What Makes FitVine Different
Most clean wine companies very tightly manage the production process so that fewer undesirable compounds get into the wine in the first place.
FitVine seems to do a bit of this, but they also have a proprietary process for filtering and removing contaminants from the wine.
That’s likely why their prices are so affordable, it’s probably easier to filter out contaminants than to never introduce them in the first place. FitVine filters without losing any of the alcohol content, which could be a pro or a con depending on what you’re looking for.
This is the major drawback of FitVine versus the other clean wine clubs. As of the time of this writing, FitVine has precisely thirteen options.
They are: cabernet sauvignon, holiday red, pinot noir, red blend, red zinfandel, rose, syrah, albarino, chardonnay, chenin blanc, pinot grigio, prosecco and sauvignon blanc.
The selection, or lack thereof, basically means that this brand is targeted at people who care a LOT about health and have only a passing interest in wine.
All of the other clean wine services have more interesting and varied options for those who are actually interested in wine.
FitVine has pretty basic shipping and packaging, it’s basically the same box they’d send to a wine retailer with some extra inserts.
It arrived safely and on time, but they don’t go to the lengths that say Scout & Cellar does to ensure that the wine isn’t damaged by heat in shipping.
I couldn’t easily find the shipping costs on their website, but I figured them out by fiddling with the checkout cart.
A single bottle costs $16 to ship (to NH anyway) and it rises with volume up to 11 bottles which cost $54 to ship. Once you buy a case of 12, the shipping is free.
You can see the pricing on their site, but it ranges from $15.99 to $19.99 per bottle. Keeping all options under $20 per bottle definitely qualifies this brand as affordable.
That’s true of wine in general, but for clean wine that range is particularly affordable. You can get a few bottles of clean wine that are even less expensive at Thrive Market, but FitVine is a very affordable option and that’s one of its major strengths.
Pros and Cons of FitVine Wines
FitVine is one of the more popular clean wine options (based on how many people search Google for it), and like any other service, it has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
- “Clean” wines in general are great and deliver on their promise. I definitely felt a difference after drinking these wines vs. my regular wines (mostly from the Naked Wines service or purchased from the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list).
- You can buy them in physical stores if they are carried in your area, which reduces the wait time to get them.
- All their wine options are affordable.
- They leave the alcohol percentage of the original wine intact.
- They leave the alcohol percentage of the original wine intact. Some people look for lower alcohol wines.
- There’s a basic nutritional breakdown on each wine, which is mostly to detail the lack of sugar, but doesn’t seem to be a lot of other lab testing.
- No ability to sort by features (like organic vs. biodynamic).
- The flavor of the wines is just ok. They all taste about like what they are supposed to given their grape of origin, but these are not wines for enthusiasts.
The FitVine proprietary process for filtering and cleaning up the wines results in fewer tannins, histamines, additives, sulfites and less sugar, all while keeping the alcohol percentage intact.
This is in contrast to a service like Dry Farm Wines, which specifically touts the lower alcohol content of their wine.
Because you’re trusting FitVine to clean the wine post-production, there isn’t a lot of resolution when it comes to making more specific choices. You’d probably only notice this when you compare it to a service like Thrive Market wines (see below), which gives you a lot of filters for making your own choices.
Again, all of these choices that FitVine has made about the product seem to be targeted to a demographic of consumers that want affordable, healthier wine that still produces a buzz and is of acceptable but not exceptional quality.
An Affordable & More Interesting Alternative
Another service I tried recently was the wine section at Thrive Market. Thrive Market is an online grocery store that caters to any dietary restrictions you might have.
Their wine service is similar to FitVine in the sense that you choose wines a la carte, but different in that the selection is broader and more interesting.
All of the Thrive Market wines are organic and chosen by a master sommelier for their taste, quality and sustainability. You can also go farther in filtering the wines to your taste and diet.
Thrive Market allows you to filter the wines by:
- No Added Sweeteners
- No sulfites
- Certifications (Biodynamic, Organic, B Corporation)
- Farm type (Family owned, Sustainable)
- Vegan (I’m perplexed by that option)
- Average customer rating
One BIG Difference
The big difference between FitVine and Thrive Market is the filtering for qualities that matter to you.
Well, that and the fact that Thrive Market carries many wines from various manufacturers that are clean by design rather than filtered after the fact.
You just apply whatever filters are important and you’re presented with a selection of wines. Then you can choose whatever sounds good and if you like it, you can order more of that exact wine.
Taste and Effects
On average, I enjoyed the flavor of the Thrive Market wines more than the wines I got from FitVine.
I chose wines from both that I thought I would like, but if you don’t like the Syrah from FitVine then you have to move on to another grape. With Thrive Market, you can try another brand of wine that has the same basic “clean” characteristics.
The effects were the same in terms of how I felt. Perhaps it’s the lower sugar content or the lack of pesticides, but whatever I normally react to wasn’t there.
Thrive Market Wine Prices
Both Thrive Market and FitVine are affordably priced. But to compare total pricing accurately, you have to consider shipping costs.
At Thrive Market it’s free if you order $79 or more in wine alone (food ships separately). Thrive Market also has an annual membership fee, but amortized across all your wine (and food) purchases, it would only add a nominal amount.
FitVine provides free shipping if you order 12 or more bottles at once. Even at the cheapest price of $15.99 that totals $191.88, so it’s not going to be as affordable as Thrive Market on the shipping front.
All that is moot if you find it at your local wine store of course.
Bonus: All Your Other Groceries
Wines are only one aspect of Thrive Market. If you’re a health-conscious person who sticks to a diet that is strict in some way—which you likely do if you’re interested in FitVine—then you’ll find a LOT to like about Thrive Market.
You can filter ALL their products by factors that are important to you. Their whole selection is similar to a normal grocery store, with packaged food, frozen food, meat, supplements, health and beauty products. They have everything except fresh produce basically.
So you’re getting a ton of value beyond just the clean wines. For this reason, I think Thrive Market is a far better value.