Wine is a delicious drink to enjoy with a meal or on its own. Savoring a glass of quality wine and tasting the different flavors is an experience that people have enjoyed for centuries.
Did you know there are actually additives and chemicals in non-organic wine that don’t have to be listed as an ingredient? Who you purchase your wine from makes a difference in taste, overall quality, and how you feel when drinking it.
Here are 5 additives in your wine glass that you may not even know are there:
Ever heard of Roundup? The main ingredient in this common herbicide is glyphosate. This chemical has been studied and shown to possibly cause cancer, depression, and neurological disease over years of exposure. The chemicals sprayed in the vineyard and onto the soil can seep into the wine you sip on. Though exposure is fairly minimal in a single glass of wine, when you are looking at the big picture of all of the food you eat and add in years of consumption, it is worth choosing organic wines. Not to worry, organic, biodynamic and natural wines are produced sans glyphosate.
Sounds like some kind of villain in a sci-fi movie right? Actually, Mega Purple is an ingredient made from concentrated grape juice that is used in low quality wine to enhance the color and sweetness, and hide vegetal flavors that are harder to sell to the masses. Mega Purple is used in cheap wines to make it seem more complex than it is, but it is also used in many more expensive wines to cater to the current trend of favoring really rich and dark colors in the wine glass. Avoid these imposter wines by choosing organic, biodynamic, and natural wines from producers you trust, which are processed with high quality grapes. Your wine will taste better and you won’t have purple stained teeth for your romantic dinner.
Genetically Modified Yeast
Yeast is used in wine to convert sugar to alcohol during the fermentation process. In natural winemaking, many winemakers use only the yeast that is naturally occurring on the grapes. However, some companies use a GMO yeast strain to get an extra punch in the vat. These GMO yeast strains increase the rate of fermentation, reduce yeast intolerance to high ethanol levels, and even change the final sensory aspects of the wine. There are many different commercial yeast strains to choose from to create different types of wines, so there is no need to use this GMO yeast to amp up the flavors of the wine unless the grape harvest was not high quality to begin with. Choosing organic and biodynamic wines like we offer in our monthly wine club guarantees that you aren’t consuming these GMO yeast strains.
Fining and Clarifying Agents
Most wines must go through the fining process to smooth the texture and avoid the wine turning cloudy. However, if you are a vegan or sensitive to dairy or eggs, you may be consuming animal products without your knowledge. Casein (a protein derived from milk) and egg whites are very common additives for fining and clarifying wine as it is bottled. While this is not toxic, if you have food sensitivities, this matters. Organic, biodynamic and natural wines will typically list the products used in processing the wine. Many of these winemakers also prefer the natural look of wine that hasn’t been fined, filtered, or clarified – so you will get to enjoy a natural wine that is a bit cloudy and has sediment in the bottle.
The use of sulfites in the winemaking process has been happening for thousands of years. Yes, it is an unavoidable part of the production of your beloved spirit. Similarly to yeast however, the amount of sulfites in your wine does depend on the quality. There are some wines that are made sulfite-free, for those with true sensitivities, though they may not taste the same. Are sulfites bad? Not necessarily, but natural, biodynamic and organic wines contain less of them than their grocery store counterparts.
Winemakers are often judged according to a rating system created by wine connoisseur, Robert Parker. Parker is one of the most influential wine critics in history. Wines are rated on a hundred point rating scale. Winemakers feel a pressure to resort to extremes in order to achieve higher scores. The “see, swirl, smell, sip, swish and swallow” ratings are what determine their scores. Rather than take the time necessary to achieve a fine wine, mass produced wines become imposters, as they strive to game the system to get the most points possible.
Just like any food and beverage choices we make, choosing organic when possible is always a better option. Additives can be avoided for the most part, or at least consumed in healthier amounts. The quality of wine depends on the care taken in the process. As you may guess, organic, biodynamic and natural wines are made with great care. Choose one of these wines and you can be sure you are drinking all-around the best wine that’s out there.
BTW, natural and delicious wines don't have to be expensive. Have you tried any of ours yet?Start tasting now