Updated: Mar 13, 2022
I'm a wine lover. I love everything about wine! I love visiting wineries, learning how they are made, and tasting a variety of wines from around the world. I love the stories behind wine, and the uniqueness of every wine I encounter. I've visited vineyards in the Napa Valley, in the Texas Wine Country, in France, Spain and I have a trip to Oregon to visit the Willamette Valley later this year!
I believe that wine can be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy, happy lifestyle. Red wine in particular offers many health benefits, including antioxidants, boosting the immune system, reducing the risk of heart disease, and more.
Picture this: you are winding down after a long day, cooking your family a nice dinner and drinking a glass of your favorite red wine. Or perhaps it's a sunny day and you are outside enjoying a meal with friends and family, sipping on a chilled Rosé. Wine, like food, has a way of bringing people together, and often brings feelings of comfort, community, relaxation and fun.
But what if I told you that glass of wine is actually just a glass full of chemicals and sugar? You might not have such a nostalgic feeling about it!
The problem is not the wine itself, but the quality of the wine and how it was made. (Okay, and for some it might be the quantity of wine you are consuming... too much of a good thing is NOT great!).
What's in My Wine?
Unfortunately, in America, most companies put profits before people, and therefore add all sorts of chemicals, preservatives, and sugars to wine in order to yield a higher volume and uniformity in their wine.
It is also very common for the grapes to be sprayed with pesticides, and those pesticides absorb into the grapes and make their way through the process into your wine glass.
The FDA has HUNDREDS of additives that are approved for consumer goods. It's actually really scary (and overwhelming!) how many chemicals are on this list and the side effects of them. Here's a list of some of the commonly found additives in wine:
Pesticides- The US has no standards for pesticides in wine. An independent test showed that 10/10 California wines showed traces of glyphosate (used in Monsanto's RoundUp weedkiller). Glyphosate has been linked to Alzheimer's, multiple forms of cancer, and many other health issues.
Copper Sulfate- a fungicide used in farming. A study by Cornell showed that vineyard sprayers experienced liver disease with chronic exposure.
Mega Purple- This is a super-concentrated coloring agent. All the best-selling wines (especially the less-expensive wines) contain it. In short, it's used to add color and uniformity to crappy grapes, and to wines that are cheaply made or maybe didn't turn out as expected.
Added Sugars- Used to increase the alcohol content of the wine, and also to mask the taste of crappy/cheaply made wine.
Other additives include Genetically Modified Ingredients, Defoaming Agents, Citric Acid, Carbon Dioxide and Yeast Additives.
Consider the Environment
An important factor to consider is the farming methods of the wine. Remember that everything you choose to consume has a nutritional, ecological, economical, and social impact- make sure you are creating positive impact! It's important to drink wine that is sustainably farmed.
How to Shop For Chemical-Free Wine
Here's a list of labels to look for when shopping for wine.
This is the best option. This means the winemaker cannot use any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers. It can still contain other additives, but if it's a US wine, it cannot contain sulfites.
This is a certification from the independent Demeter Association. It means that the farmer used holistic growing practices and that no chemicals or additives are allowed, but do note that biodynamic wine can still contain sulfites.
"Made with Organic Grapes"
This means the grapes are organic but the wine might still contain sulfites since the wine itself is not certified organic. There could potentially be other additives, too- but certainly a better option than non-organic grapes.
Sustainability in Practice (SIP) means that both natural and human resources were protected during the winemaking. This rigorous certification ensures transparency and absence of conflict of interest.
"Organic" Might Not Always Be Labeled
It's very difficult and expensive to get the above certifications, so many times, winemakers are in fact using organic and/or biodynamic methods, but they don't have the label. If you are visiting a winery, ask your sommelier about their farming practices and what additives they use- they should be well-informed. You can also call or email them directly, or visit their website. If you have a local wine shop, get to know the person who works there- they are probably very passionate about wine and either have the answers or can find out for you.
Take the Guesswork Out of Wine with Scout & Cellar
I'm excited to annouce an exclusive partnership between Holistic in Houston and Scout & Cellar. This is a great option to take all of the work out of finding clean wine-a source who does it for you, and delivers it right to your door!
About Scout & Cellar
Did you know that your favorite bottle of wine can have up to 300 different pesticides, preservatives, and chemicals added to it? It can also have up to 16 grams of added sugar, which is like eating a glazed donut! This is all approved by the FDA and unfortunately wine makers get away with this because they are not required to add a label!
That’s where our company comes in! Our wines are organic and vegan and we never add any preservatives, pesticides or chemicals to any of them! We also don’t add sugar which makes our wines Keto and Paleo friendly!! Here at Scout & Cellar, we believe wine should be just grapes! People have no idea what junk is in their wines, so we are here to change the wine world, one bottle at a time!