Q & A with Biodynamic Wine Connoisseur Lauren Alexander
Lauren Alexander of LNA Clothing, hosts the most incredible wine parties throughout LA. In fact, it was at one of her tastings that we tried some of the best wines we’ve ever had. (If you live in LA, get over to Psychic Wines in Silverlake and if you’re in Miami, we love Lucio in Little River.) We asked her if she would share her knowledge about organic and biodynamic wines, as well as her top wine recommendations and what supplements she takes to protect herself from a hangover.
Lauren, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
My name is Lauren Alexander. I am the Co-Founder / Creative Director of LNA Clothing and a self-proclaimed natural wine enthusiast- more on the wine later. I started LNA with my business partner, April Leight, in 2006 with the mission to create the perfect t-shirt.I didn’t go to school for business or design and had no experience whatsoever. We’ve been in business now for 14 years and have built a brand around creating elevated wardrobe essentials. I still design each piece myself and I am incredibly connected to every part of the business. Owning this company and being a leader to our team has been one of the most impactful experiences of my life. The harsh lessons of running a business and navigating the ever-changing terrain of the apparel world is both humbling and thrilling. I think about clothing in practical way and have always wanted to create clothing to live in. I care about the power that clothing has to transform the way you feel when you put it on. My focus with LNA is to always offer a new spin on your everyday essentials and to help inspire the way you get dressed.
You struggled with PCOS. Can you tell us how you healed it?
My Journey with PCOS was one of the most difficult times in my life. Back in the early 2000’s there was little to no information about PCOS or how to heal it. I was confused, scared and hopeless. The only treatment protocol given to me at the time was birth control pills or Metformin- a drug for people with type II diabetes. Both were making me feel worse while not healing my PCOS. I dealt with weight gain, acne, low energy, terrible menstrual cycles, and finally, ruptured cysts. It was after I left the hospital for my ruptured cyst that I decided to explore a different route. I didn’t know where to start in the beginning, but something was always telling me that my diet and lifestyle was going to be the first step. It seems so obvious now that healing through food would have always been the answer. This is when I completely changed my lifestyle and adopted a more holistic approach to the way I live. I could go on for hours about all the changes I made but I believe that everyone’s body is different so what worked for me, may not work for everyone. Another factor that completely changed my health was when I started following Eight Constitution Medicine. Changing the way I ate for my specific constitution has changed my health in the most remarkable way. I currently do not take any supplements for PCOS or birth control. I have the most regular cycle I’ve had my whole life (I’m 37 now) and have zero cysts. I’m not a doctor or an expert. But I listened to my body, never settled with the words “you will have this forever” and never gave up on my mission to heal myself.
How did you get involved with organic and biodynamic wines?
My love for wine started in the fall of 2013 when I tasted my first glass of orange wine. I’ll admit that I thought I was being served wine made from oranges and had never heard of such a thing. Up until this point my knowledge of wine and wine making was basically nonexistent. I remember sitting there quietly, too scared to ask any questions because I didn’t have any confidence around wine yet. I was just like everyone else who feels intimidated by the overwhelming world of wine and insecure about trying to find the right words to explain what I was tasting.
The wine was called Munjabel, made by Sicilian wine maker, Frank Cornelissen. I’d never tasted anything like this wine in my life. It looked slightly orange and cloudy, it tasted earthy, funky and had an effervescent zing to it. I remember calling it Kombucha wine because I had nothing else to compare it to. Halfway through the bottle, the wine buzz had given me enough courage to start asking questions. So, what is orange wine anyways? Simply put, orange wine is made from white grapes but in the style of how red wine is made. This means, the juice stays in contact with the skins for varying amounts of time which causes the wine to take on a range of orange colors. The longer the skins stay on, the more orange the wine will be.
It was after this bottle of Munjabel, that my curiosityled me to deep into the world that we now refer to as “natural wine”.
As my knowledge was growing and I was spending more time with winemakers, my friends were starting to come to me for wine recommendations. I always found this strange because still to this day I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. It was October of 2016 that I decided to launch a dinner series where the focus would be on natural wine and we could start to educate my friends on the process of wine making. I wanted to create a non-intimidating environment where people would feel safe to ask questions about wine and enjoy the learning process. I partnered up with my favorite wine shops and restaurants in Los Angeles and had the experts lead the way.
The Wine Society has been a place where friends, and friends of friends get together and enjoy wine. And hopefully, learn something along the way.
What is the difference between organic and biodynamic wine?
Now, this is where things get tricky. I have spent countless hours picking the brains of everyone I know that works in wine- wine makers, shop owners, somms, the list goes on. And what I have learned is that natural, organic, and biodynamic wine are close but not the same. I’ll do my best to put explain.
There is wine made by “organically grown grapes” and Organic wine. Organic wine is wine made from organic grapes without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Biodynamic wine is made by a farming practice that was started in the 1920’s by an Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Biodynamic farming is a holistic farming practice meant to create harmony between all the elements and is meant to follow the biodynamic calendar. It’s quite extensive and as organic as it gets. The use of commercial yeast or chemicals is never allowed.
You could spend days on days reading about the benefits of organic farming practice and its effects on wine making.
Can you recommend some of your favorite wines?
Stanley’s Wet Goods in Los Angeles is my go-to spot for natural wine. I always tend to buy Italian wine because for me, that’s the wine that makes me feel the best. The quality of the air, soil and farming practices, produces amazing wine. One of great things about having a go-to wine shop is the relationship that you are able to build with the people that work there. I have learned so much from John Stanley about wine makers and he’s always giving me something new to try. One of my favorite things about wine is learning about where it came from. So, having a place where I can go learn about wine makers is essential. The way you enjoy wine is forever changed the minute to start experiencing the story of the wine as you drink it.
Here is some of the wine I’m currently into along with the bottle that started it all for me!
What can people do to protect themselves from a hangover when they drink conventional wine?
Unfortunately, even if you are drinking the most organic wine, no one is immune to the aftereffects of overindulging. I’ve tested this theory quite a bit!
I will say though, that the quality of the wine you are drinking is very important. I personally feel much better when I drink wine that is truly organic.
Limiting your exposure to pesticides such as glyphosate is extremely important so organic and biodynamic wine will always be your best bet to feel better the next day. I always make sure to take the Restore supplement by Dr. Zach Bush which helps combat exposure to environmental and food borne toxins. This supplement has made a huge improvement in my overall health and is one of the most important supplements I take.
Other great supplements to take to avoid a hangover are liposomal vitamin B, vitamin C, and glutathione. NAC is also another great one.
I hope my personal journey into the vast world of wine will inspire you to explore with curiosity and pleasure.
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.