When you reach for that glass of wine, rarely do you think about what is inside except for the grapes.
We know that wine is mainly grape liquid. Look at the picture below.
Like bread, wine is a shelf stable product originally intended to preserve nutrients that would otherwise go unused or rot in nature. Both modern chemical advances and growing demand for affordable wines worldwide have transformed production techniques around the world, in the same way that factory-produced bread has replaced its home-baked equivalent made from three ingredients. In both instances, food and flavor chemists have gotten in on the trend, as well as the profits, that come with industrial-sized production.
Wine is a shelf product intended to preserve it's nutrient which would otherwise rot in nature.
New Chemical knowledge and product combine with rising demand for unexpensive wine has change the winemaking technique in the same way as other common product found in grocery store like bread.
We went from the simple, 3 ingredients, home cook bread to the industrialized bread filled with many other ingredients to help extend the shelf life, increase color and flavor and obviously the corporation margin.
The same has happen with Many high volume wines contain additives, sulphites and sometimes animal derivatives are used in the fining process like Gelatin.
Why wine additives are being use?
1st: Most are harmless (when used correctly).
2nd: It improve the organoleptic qualities (taste and smell) as well as the stability and the color.
Although 100% vegetarian additive are available many wineries still use the following as fining agent:
Albumen (Egg white), Milk, Isinglass (Dried swim bladders of fish)
Then you have the Gelatin which is a mixture of peptides and proteins produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the skin, boiled crushed horn, hoof and bones, connective tissues, organs and some intestines of animal.
And finally you have the Stabilizers
Besides sulfur, there are a few other common wine stabilizers.
Acetaldehyde for color stabilization of juice prior to concentration: The amount used must not exceed 300 ppm, and the finished concentrate must have no detectable level of the material. This is something that happens naturally in grapes although some people claim it causes severe headaches.
Dimethyl Dicarbonate (DMDC) Used to sterilize and to stabilize wine as well as dealcoholized wine. It is approved for use in the U.S., the EU, and Australia.
It's interesting to note that the additive are classify in 2 categories:
The Common: Use in Standard winemaking
- Antiseptic. Filtration, Fermentation, Fining, organic management, stabilization
The Corrective: Use to solve problem in winemaking
- Polyphenol management, Hydrogen Sulfide, Enrichment, De-Enrichment, Acidification, De-Acidification
For more information see the nice sketch on winefolly website.
In face of this, maybe Natural small boutique wines is a good altenative. If you think so, we have more than 45% of our portfolio that is made of natural wine the other 55% are made in small batch by family own and operated vineyard.
source: The Independant, Winefolly