Disclosing Ingredients on Wine Labels

I think it’s only a matter of time till wine, and all drinks, will have to disclose ingredients. The consumer is entitled to know what’s in a drink. It will be interesting to see if wine’s contact with oak barrels or oak chips will be considered an ingredient! Is a flavouring an ingredient?

Bonny Doon Winery (California) has just announced that it will list ingredients starting with its 2007 wines. This might be a bit of a publicity stunt (at which Bonny Doon are masters) but owner Randall Grahm says it is primarily an internal discipline, and hopes others in the industry will also try for more natural wines.

Flavourings may not be the issue here but I have been asked to comment on my recent statement that most best selling wines are flavoured. Generally speaking the bigger the brand the more likely it has been flavoured. Flavourings are not necessarily bad or harmful (in small doses) ““ they just make inexpensive ingredients taste better. A lot like fast food. If you can tell the difference between processed soup and homemade, you will be able to spot doctored wine. A rush of sweetness and the perfume of vanilla are the most common wine flavourings.

Of all the wines out there Chardonnay and Shiraz are the most doctored because these wines appeal to folks who like a big show, and it’s easiest to hide stuff in a big show. You can’t doctor Dry Riesling.

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