[0:00:00] At the Vineyards in Napa Valley
[0:02:16] The Circle of Love
[0:05:47] What the Warehouse Workers Think
[0:07:18] Dry Farms Job Openings
[0:09:00] The Peace and Profit Manifesto
[0:11:47] Keeping the People Happy and Peaceful
[0:16:48] International Travels
[0:21:14] A Grand Life Experiment
[0:25:13] Being in Ketosis
[0:26:35] The Wines
[0:30:34] Advice to People Who Wants to Fast
[0:37:15] Biohacking and Meditation
[0:48:18] Book Recommendations
[0:53:44] Beginnings of Dry Farm Wines
[0:56:35] Natural Wines
[1:13:09] Receiving Your Box of Wines
[1:18:26] Closing Remarks
[1:19:26] End of Podcast
Ben: Well folks, as I promised, I’m sitting here with my friend, Todd, outside of his amazing estate looking over the wine–what do you call this, wine fields vineyards?
Ben: Vineyards. Yes, those things.
Todd: The world-famous Napa Valley.
Ben: Yeah. This is a gorgeous place. We even stopped by a gas station on the way up to your house. Even the gas stations here are normal. It was like a fancy highfalutin gas station.
Todd: Yeah, exactly.
Ben: It was like a fine, fine coffee shop where we filled up on gas, came up here to your place. Before we came up here to your house, Todd, we did something that I don’t think I’ve ever done at any corporation I’ve been at, any business, any cubicle-strewn office, anywhere, anytime. We went through something very special down at the office of Dry Farm Wines, your company, which we’ll talk about too on today’s show. But first, explain to me what it was that me and my wife did when we walked in there.
Todd: So, we have a ritual at Dry Farm Wines. Every morning, we meet at 10 o’clock, which is pretty late by business standards. We allow everyone to protect their morning. We think protecting your morning and beginning your day with your own personal rituals–which mine include meditation and cold thermogenesis and others. Everyone who works with us has their own morning rituals. We also pay for everyone’s gym memberships, and most people go to the gym in the morning. But we meet at 10 o’clock and–
Ben: Now, when you say most people, there were maybe 15 people there. Was that about 15 employees?
Todd: There are 22 of us. There were some folks away on travel or holiday or whatever. So, every morning, 20 or so of us, or whoever’s in town. It’s typically 15 to 20 people who will be here at any one given time. Begin our morning at 10 o’clock in our office, in what we call a circle of love. We live life with the belief that there are only a few fundamental things that are important. The most important thing is love, an unconditional love, a non-judgment and a life of inclusion for everyone. So, we begin our day in a circle of love that begins with meditation. These rituals last usually between an hour and an hour and a half. We have a number of different rituals that we practice, but it always begins with, very often breath work when I’m half kind of version of breath work. And that’s followed by meditation, typically, 15 to 20 minutes of meditation. And then, we always or almost always have a session of what we call gratefulness therapy. And it’s where everyone around the circle, the 15 or 20 people who are there, talk for–just very free flow talk for one to three minutes on what it is that they’re grateful for that day. And this is a really extraordinary practice because what it allows is for each person to be open and emotionally available and vulnerable to each other. We are all very fragile creatures, right, and this practice of exposing our fragility and this collective ritual of showing gratefulness and unconditional love to one another sets the day of peace and sets the day for creativity. We don’t refer to what we do as work. We refer to what we do as creating. So, it sets the day for a very calm and peaceful creation. And because we’re in the taste business in addition to the health business, there’s nothing healthier than sharing love and making ourselves emotionally vulnerable, this “What’s wrong with the world?” Right? We’re not accessible to each other. And so that’s what this practice does. You and your wife were there, and hopefully, you felt that sense of inclusion and vulnerability.
Ben: We did and I’m curious what your employees think of this or what kind of feedback you get because I don’t want to stereotype but you’ve got your, almost like your blue-collar warehouse workers sitting there on one end, mixed in with your customer service folks, mixed in with your wine selectors, I don’t know, whatever you call them. I’m just going to make that up.
Todd: Taste masters.
Ben: Just like your wine fields and your wine selectors, your taste masters. What are these folks think of that? I can just imagine one guy said you don’t work for a company for a couple weeks, one of your warehouse guys. That’s got to be kind of strange to start working for a company and, correct me if I’m wrong, every single morning, be engaged in a good 30 to 60 minutes of meditation and gratitude with the rest of the team.
Todd: Right. So, here’s the beautiful thing. I think the warehouse workers are the most poignant example of the power of this practice because most of them are Hispanic, most of them have worked in warehouses before they came to work for us. And your normal warehouse worker–we just talked about this earlier this week during a session. Most warehouse workers are treated by management as objects. They’re never included in anything. They’re just a human object that moves things from one box to another. But you see, that object that is in most warehouses for us is a center of love and energy and light. And when they become a part of our light and love, it brings them into a place of elevated existence that makes them feel so important that they want to contribute and create at such a high level, because I mean, they come, they know their contributions are among the most important in our entire company. They certainly have the hardest job in our company. They deserve the most amount of light and love, just like everybody else.
So, as for how they feel when they start, our hiring process, our application process, our job post, and anybody can see them. We always have open jobs. We’re hiring because our business has grown 60,000% in three years. So, we always have open positions. And if you want to see our job postings, they’re 12 pages long. Each posting is 12 pages. It’s at DryFarmWines.com/jobs.
Ben: By the way, everything we talk about I’ll link to, for those of you listening, at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/dryfarms for the shownotes. So, DryFarmWines.com/jobs. Now, why are these job descriptions so complex?
Todd: Well, the job descriptions describe our entire process the way we see life. It includes our guiding document, which we call the peace and profit manifesto. We believe that peace must be present before we can enjoy the abundance of profits. And so we focus on having a peaceful environment in front of a profitable environment. And for us, the profits follow this peace. And what is the real benefit of profit if you don’t have peace in your life if your life is not filled with love and enrichment? You can have all the profits in the world and not be very joyful. There are plenty of miserable rich people. And so, I don’t–
Ben: Yeah. What profits a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his own soul?
Todd: Right. We place a tremendous amount of value. The single most important value we have is peace. And when you have a peaceful life, you have a joyful life. So, we have this manifesto. It’s three pages long called the Peace and Profit Manifesto. It’s also in this job posting.
Ben: Did you write that?
Todd: We did, we did. The first rule of nine is that we lead with love. And, love is not something that’s normally talked about in a business setting, right? But we believe that love is the foundation of an enriched life. And so, people who applied to come to work for us already know who we are and they already know what our practices are. Our daily practice is described in this 12-page job posting.
Ben: The whole meditation, gratitude.
Todd: Meditation, gratitude, how we see the world, the lens which we view life through, our commitment to taste, our commitment to each other, our commitment to unconditional love, all that is talked about in these 12 pages. And then in addition to that, at the end is a 15-question questionnaire that each applicant must complete prior to us even looking at their resume. In fact, we’re just not really that interested in resumes. Resumes don’t tell me much about a person. The main thing I’m looking for on a resume is kind of what have you done and where have you been and how long did you stay there, because what you see of millennials very often now today is the people bouncing around every year. That’s not someone we’re looking for. We’re looking for someone who has some tenure at the places that they’ve been. They’ve created some value over a longer term. Now, depending upon the age of the applicant, that’s going to depend on what their tenures look like. But this 12-page job posting describes everything that you saw today. So, by the time they complete this 15-question questionnaire, which takes the average applicant between four and six hours to complete–these are life questions. There are very few business questions.
Ben: There’s no multiple choice. It’s like essay?
Todd: Right, right. It’s a short essay form. So, the job posting and the application process is designed to be self-selecting. So, we want people to select out. We want them to know as much about what some people would think are very bizarre, even strange practices that we have. We think that they’re beautiful and enriching and part of a whole powerful life. And you experienced them this morning. We want people to select out. And if they’re not willing to invest the time to complete our 15 questions, if they’re not willing to invest four hours, three or four or five hours, in the opportunity to be a part of our abundance, if they’re not willing to make that investment on the front side, they’re not a candidate who’s going to make the investment on the back side.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah, it makes sense. You have some other really unique ways in which you run the company. I’ve heard speak of some of these things like people taking the weekends off or being forbidden from checking their email at certain points. What are some of the biggies that you think really move the dial for your company as far as keeping people happy and peaceful?
Todd: I mean happiness, as you know, is oftentimes–that’s an internal kind of mechanism of joy that is within.
Ben: Yeah. Man can choose his attitude no matter the circumstance is.
Todd: Right, right. In addition, as you heard this morning, we recite some readings or quotes. And so, my job as the mentor and leader and I get–as I mentioned this morning, I get the opportunity to be both student and teacher every day. But, my job is to share with these–all of these people are younger than I am, most of them half my age. It’s my opportunity to share with them how to find a peaceful joyful life and how to think about that. And that’s particularly important for the warehouse people. Nobody’s ever mentored them before ever. Most of them came from homes that were not filled with any mentorship or leadership. They’ve certainly never been in a workplace or had anybody kind of take them under guidance. And so, even for them, it’s super, super important, I think more so than many of the others. But look, we’re all in pain, we’re all broken from childhood traumas and our experience of life. And so, we’re all in healing, right? But some of the practices that I think contribute the most to the peace in our organization–first of all, as you know, we don’t meet until 10:00. And we don’t begin creating value in the world at our business until usually between 11:15 and 11:30, and we stop creating between 5:00 and six o’clock at night.
Ben: You show for the job, about 10:00, you got meditation gratitude, Wim Hof breathing coming together for a good hour then you start work?
Todd: Right. When we begin creating after that one hour, we are only open–we’re only creating together in the work capacity for six hours. There’s a very short time window. But I designed this six-hour window because most of us like to think that we’re a little smarter than the average show, right? Well, I came to the conclusion that if I can’t figure out how to create wealth and enough value in the world to secure my future and the future of those people I work with, if I can’t figure out how to do that in six hours a day, I’m not as smart as I thought I was.
Ben: It’s like Cal Newport’s book, “Deep Work.” He even sets four hours of deep work. That’s about how long I can lock myself away in the office. I would imagine that six hours, once you add up any small breaks people might take, you’re probably getting close like a four to five-hour deep work.
Todd: Probably between four and five hours of creation. So, among the other practices that we do, virtually, no emails to all. There might be two a month to our family channel. Virtually, we do no replies to all. We rarely do multiple copies. We do not do emails after hours or before opening. We have unlimited time paid off. And many people say the studies or surveys show that when you have unlimited time off, people don’t take it. Well, that’s certainly not the case with our group. Most everyone who works with me at Dry Farm Wines relocated from somewhere else in the country. Only two or three people were hired local. One is from Boston, one is from Chicago, two are from Florida, North Carolina. They all relocated here from somewhere else. And so, we want them to go home and spend time with their family and friends. We also travel. All of our wines are grown in Europe and South Africa. And so, I spend about–myself and our wine team, our wine taste masters spend about six months a year in Europe.
Ben: Well, not in California?
Todd: No. We don’t sell any domestic wines.
Ben: You’re kind of being tortured out here surrounded by vineyards and can’t actually [00:16:05] ________ these wines. I know there’s a reason for that that we’ll get to later.
Todd: There is. There’s a very definitive reason why we only work with these very small organic farms in Europe. Very, very small family farms. But what we do do is that we also include our other staff on these international trips. We’ll take one or two on each trip that has no reason to go at all, no business reason. But we want them to have that experience of meeting our farmers, of understanding what living soils mean, the experience of just international travel and beautiful food and hotels. Our staff stay in the same hotels I stay in. When they have these travel experiences, this just elevates their sense of self and elevates their experience in life. And most of them have never traveled internationally before.
Todd: And so, to be able to do this for young people, these are just sort of extraordinary practices. You’re also aware because you and I see each other quite frequently throughout the year.
Ben: Or we wind up at a lot of the same health and fitness and nutrition conferences where inevitably there seems to be some kind of a Dry Farm Wines party or Dry Farm Wines table or someone’s handing me a glass or, in your case, soften a bottle of Dry Farm Wines.
Todd: Right. We are the official wine for over 200 health and performance conferences around the United States, and certainly, all of the major ones that you know and participate in. We’re the official healthy wine pretty much everywhere. So, in addition to international travel, our entire group, as you know because you’ve seen us traveling on our entourage at these events–because not only are we the wine but we want to bring our view of fun and celebration and share love with. So, we bring a lot of people and we host a lot of parties. Oftentimes, they’re offsite parties that have nothing to do with the conference you’ve been to quite a few. Most of us are ketogenic and we’re all, certainly, all low carb and all focused on healthy eating and wild-caught fish, grass-fed —
Ben: They come in to eat. Your employees just kind of get converted in the process.
Todd: No. Most of them come in that way just because most of the people that we meet, that we hire, most of them know us through that circle.
Todd: Most of them.
Ben: That’s what it does a lot of times to the Ben Greenfield Fitness brand or the Kion brand. In many cases, we’re hiring people off from our Facebook page who already seem to be into the idea of maybe not eating for 12 to 16 hours during the 24-hour cycle or minimum effective dose of exercise or eating plenty of wild plants. So, yeah, I hear what you’re saying.
Todd: Yeah. So, most of the people come through us through our own channels. So, they’re already living or aspiring to live a better life. And as you know, having been to a couple of our private parties where we all cook–everybody in my organization is a cook and they just contribute and have terrific group merge. It’s like one of our highlights of creating together is being able to cook together. Cooking together is a very spiritual event. And then, you may add wine and 100 friends to that. It just becomes a magical evening. So, we really pride ourselves on just having great parties and having just a great time.
I mean, life should be celebrated and enjoyed. I mean, it’s the same thing with drinking wine. Like, I don’t drink spirits or any other form of alcohol. Some people say they don’t drink because they don’t believe it’s healthy and we can talk about that but it’s like, “Look, we can be healthy and still celebrate life and have fun.” Right? We don’t have to restrict ourselves into this life of–
Ben: You can even, I would argue, be unhealthy and live a long time and have fun. There are some centenarian grandmas who are chain smokers but they have such a robust social life and typically very strong spiritual life to where despite the carcinogens they’re sucking down every day, they’re still living a long time.
Ben: It’s pretty crazy how powerful a lot of that is, the emotional and the spiritual component. You’ve alluded to things like fasting and ketosis. I know you have a pretty robust personal protocol when it comes to biohacking and things along those lines and I want to take a dive into that because I think people can learn a lot from the way that you live your life. But before that, I want to backpedal just a little bit. When you are 25 years old or 30 years old or–that was 10 years ago, right?
Todd: Mm-hmm. It’s been a while.
Ben: Yeah. At what point did you envision creating a company and a culture like this? How did Dry Farm Wines come to be and where did you learn, I realize this is a loaded question, all of these concepts that you’ve brought in and established in the company culture?
Todd: Well, we refer to it as a grand life experiment. And so there’s no real protocol for what we do. I mean, there’s no precedent. First of all, the wine way back, I’ve been self-employed since I was 17. And so, I started my first company at 17. I’ve had probably started 10 companies. I have–
Ben: What was your first company?
Todd: A car wash.
Todd: And I rented a bay. At that time back in the day, you still had service stations with car bays in them because–
Ben: You wear an Austin Powers-like bikini and rent the rags.
Todd: So, I actually didn’t rent it. I actually exchanged my services pumping gas for the service station owner in exchange for the use of his bay and then I put a sign-up and started washing cars and worked for him for free in exchange for the rent on the bay. That was actually my first small business. Well, I mean I had sold things before that as a kid but that was my first kind of adult concept of a business. And from there, I had a number of–a couple of really pretty meaningful successes and a couple of minor failures and one grand failure. And the grand failure happened to be the business just before this one. And that reshaped my life and redefined how I thought about living a life of appreciation as opposed to a life of expectation.
Ben: What was that failure?
Todd: I was a senior healthcare business based in Atlanta. I had about 40 employees. But I determined after about two and a half years that it just wasn’t going to work for a number of reasons. The business concept was very good, just wasn’t the place I needed to be and I was in the business for the wrong reason. And, the business wasn’t working as a result. So, I shut the business down. Still had half a million dollars in the bank at the time, which got distributed to the investors. But still, it wasn’t an ugly shutdown, it was just it was very clear to me that it wasn’t going to work.
Sometimes in life, the things we say, “no” to are way more important than the things we say, “yes” to. And, it was time to say no to this business and that business left me virtually broke in my early 50s. And so, I had an awakening, and that awakening was my discovery of meditation. Meditation changed my life and meditation was the beginning of this business. And so I took about six months off in a very deep grieving, very shameful period. I’d never had anything fail like this or I’d never–I really blamed–I’d owned this deep sense of blame and shame. And from that, I’d found meditation, and meditation literally saved my life and allowed me to rebuild what has become my business today and my life today.
That’s sort of the beginning of Dry Farm Wines. After I had recovered and awakened and started coming back to life, I developed a set of 18 business rules based on everything I had learned in the past on what I did and didn’t want in a business. And from that, it became Dry Farm Wines. How Dry Farm Wines became was I was scratching my own itch. So, I had become ketotic. I’ve been in ketosis more or less, not full time. I feast out and experiment with many, but substantially–and because I only eat once per day because I do a 22, 23-hour daily fast and ketosis every day just by default of starvation.
And then, when I do extended fast or really focus on a high fat, I kind of have a lot of variability in my diet. But the one thing it doesn’t include, except last night with you, and occasionally when I’m traveling in Italy, I don’t ever eat flour or bread or pasta or anything like that.
Ben: But that polenta last night was pretty amazing with those meatballs are on top of.
Todd: Yeah. The polenta was pretty life altering.
Ben: What was that wine, that orange wine?
Todd: Yeah, the orange wine. We’ll talk about orange wine in a moment. But yes, so the one beautiful thing about our wines, and I want to come back to this diet thing in a second, but the beautiful thing about our wines because these wines are grown from living soils by these small family farms, I’d like to compare these wines which are–our wine club members get a different set of wines every month and never the same. And so, you get this kind of experience of tasting the farm. So, I like to compare the wine in that way and we’ll get to wine in a second. We’ll come back to diet but while we’re on this for a second, like when you go to the farmer’s market and you see how glorious those hand-grown, hand-loved vegetables look, like kale or lettuce or even carrots or beets or artichokes or cucumbers or bell peppers or whatever they are, you see how they look almost unreal. They’re like photographed beautiful, every single one. And then, you go to Whole Foods and you look at organic vegetables and they don’t look anything like that. So, just because something is grown organically doesn’t–it’s not the same as that love it gets on a small family farm. And the wines are the same way. The wines have that life and energy from that farmer, that signature of love from that family that worked all year to cultivate these living soils that produce this magical, spiritual kind of fruit.
Ben: Yeah. It’s like the olive oils that I drink that I was telling you about last night, how they come to the house once a quarter and there are these green spicy flaky olive oils with this little story that accompanies each bottle about where it was grown in the family that raises in their trees that it came from and the drought and the hardship and the floods. You can taste the character in every single tiny little teaspoonful of olive oil. And, you were doing the same thing with the wine.
Todd: That’s what small family produce, that’s what small family farm wine tastes like. It’s alive and real. I got kind of off topic from the diet but I’m in ketosis most of the time. I’ve been maybe going on close to–it’s been over four years, close to five years up. I started intermittent fasting about three and a half years ago and with the Leangains method of eating twice in a six-hour window, skipping breakfast. I went to a 22-hour fast, only eating once per day. This is pretty extraordinary because I’m in the taste business. As you saw last night from the kind of feast we set up, and you’ve been to parties where we’ve cooked before. We love taste.
Todd: We love to eat.
Ben: And you eat once per day but when you eat, you eat.
Todd: Yeah. I mean–
Ben: Like, you drink a bottle of wine and you probably eat like 3,000 calories.
Todd: And we love like we ate last night. You’ve been with us when we cooked with our friends including you. But when we dine out, we dine exactly every meal like you saw last night. We just order a bunch of food for the table and we all share.
Ben: It’s scrumptious. It’s a feast. When I go to your party at Paleo f(x) and you drag out the salmon with the rich hollandaise sauce on it and everything is just drenched in this wonderful vitamin A, D, E, and K, orange and yellow butters and oils and creams, and you have these wonderful grass-fed, grass-finished marblely cuts of sirloin. I’m afraid a vegan wouldn’t have too rollicking of a time at one of your parties, although there is the wine.
Todd: There is the wine.
Ben: The wine is plant-based. But you certainly know how to throw down a good meal. I think that’s what people miss a lot of the times when they talk about fasting, caloric restriction, and ketosis is that the benefits don’t necessarily come from being cold and hungry and driveless all the time. You can still enjoy food. You’re a little bit more extreme than I am, meaning that you’re eating once a day. I do a 12 to 16-hour fast every day and throw in a 24-hour every now and again. And I want to ask you one question because I know a lot of people are very interested in this meal a day type of habit, and that is do you have, aside from–as I [00:30:25] _______ ask you for a snack today, just not having any food in your house at all, aside from a bag of pork rinds, do you have any tips for people who want to eat once a day? How do you get through it?
Todd: Well, it’s more psychological. So, our eating habits are more emotional and psychological than they are really need-driven. But if you want to experiment with extended fasting like I do, it helps to be in ketosis for sure, because your energy source is not food-dependent.
Ben: Meaning that when you do eat, you’re still eating a relatively ketogenic diet [00:30:58] ______ fats.
Todd: Absolutely. Now, there are exceptions to that. There are glorious exceptions just like with drinking wine, a man that don’t normally drink more than a bottle a day. But there are glorious exceptions where–
Ben: Yeah. And a bottle a day might seem like a lot. We’ll talk to you guys later on about this. Technically, it’s a keto wine.
Todd: Right, and it’s also low alcohol. So, I only drink low alcohol wines and we’ll talk about that. So, it makes a huge difference, and also how they’re made, we’ll get into all that. So, I think eating once per day, the Leangains method, the eating twice per day in a six-hour window is very, very easy. I mean, that’s easy to adapt to. Eating once per day is really more of a psychological adaptation. So, for me, it took four to six weeks to get psychologically adapted. Once you get past the psychological issues, the psychological desire to eat, then eating once per day becomes very, very easy. It also adds a tremendous amount of time to my day and a tremendous amount of decision enhancement.
Ben: Making big-ass smoothies and giant salads like I do every day for breakfast and lunch does take a little bit of time. It’s time that I enjoy but it takes time.
Todd: And then the decision fatigue and the shopping. And as you know, you came to my house and you got here and you’re like, “I need a little snack” and I’m like, “I’m sorry, I don’t have anything to eat here.”
Ben: Yeah. In my defense, I threw down hard on the hex bar in the back squats this morning and I can tell when I walked in, I thought I was being healthy this morning and I ordered congee at breakfast, which is like a rice porridge but yeah, it’s probably about 200 calories of rice porridge. So, yeah, I was jones when we walked in here. And yes, I noted that it seems that one of the tips is probably just to not have a lot of food around, period, if you want to do this eat once a day thing.
Todd: Yeah. It helps and this is what’s so difficult for all of our friends and our customers and followers. It’s so difficult being–I live in a world surrounded by like-minded people. All of my entire staff lives this way. Some of them eat twice a day, some only once per day, and we’re all substantially in and out of keto or largely in keto, a blood-tested keto. I mean, we’re pretty hardcore. We’re all biohackers. As you’ve noted before, I mean my entire staff is pretty ripped out. They’re all very healthy.
What’s really difficult for people is the people they’re surrounded with. So, when you go into a traditional office, the break room always has somebody’s birthday cake in it or donuts or it’s filled with candies or–you know, I don’t have any of that in my life, and I’m not surrounded with any of that nor am I surrounded with people–many people, many of your listeners and our followers live a life oftentimes being ridiculed for being different, ridiculed for eating a different way.
Ben: Yeah. That aspect of accountability though is important even when I’m traveling with my wife, as you see, and I love to travel with my wife because we’re–even though she’s type being completely opposite than me and doesn’t do all the crazy bio hacks and supplements and things that I do, we can talk to each other in the evening after dinner and say, “Hey, let’s fast until lunch.” And having that one other person who’s going to see if you decide you’re going to go order a smoothie at the hotel bar, that makes you think twice about that, just that single person in your life who’s accountable. So, I agree, surrounding yourself by like-minded folks who are on-board with what you’re doing is important, especially if it’s family.
Todd: It is and it’s really hard. It’s really, really hard for many people who want to live healthier in a different way because they face ridicule from their coworkers and they’re looked at very strangely. I don’t face any of that because I’m surrounded —
Ben: Probably, it’s a little easier for you too, you’re single with no kids.
Todd: Right, right. That’s true too. That’s true as well. But when you come into the house, if you want to eat less, surround yourself with less food. And also, the decision fatigue, like as you probably have noticed over the years, I wear exactly the same uniform every day, 365–
Ben: Black shirt.
Todd: Black shorts.
Ben: Black shorts.
Todd: And black shoes, snickers.
Ben: Black shoes, black vest if you need extra warmth.
Todd: That’s it. Right, right. And that’s–
Ben: I didn’t know if that was intentional. I was going to ask–
Todd: No. It’s very intentional. Again, it’s just meant to make my life simpler and more minimalistic and assist with this decision fatigue. I don’t ever shop for clothes. When I travel, I travel more than half of the year. I’m leaving tonight, actually, to go to a health conference in Denver. My travel life is very simple in that way. On the food thing, when you came in my house, I was a little sorry to tell you, “There wasn’t anything to eat here. There was one single bag of pork rinds. There was one single bag of raw almonds, a bag of beef steaks from our friends at Paleovalley, and a box of 100% organic chocolate from my favorite chocolate team in Paris.”
Ben: I had the chocolate and the pork rinds.
Todd: Well, awesome.
Ben: Yeah. I took one for the team. So, you’re that much less tempted by two snacks in your home.
Todd: Well, the thing is when you go to this way of life–I’m never tempted, like I oftentimes go to lunch with people. I get invited to lunches occasionally. I mean, I oftentimes attend lunches and don’t eat, and I’m not tempted. The main thing is other people feel weird about it.
Ben: You get a drink though?
Todd: Tea or coffee or water.
Ben: I want to return back to something that I really want to explore a little bit more based on some book recommendations that you made to me and based on the idea that meditation is what got you started down this road of launching Dry Farm Wines in the first place. When did you first discover meditation and how did it become a part of your life?
Todd: I had tried to meditate before. I was a biohacker and also as a curious lifelong learner, I had read and heard that meditation was helpful to a better life.
Ben: Okay. I’m going to derail you real quick because you used a word that annoys a lot of people. You said, “I was a biohacker.” When you say you’re a biohacker, at age 50, coming out of this failure with the senior homes deal, when you say a biohacker, what do you mean?
Todd: Well, my definition of biohacking is the art and science of how our behavior influences our biological and neurological outcome. That’s my sort of general term of biohacking. The reason I say art and science is because many of the practices that I have adapted or experimented with over the years don’t have control group scientific evidence behind them. Nutrition is a classic example. So, I depend on the proverb, “To feel is to understand.” And so this is the basis for how I decide if a bio hack works for me. I would like for it to have a preponderance or some scientific evidence but sometimes that’s just not really there. But a bunch of other people have discovered it and found that it’s beneficial to their life and beneficial enough and convincing enough for me to try it. And I can feel. I’m in touch with my body and my soul and my spirit and I’m super in touch with my palate. I can feel whether or not something benefits me or not.
Ben: Yeah. But back then when you first started meditation, what were you doing, shining laser lights on your balls or school caps?
Todd: No. Initially, in my practice, I started meditating twice a day because I was in such desperate in dire straits emotionally and psychologically that I found I needed and benefited from meditation twice a day. I also benefited immediately from my meditation session number one just because I was in such a low dark place. But not everyone benefits necessarily in session one. I did but meditation is a practice and it’s something that has aggregate benefit over time. I’ve been meditating daily now for, I guess about four years.
And so, it definitely has benefit. And for me, I think if you get five or ten minutes of quiet space to meditate, this is a good thing. But for me, sort of minimum effective dose from my point of view is 20 minutes. And it’s the way I begin my day, and we can talk about morning rituals in a moment because I think they’re really, really important. But I started meditation and meditation became my life as it exists today, and also became the success of this business. I believe that meditation, if you ask anybody at my office–and from the first person I hired at Dry Farm Wines two and a half years ago who’s today our warehouse manager to our first wine director who’s still there, he was the second hire, and most people who have come on-board were still there. And so, if you ask any of them, they’re going to tell you that meditation is the single most important thing we do that contributes to the vast abundance that has become our spectacular ascent and to revenue that was driven by peace and profit. I think what meditation does and the reason it’s so important–and I’m going to reference a book that I recommended that you read, a manifesto of sort. It was written in 1912. Author’s name is Charles Haanel and the book is called “The Master Key System.” And I want to reference one of the passages from part one in that manifesto in a moment, but what meditation does is it allows us to quiet the mind.So, most of us are living a life in the trance of traumatic thought. That thought is speculated by a neuroscientist that we have somewhere around 60 to 65 thoughts per day. The problem is that 95% of those thoughts were the same thoughts we had yesterday. And so, we’re living in a trance of thought. What meditation does much like any kind of fitness meditation is like a warm bath for the mind but it’s fitness for the mind. Meditation teaches us to live in the present moment. It teaches us to stop that trauma of thought. It teaches us through practice to find peaceful presence in our day and that allows us to be creative and that allows us to receive.
So, what this traumatic thought, this trance of thinking does is it creates resistance for the abundance that we deserve and that we were granted at our birthright this–we were granted this abundance. We all deserve to have an abundant loving life filled with joy and wonderful things. But this trance of thinking that we’re all caught up into is–and that trance of thinking can have many narratives. It can be comparing our inside to someone’s outside. We’re all suffering inside. The question is how in touch with that suffering are. From my point of view, suffering is related to attachment. When we become attached to things, that’s going to lead eventually to suffering. That’s one form of suffering. But this trance, this thinking, this constant thinking–and I’m not talking about objective, constructive thinking like problem-solving. I’m talking about thinking about regrets of the past, anxieties of the future. We’ll get this real going on where one thought will just take us into a trance. Well, that trance is creating blockage. That trance is creating resistance to abundance because abundance is always in the present moment. Meditation teaches us to open those channels, to open those channels that allow that abundance of joy and present moment to flow in. Gratefulness does exactly the same thing. So, gratefulness, we can’t be both fearful and grateful at the same time. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. And so, gratefulness is the same way with anxiety. One of the practices that I have–I don’t use much anymore because I’m generally in a peaceful state from meditation in my practices, but if I have a moment of concern or anxiety, which used to be quite often–normally, it revolved around employees or some kind of bullshit business deal or waking up in the middle of the night with that reel of concern, something is going on. The one thing that I find very helpful in that moment is to focus on an object. If you live in nature like I do, I’ll choose a tree or a plant or a butterfly or a flower and focus intensely on how grateful I am to experience that sight. And when we get in that mindset of gratefulness, that anxiety will melt away. It’s impossible to be both grateful and anxious at the same time, or grateful and fearful at the same time. So, when we can remove fear from our life and anxiety, we open up those channels to receive that abundance.
So, that being said, I want to close this question now with this quote that you heard this morning because we recited this reading at my office in the circle of love and meditation this morning. And that reading is from Charles Haanel’s 1912 manifesto, “The Master Key System.” And it says, “First, we must be.” And what Charles means by being is that means being present and of a clear quiet mind. So, first, we must be before we can do. And we can only do to the extent to which we are. And what we completely depend upon what we believe, what we think, what we create, what we feel, and what we vibrate into that connected source energy that is all of life that is connected. But first, we must be. And when we find our place of being, and meditation is the most helpful thing for that, when we find our place of being, that’s when we can do and create at our highest level.
Ben: You recommended that book to me, “Master Key.” I don’t remember if I told you this or not but it’s the 25-week course.
Todd: It is.
Ben: So, this other book is laid out in 25 chapters. I am in Chapter 6 with my kids right now. And, one thing that is different about that book and the form of meditation in that book, which came as you explained to me before “The Secret,” before “Think and Grow Rich,” I mean this was the original meditation and I think even more notably, manifestation book, meaning that it teaches you how to manifest and bring forth the success and the pleasant things that you want in life and you learn how to visualize those and paint a picture of them. Fill your life with positive emotions and allow those things to pour into your life. I’ve witnessed that happening to you with Dry Farm Wines. And even my children, just two nights ago, before we left the house, they were laying in bed, manifesting the restaurant that they want to start when they’re teenagers, and they were describing it to me and we meditated for 15 minutes prior using “The Master Key.”
It’s a little old school. It’s tough for them to wrap their heads around, written back in the ’20s. But I at least have them going through each chapter then I sit them down, explain to them that exercise at the end of each chapter, and I can’t thank you enough for recommending that book because if the Greenfield boys begin an amazing restaurant or discover the cure for cancer or travel to Mars, you’re going to be partially responsible because they’re back all manifesting the heck out of that book right now.
Todd: Listen, brother. We’re all manifesting. Every single person listening in this podcast is manifesting every single second day of their life. The question is what are you manifesting and what tools are you using to manifest in the correct way. And so, the two books I recommend most. The number one book I recommend that people read is “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle because Eckhart I think does the most elegant job of helping us understand how the mind works and how it is so destructive to our life. But what Eckhart doesn’t do is he doesn’t offer a prescription. He offers an understanding. And Eckhart also is very focused on complete presence.
Now, if I want to be a monk, I can be completely present all the time and void of any thinking. But you see, I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a creator. I’m interested in creating things and leaving a contribution and a legacy. I’m interested in making the world a better place and I found it. As such, I can’t just be present all the time. I’ve got to think and create and build. I can’t be a monk. And so, this is kind of where–people get confused with this meditation thing. Is it going to dial me out? It was going to dial you out in the right ways. It’s going to empower you in the right ways. And so I recommend people read The Power of Now to understand how the mind works and how dangerous the mind can be to our soul and spirit.
Ben: Yes. You also recommended “The Power of Now” and I read that. I didn’t find it as profound as “The Master Key” but it’s also an excellent book.
Todd: It is but it helps us understand kind of how the mind works. Now, where The Master Key comes in is The Master Key was written in 1912 as a U.S. postal delivered. This would be today an internet funnel, but at the time, this was a correspondence course that was–
Ben: Like an email series and–
Todd: Right, right, yes. So, it was a correspondence course that came once per week to your mailbox and there were 24 weeks of lessons. And you’re in week six right now. I think going a week per chapter, if you will, is a very good–
Ben: That’s what we’ve been doing, a week per chapter.
Todd: It’s a very good pace. But what “The Master Key” does, what Charles Haanel’s work does–and it was actually the foundation for “The Secret” and many other works–Napoleon Hill’s work, which was I think written in the 1942, “Think and Grow Rich.” Charles Haanel was sort of the inventor of this process of manifestation. Well, I mean he didn’t invent it. The stoics wrote a lot about it. I love Marcus Aurelius’ meditations. One of my favorite quotes from meditations is, “He who worries most, worries before it is necessary.” And so, worrying is a manifestation. When we put these energy fields out into nature, into the universe, these vibrations, even words, words become form. Words become vibrations. I like to use the example as when we get up in the morning, we stomp our toe and it’s like, “Oh, my God, this is going to be one of those kinds of days.” And you know what? It turns out to be one of those kinds of days. The best thing to do when you stomp your toe or clip a piece of furniture is say, “That is just awesome. That is just awesome. This is going to be the beginning of a wonderful day.” Or when we say things like, “If I find out that he did so and so, I’m going to be so pissed.” That’s a manifestation. That is words becoming form. And so how we manifest words, words become a form. And Charles Haanel, I learned this from Charles Haanel, I learned how to think about it. I don’t know if you’ve gotten that far in the book yet but words become form, form becomes vibrations, which is the reason that when you’re in the center of the city, you feel an anxiety. When you’re in the airport, you can feel the anxiety as opposed to going out into nature like we’re sitting here, where you feel nature and you feel the butterflies and the greenery and the trees that are communicating with each other in this kind of abundance of life that is around us that is peaceful. That’s a different vibration, and you can feel that. And there are plenty of studies on it as you know, that when people go into nature or when they go into a park like Central Park as opposed to being in the center of Fifth Avenue, there’s a very different vibration level there. And so, words are the same thing. Words become vibrations.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. You know, there’s so much that I want to learn about you and your meditative practice and your morning ritual, but I also want to unleash the beast and ask you about wine because you are one of the smartest people when it comes to wine that I’ve ever conversed with and I know we could talk for a long time about it. But I want to specifically get into why it was that you began Dry Farm Wines and what you learned along the way about wine in general. I realize it’s probably something you could chat for two hours about, and you probably have, but fill myself and all the people listening in on wine and what Dry Farm Wines actually is and how that came to be.
Todd: Yes. It’s a long topic. So, let me just touch on a couple of hot points. I began Dry Farm Wines because I needed a healthier better way to drink. I’ve been a lifelong wine drinker. As you know, I drink about a bottle a day.
Ben: It’s crazy.
Todd: Low alcohol, all natural, additive free. We’ll talk about this quickly but–
Ben: I had five glasses last night and I woke up this morning, crossed the gym at 5:00 a.m. and felt amazing.
Todd: Yeah. It’s hangover-free. It’s pretty amazing. It’s also sugar-free. I’ll tell you about our protocol in a second but how Dry Farm Wines began is because I was a lifelong wine drinker. And when I became ketotic and really focused in on my nutritional programming, I found that I couldn’t drink standard wines anymore and I didn’t know why. I thought it was the alcohol. I thought it was aging, not metabolizing alcohol well. And so, I started experimenting with lower doses of alcohol by way of mixing. It was in the wintertime with mixing wine with hot tea at night when I came home and just drinking a lot less and I felt better. And just quite by accident, the details are not important, but quite by accident, I discovered natural wines and lower alcohol wines, neither of which I knew anything about. And I discovered it from a very knowledgeable friend of mine in the wine industry who lives here in Napa Valley. I was describing to him I wanted to actually make wine. I wanted to make low alcohol wine. I thought it was just the alcohol was the problem. I wanted to make low alcohol wine in Napa Valley. And so, I asked him. He was the smartest person I knew in the wine business. Photographic memory, just a brilliant character and a loving friend, and we were on vacation with him and his wife in Mexico. And I said, “You know, I want to make a low alcohol wine. I was thinking this through.” And he said, “Have you drunk any of the low alcohol wines from Europe?” And I was, “No. I’d never heard of such a thing.” So, that kind of began the process and just fast forward, then I discovered natural wines. And what a natural wine is–less than one-tenth of 1% of all wines in the world are natural. There are only 500, 600 winemakers in the world and most of them are in Europe. There are 20 or 40 in the United States. Most of them are in Europe. The movement really started in France, in Central France in Loire Valley, and then in the Bouges-le. But, natural wines are a very specific winemaking protocol and a very specific wine growing protocol. We usually refer to all of our farmers as wine growers because there’s not really anything happening in the cellar. All of the wine creation is really in the vineyard. So, wines are grown not made.
And so, with the natural wine, it’s always organic or biodynamic farming, always. In addition to that, and in our case, not true for 100% of natural wines, but in our case, we have a few other criteria that we require that may be beyond just natural. And those two primary requirements or quantifications that we have is that the wine also be non-irrigated or what’s known as dry-farmed.
Ben: That’s what dry farming, it’s non-irrigated.
Todd: Non-irrigated. Now, I’ll talk to you about why that’s important in just a moment because it’s a really big, big piece. And I would say 95% of natural wines are not irrigated. But in our case, it’s a requirement. The other requirement we have that doesn’t fit all-natural wines is that we also require that our wines are sugar-free. We believe that sugar is the most dangerous neurotoxin that’s legal on the planet. We’re just rabidly anti-sugar. And so, we don’t want to drink sugar. Being in ketosis, I’m not interested in sugar. So, our wines are also lab tested by us so we know that they’re sugar-free in addition to several other quantifications. So, natural wines are organically or biodynamically farmed. In our case, they are non-irrigated or dry-farmed. They have no additives. They are fermented. This is another really, really important piece. They are fermented with wild native yeast.
Ben: No kidding.
Todd: Right. So, all commercial wines are fermented, and I’m talking about 99.999% of the rest of the wines that are not natural, are fermented with genetically modified commercial lab-grown yeast. See, working with the native wild yeast and every grape in the world has yeast on the skin. It’s collected through the air. And so to work with this wild native yeast is very temperamental. You can’t make wine in very large quantities. You can’t make wines that are high in alcohol, which is a trend now. You just can’t make wines in any appreciable quantity using these native yeasts. The native yeasts are very temperamental. They’re very delicate, right? But this is super important protocol with the natural process because everything is natural, including the yeast. So, the reason that commercial winemakers use lab-grown yeasts is because they are designed, they’re modified to withstand high alcohol environments. They’re also very easy to work with, they’re very sturdy, they’re not temperamental, and they produce a predictable fermentation process, which allows the winemaker to have a risk-free fermentation and make large quantities of wine. One thing I want to touch on what we’re talking about is just because a wine is organic does not mean it’s natural and does not mean it’s clean. It just means the fruit was organically grown. And as we talked about earlier when we talked about the farmer’s market food and the organic food that you’ll see in Whole Foods and the vibrant difference, that’s what I’m talking about.
Ben: Because the fruit can be grown organically but then other non-organic compounds can be added afterwards.
Todd: Absolutely. And in the cellar.
Ben: That’s a good point.
Todd: So, in the cellar in the United States, and this is probably the most shocking fact to people who don’t know or haven’t heard me on a prior podcast, in the United States, the FDA approves 76 additives. Now, all of what I’m telling you can be easily validated online —
Ben: For wine. 76 additives that can be added to wine.
Todd: Yeah. You can just validate this by going to Google and to search FDA wine additives and you’ll see the 76. It’s pretty nasty list of characters. And you can link that in your shownotes if you want. So, these 76 additives, which are commonly used–and by the way, just because it’s a European wine doesn’t mean it’s additive free. There are 56 approved by the E.U.
Ben: Oh, geez.
Todd: Right. Not as many but still a nasty list of characters. So, natural wines are 100% additive free. In addition to that, there are no alterations of any kind in the cellar. So, nothing in or out. It’s 100% natural wine. Now, this natural wine is very difficult to make. And the reason it’s difficult to make and it’s not profitable to make is because you can’t make it in great quantities. And also, wine is a tricky thing. It’s a living thing. There are all these bacterial risks and all kinds of things that can happen in the cellar. A commercial winemaker, a regular winemaker has a whole tool chest of chemicals and additives that allow him to kind of fight against these bacteria. The natural winemaker doesn’t have that. He has to work with just what’s there in nature. And so, you just can’t make it in large quantities and it’s very difficult to make. Consequently, it’s not very profitable. And so that’s what a natural wine is. In addition to our wines being dry farmed which is not a natural criteria, sugar-free which is not necessarily a natural criteria. And then, the final criteria that Dry Farm Wines has is low alcohol. So, we don’t drink or sell any wine over 12.5%. Now, in America, the average wine is tipping right up at 15%, and it’s been increasing steadily over the last 20 years. And the reason alcohol has been increasing steadily in wine business is the alcohol industry, the wine industry likes alcohol. There are two reasons for that. One, alcohol is addictive. And let me repeat this. I should have mentioned this earlier but we really weren’t talking about wine, we were really talking more about culture and meditation. Alcohol is a very dangerous neurotoxin and must be dealt with with care. And so, drinking lower alcohol wine–
Ben: Especially, the acetaldehyde that the ethanol has broken down into.
Todd: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s very dangerous and it’s unhealthy. And so, alcohol or specifically wine, and more specifically red wine because of the over 800 polyphenols that it contains, has been shown in many studies to be healthy. But, we also know that drinking excessively is unhealthy, particularly for women. And so, it’s really important to understand dosage. Most people probably never even looked on a bottle of wine and know what the alcohol is in it. But it’s a cornerstone of what we do.
Ben: And I should interrupt you and say that even the studies that show it’s about two glasses of wine per day, if you look at a lot of the studies that lower risk of mortality by between 15% and 20%. That’s the basics of it. But, these are not giant fishbowl size glasses of wine.
Todd: Yeah. There are five or six ounces.
Ben: And a lot of these blue zones, the blue zones are drinking wine that is very similar to —
Todd: That’s naturally made.
Ben: It’s actually you’ve just described, yeah.
Todd: Of the five blue zones, three of them, wine is a staple of their daily diet.
Ben: Yeah. And in some cases, you know we’re talking about last night, sparkling water is added and they’re making sparklers. And so, when we’re talking about two drinks a day, there are definitely differing definitions of what two drinks a day means.
Todd: But, the important thing is that like in Ikaria where they make this very–which Ikaria is one of the blue zones, in Ikaria where they make this home-brew, this wine out of this very specific growth that is native to the land there and they drink it daily, it’s exactly the kind of wines we’re talking about. They’re additive free. They’re lower alcohol. They’re made there. They’re 100% natural. They are fermented with native yeast.
Ben: They’re really damn tasty too.
Todd: Right, right. They’re fermented with native yeast. They’re exactly what we’re talking about here. But, dosage really matters. So, most of the wines I drink, and the wines we were drinking last night were between 10.5% and 11.5% or 12% alcohol. We’re about to introduce a 6% wine.
Ben: Six percent.
Todd: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, we’re super focused–
Ben: It’s like the kombucha.
Todd: Yeah. We’re super focused on lowering the alcohol dosage while still having an extraordinary taste experience. And the one thing you know about our wines, and you experienced last night where we probably tasted six or eight wines, is that they’re really extraordinary, and they have this kind of life and energy and spirituality about them. It’s not like drinking a factory product. It’s like drinking from someone’s heart and soul.
Ben: Yeah. You got a lot of character.
Todd: A lot of spirit, man, just life inside. Then one of the reasons they have that life–we talked about this last night. One of the reasons that they have that life–and Dr. David Perlmutter, who I know you’re friends with. Dr. David Perlmutter, who also endorses our wines as do most of the health leaders in the United States, just recently did a blog post on natural wines and gut-friendly microbiome because the reason these wines are filled with life and character and soul and energy is because they haven’t been killed with sulfur dioxide. So, what happens with commercial wines is they get a big dose of commercial, a big dose of sulfur dioxide at the time of bottling to sterilize the wine, to kill any possible living bacteria in it, and to deaden the wine.
Ben: It’s like going to the store and buying Dannon yogurt because you heard yogurt was good for your gut.
Todd: Exactly the same deal. And so everything has been killed in it. But with this natural wine, it’s still alive. It has this energy and spirit, the spirit that is the farm where it came, the terawatt. Let me touch on the irrigation, which I said I mentioned. And the reason that irrigation is, A, so damaging to the life of the vine and the character of the fruit, an irrigated grapevine has a root ball about two or three feet across and about two or three feet deep, because it gets all of its water and nutrient in the way of liquid nitrogen. It gets all of its water and nutrient from this little hose that drips just above the truck.
Ben: Yeah. It doesn’t have to go deep.
Todd: The un-irrigated grapevine will, at maturity, have roots that can span 50 to 60 feet deep. These tiny hair-like capillaries that are breaking apart tiny, tiny pieces of rock and soil, once it gets below a couple of meters or four or five feet, it’s now into rock; the topsoil level has dissipated and now were into kind of minerals. And so there’s a reason these living natural wines have great minerality and a great spirit because the vine is struggling. And this struggle creates character in the fruit, just like resistance of any kind creates power, strength, and character even in humans. Resistance is key to the advancement of life and power and strength. Well, the vine is the same way. The vine is struggling. It’s not lazy. It’s not being fed. It is struggling for its life to create the most beautiful berry, the most beautiful wineberry. The vine doesn’t care anything about wine. The vine’s job is to create the most delicious fruit so that the bird will choose their fruit and propagate their seed. That’s what the vine is doing. The vine is focused on creating its very best of self so that the bird will choose its fruit to eat.
Ben: It’s interesting.
Todd: Right? And so the vine doesn’t care anything about wine, right? So this struggle against the earth and to find these nutrients in these specks of water to feed itself and the struggle against its neighbor, which is why vines are planted close together intentionally so it creates a struggle. But the irrigated grapevine, which is 99% of the wines in the world are irrigated. More than 99% of wines in United States are irrigated. The vine is lazy and it produces lazy fruit. Now, why do you irrigate a grapevine? Let’s just talk about that for a moment. Why would you irrigate a grapevine? Grapevines have been living in healthy and beautiful existence for over 10,000 years around the world.
Well, my friend, you irrigate a grapevine for greed. It’s about money because an irrigated grapevine has a higher yield, and an irrigated grapevine has fruit that weighs more because guess what, when you fill the berry with water, it weighs more. Well, fruit is sold by the ton. So, you irrigate for money. And so, that’s what’s happened in the wine industry is the same thing that’s happened in our food industry.
Ben: Yeah. You know, now it makes sense. This is the way that I am thinking about this. I go out to my land and I collect wild mint and wild nettle and Oregon grape root and all manner of wild plants because, and we know this is one of the prevailing characteristics of blue zones, plants that are stressed pass on mild hormetic stressors to the human body. We step up our own endogenous antioxidant production, and that confers an anti-aging effect, even apart from the sirtuins and the resveratrol and the polyphenols and the flavonoid and all these other components. Your body, in the same way that sauna and exercise and cold, is unable to bounce back stronger and live longer.
Non-irrigated wine is giving you a plant that has been subjected to greater environmental stressors and then passes the ability to be able to withstand stressors onto you. I’ve never thought about–you know, I’ve thrown around the term for dry-farm but I never really thought about it that way and it makes sense just from the pillar of longevity and of course from a natural standpoint. And of course, screw you, Todd, because I can’t go to a steakhouse now, just like I can’t go to a steakhouse and enjoy like a nice flame and yawn unless I know it’s grass-fed grass-finished. I can’t go to steakhouse now and order a cub without thinking about those 72 different toxins. So, I’ve turned myself into a little bit of a snob.
Todd: Yeah, exactly. And I really appreciate you constantly. This is not related to wine but this is so important, it’s also so important for butter, is that when you talk about grass-fed, you always say grass-fed, grass-finished.
Ben: Grass-finished, yeah.
Todd: Yeah. I mean, because it’s —
Ben: That’s important. It can be grass-fed and then spend a [01:12:34] ______ corn and grain.
Todd: Grain-finished. Right.
Ben: So, I’ve gotten a few boxes of Dry Farm that arrived at my house and it’s got different varieties of bottles in it that you’ve handpicked and hand-selected. I mean, you’ve got a sparkling wine, those wonderful orange wines that we are drinking last night, dark reds, light reds, whites, a pretty big variety that I know you guys select and then ship out. When someone becomes a customer of Dry Farm Wines, is that how it works? Is it on a monthly basis that you receive like a box of wines?
Todd: It can be any frequency that they want. Most of our customers receive wines from us, from most of our members. We also have customers. So, we have customers who buy kind of one time but in bulk.
Ben: You can buy à la carte if you want to.
Todd: Well, not exactly. I mean, I can explain that to you in a moment. But, most of our customers are members and they receive wine either monthly or every other month. However, they can receive any frequency they want once a quarter, twice a year, whatever frequency they want. They can choose that frequency. But most of our customers are regular wine drinkers and want to be able to drink a healthier product on a regular basis, so most of them receive shipments from us monthly or every other month. If you’re on our email list, if you sign up for our email list, we also send out special promotions a couple of times a month that allow people to buy one off, you know, to buy a single box of wine.
But most of our customers are members and they receive in that, or if they buy a special offer, they receive a hand-curated selection. Never the same bottle, never the same wines. Every month, they’re getting different wines, different varietals. They can choose all red. They can choose a mixed box. They can choose all white.
Ben: Yeah. It’s like my olive oils I get from Australia, Spain, Italy, all over the world. Yeah.
Todd: Right. The only criteria is that these wines are lab tested by us, that they meet all of our criteria, all of our farming and cellar practices, and all that are outlined on our website, all of our requirements, as well as all the many health endorsements that we have around the world. So, you can see all that on our website, but we hand-curate a selection in every box. So, every box is different. So, you’re not getting the same wine over and over again. And the beautiful thing about that, we were talking about the name of my dog this morning and we actually drank one of these wines last night.
Todd: Yeah, Pinot. My favorite grape in the world is Pineau d’Aunis, which is grown exclusively in a small part of France. And, I just named a recent puppy pineau, which is spelled P-I-N-E-A-U, not P-I-N-O-T. And so, the extraordinary thing is when you receive this box of this magical kind of spiritual handcrafted family wines–
Ben: Freshly packed by meditative grateful warehouse workers.
Todd: Packed by the Zen warehouse. When you get this box of these wines, they’re oftentimes grapes you’ve never heard of because Americans only know the top eight grapes that the American industry has embraced. The most popular one is Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the great king of the Napa Valley where I live here. And so, Americans only know Merlot or Pinot or Cabernet or Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc. That’s the wines they know. But when they receive this box of these magical elixirs, these magical wines, these living spiritual wines packed by the Zen warehouse, when they receive that, they are getting a chance to taste varieties they’ve never heard of from all over the world. It’s kind of like taking a trip. It’s like travelling. It’s like going to a European wine country and discovering wines that you had no idea existed, and therefore, no idea that you would love them, and embrace this taste experience.
Ben: Yeah. That’s the cool thing is that you can gather on and trial these new wines. I know that you told me before we started recording that people if they’re listening and they were patient enough to make it through this entire show–
Todd: I don’t know how long it’s been here.
Ben: I don’t know. I should have a glass of clock before we started. They can get wine for a penny?
Todd: Yes. So, you can get a penny bottle from us as a thank you and then thank you from Ben and the introduction to–
Ben: It’s better than Two-Buck Chuck.
Todd: Right, right, right. So, you can get a penny bottle. It’s super simple to find this offer. It’s online. It’s DryFarmWines.com/ben, B-E-N.
Todd: That’s it, that’s it.
Ben: Yeah. You get a bottle of wine for a penny.
Todd: That’s it.
Ben: I like it. I like it. And I know that there are a lot of other things that people can get after listening to this podcast, but I recommend to go along with that bottle of wine. Grab the book, “The Master Key” by Charles Haanel, and also “The Power of Now.” I have been taking notes as Todd’s been talking and I’m creating some very robust shownotes for you where you can take a deeper dive into all of this stuff, including the science of wine and the science of Dry Farms Wines especially over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/dryfarms. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/dryfarms over there. I’ll also put a link to where you can get the bottle of wine for a penny, or you can just go to DryFarmWines.com/ben.
Todd, I think we’ll probably have to have a round two because I didn’t even get a chance to dive into your morning ritual. You are a wealth of information. We didn’t even touch on some of these. I know you’re biohacker. You’ve got even more details in the fasting, the ketosis. So, we will have a round two, as long as you promise me it can be sitting in your back porch there in beautiful Napa Valley because this is–opening the kimono. I took off my shirt halfway through this episode to soak up some more rays of sunlight.
But Todd, dude, thank you so much for being who you are, for creating the company that you’ve created, and also really giving others a good example for company culture. I can learn from you for Kion, I think, and incorporate a lot of this meditation and gratitude into my own company. And, thank you for making amazing wines that we can drink five to six glasses of guilt-free every night.
Todd: My brother, we are so grateful to have you here sharing your love and bringing your wife who I’ve met before, but it was such a treasure and treat to have her here. If you really want to experience the Dry Farm’s culture, go to DryFarmWines.com/jobs and join our family.
Ben: There you go. Boom. Alright, folks. We’re on Ben Greenfield along with Todd White, founder of Dry Farm Wines, signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Yep, you read that correctly. You’ll hear about that and much more on today’s podcast.
My bio on Todd White is extremely short.
Fanatical biohacker. Wears the same uniform every day. Starts every morning with 40 minutes of meditation. Eats one meal a day. Drinks a bottle of wine each night.
And that’s about it.
But this guy runs incredibly deep.
In today’s podcast, recorded after I did a meditation session with the entire team at Todd’s Dry Farm Wines office in Napa Valley, we have a rich and meaningful conversation about meditation, manifestation, gratitude, fasting, and, of course, everything you need to know about organic wine.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-The morning ritual that Todd and his team do together every morning…6:13
- They start work at 10 am to allow team members to “protect their mornings.”
- “Circle of love.” Usually lasts 60-90 minutes.
- Breath work
- Gratefulness therapy
- It’s not a day of work; it’s a day of creating.
- Todd sees himself in the “health” business, in addition to the taste business.
- The warehouse workers are the most poignant example of the efficacy of this practice.
- Warehouse workers are typically treated as objects by leadership.
- Todd sees them as the center of love, energy and light.
- It causes them to want to contribute and create.
-The stringent hiring practices Todd uses to ensure the right people are hired…12:54
- BTW, Dry Farm Wines is hiring! com/jobs
- The job descriptionsinclude everything about the company, including the “Peace and Profit Manifesto”.
- First rule: “We lead with love.”
- Life, not business, questions; essay format.
- Designed to be self-selecting; they want people to “opt out” if they don’t see themselves as a good fit.
-Some of the unconventional work practices that Dry Farm Wines uses to balance life and work….17:08
- Happiness is an internal mechanism of joy.
- Todd sees one of his role as a mentor and guide to his employees.
- The actual time of production or creation is around 6 hours.
- Very rare “emails to all”; no “reply all” at all.
- Unlimited paid time off.
- They don’t sell any domestic wines; all grapes are from small organic farms in Europe.
- Sharing the culture of the company is as important as promoting the actual product at events, trade shows, etc.
- Communal meals; great parties.
-The process by which Todd came to create a company with such a unique culture…26:00
- Became an entrepreneur at the age of 17.
- Experienced a “grand failure” before founding DFW.
- Senior health care; 40+ employees.
- Good concept, but was in it for the wrong reasons.
- The things we say “no” to are more important the things we say “yes” to.
- Led to discovering meditation.
- Developed a set of 18 business rules; from that became DFW.
- In constant ketosis due to a daily 22 hour fast.
- You see a difference between grapes grown on a small family farm and organic grapes at a market.
-Todd’s tips for eating once per day…36:12
- It’s more psychological than based on physical needs.
- Helps to be in ketosis.
- Adds a lot of time to the day for work.
- Reduces decision fatigue.
- It’s important to be around likeminded people; creates accountability.
-Todd’s definition of “biohacking” and how he applies it to his own life…45:24
- “The art and science of how our behavior influences our biological and neurological outcome.”
- Proverb: “To feel is to understand”
- You can feel when someone is beneficial for your body.
- Meditation is a practice, and has an aggregate benefit over time.
- Began meditating twice daily.
- Minimum of 20 minutes.
- Todd attributes the success of his business to meditation.
- Meditation allows us to quiet the mind.
- We live in traumatic thought.
- 95% of thoughts we have are thoughts we had yesterday.
- Teaches us to live in the present moment; stop the trauma of thought.
- Attachment leads to suffering.
- Meditation teaches us to look past the attachment to thoughts which block the abundance we were granted at our birth.
- It’s impossible to be grateful and fearful at the same time.
- Before we can do, we must be.
-Thoughts on The Master Key by Charles Haanel…54:42
- We’re all manifesting. The question is: what are you manifesting, and are you using the tools to manifest in the correct way?
- Also recommended: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
- Doesn’t offer a “prescription”: It offers an understanding.
- Was initially offered as a weekly correspondence course delivered via mail in 1912.
- Words become forms, which become vibrations. (self-fulfilling prophecies.)
-Why Todd started Dry Farm Wines, and what he has learned about wine since then…1:01:15
- Needed a better, healthier way to drink. (DFW is low alcohol.)
- Couldn’t drink alcohol after becoming ketotic.
- Discovered “natural wines” by accident.
- Around .1% of all wine makers are natural wine makers.
- Wines are grown, not made.
- DFW wines are sugar free.
- Fermented with wild, native yeast. Most wines are fermented with GMO yeast.
- “Organic” wine does not mean “natural” or “clean.” It simply means that the grapes are grown organically.
- In the U.S. the FDA approves 76 additives for wine. (Here’s a list of the 76 additives.)
- Natural wines are additive free; no modification in the cellar.
- The dangers of alcohol.
- Dangerous neurotoxin; must be dealt with with care.
- Healthy in small doses (2 glasses per day); toxic in large doses.
- Natural wine is “alive”. It’s like drinking from someone’s heart and soul.
- “They haven’t been killed with sulfur dioxide.” –David Perlmutter
- Irrigation practices.
- An irrigated grape vine has a root ball 2-3′ deep and 2-3′ wide.
- Unirrigated grape vine can go 50-60′ deep.
- Resistance is key to the advancement of life.
- The vine is struggling for its life; brings character to the fruit.
- Irrigated vines produce “lazy” fruit.
- You irrigate for greed.
- Has a higher yield.
- Weighs more with more water; sold by the ton.
Resources from this episode:
-The Master Key System by Charles Haanel
-The Power Of Now
-The Fresh Pressed Olive Oil club Ben is a member of
–Goshas Organics. ODNOVA, polish for renewal, revitalize and rejuvenate, is a unique blend of raw honey and botanicals, which air the body in organically reaching a balanced state. Get 10% off your order when you use discount code “ben10%”!
–Organifi I use Organifi Gold for the perfect golden milk before I go to bed. Use discount code “greenfield” and get 20% off your entire order!
–Zip Recruiter Need quality candidates fast? Zip Recruiter is the smartest way to hire. Use my link and try it out for free!