I'll never forget my first Grignolino...
In Italian, the name loosely means "many seeds."
For me, it meant "strange red wine" as I clinked glasses while sitting on hay bales in the barn of Napa Valley's famed winemaker Joseph Heitz.
It was 1976, and my first trip to California wine country. My friend and I stayed with my aunt and uncle who lived on the valley floor, just west of the iconic Napa Highway 29.
Heitz's place was across the road. Drinking with him was the start of my nearly five decade long passion for wine.
I've learned a lot since that first toast with Joe Heitz and have conducted many tastings with friends and family (next time you see me in person, ask me about my Goldman Sachs wine tastings).
The wine industry will tell you that the more money you pay for a bottle, the better the wine will be. People follow professional reviews and tasting notes, and pay buckets of money for overpriced wine. But experiments and science show us that even sommeliers and wine specialists at high-end restaurants can't always tell the difference between some wines.
The bottom line is that wine preference is about you and your likes. Ignore what others want you to experience. You don't need to shell out thousands of dollars for excellent wine.
And if you can help a good cause while getting a great deal on incredible wine... That's a no-brainer.
One of the best winemakers I know – and a good friend of mine – is Brenda Lynch. Brenda is a multidecade award winner and owner of Mutt Lynch Winery. Brenda sells wines with creative names (Merlot Over and Play Dead), beautiful labels (also award-winning), and even better flavors.
She also makes a wine from the Charbono grape, of which Joe Heitz was also proud of back then. Across the entire U.S. today, there are only 76 acres of Charbono grapes. This wine is unusual in its textural breadth and tannic-versus-fruit structure... It's unique in wine and beautiful when made as perfectly as Brenda can make wine.
She has also done a rosé that I joke with people that I love brushing my teeth with... clean, refreshing, and lovely. She has also produced a longtime white clincher called Fou Fou LeBlanc, which plays off the dry white wines you might have as a starter for any dinner you may host.
Last December, I treated some of my employees to a virtual tasting with Brenda and her wines... I feel that strongly about them and I wanted to share. But here's the unique thing...
Brenda Lynch's decadeslong devotion to dog-themed wines isn't random. Mutt Lynch gives back a portion of the proceeds to a hundred or so animal shelters around the U.S. And right now, Mutt Lynch has a special offer on its "Wines That Give Back" box.
This box contains six wines that each promote a charitable organization, like the Paws For Love Cabernet Sauvignon. With each purchase, Mutt Lynch gives 25% of the proceeds to each of the organizations represented in the box.
Brenda has agreed to a special deal for our Health & Wealth Bulletin readers... If you order the Wines That Give Back Box, you'll get the entire box of six wines shipped for free.
If you're looking for a gift, or simply want to treat yourself to an incredible wine experience, order the Wines That Give Back box – with the free shipping offer – right here. You'll feel good from the giving and the sipping. Cheers!
Now, let's get into this week's Q&A... As always, please keep sending your questions and comments to [email protected].
Q: How come the blue light emanating from a TV or laptop is worse than the blue light in sunlight? The blue light in sunlight is probably at least 100 times as strongly as what my devices deliver. – C.D.
A: Blue light is everywhere.
We're exposed to blue light through sunlight. That's part of how sunshine helps you feel more awake. But a retina study we read in 2018 in Scientific Reports found that sunlight didn't elicit the same damage.
One theory is that our lens blocks some blue light, like the kind we'd get through sun exposure. It's increasing the blue light from artificial sources that seems to cause the trouble. That's why we see problems from devices that emit higher levels of blue light than other wavelengths. However, our eyes are still sensitive and able to burn, which is why we still recommend sunglasses. Sunlight exposure also increases your risk of cataracts.
Anything with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent light ("CFL") bulbs emits higher blue-light levels, too... including digital displays on things like alarm clocks.
But more than other light waves, blue light comes through our electronics. Every time we glue our eyes to a flickering screen, we're taking in blue-light waves... televisions, computer screens, tablets, and especially cellphones.
Today, you can't go anywhere without seeing folks absorbed in their phones. How much time we spend on our phones varies by study, but experts peg it at about two to four hours a day. That's too much blue-light exposure.
Another factor is timing... We're exposed to the sun's blue light during the day when our bodies are supposed to be awake. If you look at a screen at bedtime, the blue light is disrupting your body's circadian rhythm.
Lots of us can't avoid screens without going off the grid. (If we did that, we wouldn't be able to share Health & Wealth Bulletin with you.) That's why it's important to limit your exposure when you can... Like making mealtimes screen-free and keeping electronics out of your bedroom.
Q: Instead of the spoon test, do you recommend any sleep trackers? – K.H.
A: K.H. is talking about a classic way to find out how quickly you fall asleep... Lie down in bed holding a metal spoon above a metal pan. You'll drop the spoon once you've fallen asleep, which will wake you. The idea is to record how long it took for you to fall asleep... If you took less than 10 to 15 minutes, it's a sign that you're sleep-deprived.
However, the spoon test might not work for everyone, especially if you're a heavy sleeper or have trouble hearing. Sleep trackers can be another good way to see how well you're sleeping... As long as you're willing to spend the money.
My team has tried out a few over the years and really liked the SleepScore Max Sleep Improvement Monitor. Smart watches like the Apple Watch offer sleep tracking apps. Lots of fitness trackers, like some models of Fitbit devices or Garmin watches, also measure your sleep. I know plenty of folks who like Fitbit or Garmin, though some say the Fitbit is better if you want to track your sleep specifically. An alternative idea is to set up a nanny cam to record your sleeping habits.
What We're Reading...
- Did you miss it? The painful lesson from my first bear market.
- Something different: Germany is the latest country to put major restrictions on the unvaccinated.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
December 3, 2021