A recent news article discusses "natural wine" made with grape juice fermented by native yeast, with nothing else added.

It is common practice to add sulfur in the form of sodium or potassium metabisulfite as a sterilizing agent and preservative.  It is also common to add chemicals to raise (calcium carbonate) or lower (tartaric, malic, and/or citric acids) pH.  Yeast nutrients (vitamins, ammonium dihydrogen phosphate), sugar, tannin, fining agents (egg white, dairy products, isinglass, pepsin, trypsin) and pectinase are also common additives.

What about flavorings or colorings, either natural or artificial?  Some fruit-flavored wines are labeled "natural fruit flavor added."  The referenced article suggests that artificial coloring is sometimes used.  Given the great lengths that I go to to avoid artificial flavorings and dyes in my food, it would be distressing to learn they are present in wine.

Are wines sold in the US required to list additives on the label?  Are American, French, or Italian wines permitted to contain artificial dyes or flavorings?

Original Post

I don't know about added flavorings, but US wines are allowed to add colorants (Megapurple being a commonly used one). 

I suppose one could say that wood chips are a flavoring, as is tannin powder, both of which are used here (mostly in lower end wines).

Good replies.  There should be full disclosure of all ingredients on the label, as with other prepared foods and beverages.  Such regulation should not make the mistakes made by California's Proposition 65, which has resulted in so many warning labels on so many things that the warnings are widely ignored and essentially meaningless.

There is a difference between an additive used in the winemaking process, and an additive that is present in the wine itself at bottling.  Acids occur naturally in the wine, so manipulation of the acidic profile  isn't considered an ingredient to be listed.  Fining agents will bond with  undesired compounds in the wine, then are filtered off or racked off, so no longer present in the wine. Yeast nutrients and additives used during the winemaking process are consumed by the yeast culture during primary fermentation, or the bacteria culture in malolactic fermentation, so again are not present in the finished product.  The only additions to wine that would be present in the finished product are tannin compounds from oak or tannin additions, added SO2 (however SO2 is also a byproduct of fermentation so will be present in at least a bound form no matter what) and coloring agents such as Mega-Purple, or sugar additions if a winery so chooses.

Please don't make me add an ingredient list to the labels.  I don't have enough room on there for all the crap we already have to put on it already....

Mjraica, thanks for engaging in this dialog.

Orange juice naturally contains citric acid, but if additional citric acid is added, it must be listed in the ingredients.  Wine naturally contains sulfites, but if additional sulfites are added, the label should say so -- as the law requires.  Additives that are present in the finished wine -- flavorings, colorants, and preservatives -- are the first concern.  For additives that are removed or break down before bottling, these could be regulated and disclosed differently, but some items, like those of animal origin, could be important to vegans or others.

What government agency inspects additives like yeast nutrients or enzymes for purity, to make sure they don't have contaminants, or that they don't yield unintended byproducts?

There is a certain wine that famously has a "mint" or "menthol" note in the bouquet.  This is romantically attributed to a certain type of tree growing near the vineyard.  How do we know the winemaker isn't just adding add mint flavoring to the wine?

We need sensible full disclosure of what's in the bottle.  Including the glass.  What government agency makes sure it doesn't contain heavy metals that could leach into the wine?  I wouldn't drink wine at all if I wasn't confident that it was healthy in moderation.  Full disclosure would help with that reassurance.

gregt posted:

Here's a WS article from 2013.

In addition to the additives, there may be bugs, bird shit, spiders, spider webs, moths, caterpillars, insect eggs, toe cheese if the grapes were foot stomped, and various other proteinaceous treats.

https://www.winespectator.com/...poses-problems-48524

As with all foods as well, contamination with teeny amounts of unmentionables occurs.  Given what Greg T has written, I wonder if vegetarians should eschew wine due to the bugs, etc.

Personally, if a label said "Contains trace amounts of bugs, bird shit, spiders, etc." I would pass on the purchase of that wine.  I'd rather not know.

The TTB regulates everything within wine production, including packaging, with support from other agencies.

Good article: https://www.packaginglaw.com/s...d-level-complexity-0

Currently, alcohol packaging doesnt' require an ingredients list, and I would hazard to guess a part of that is because when, how, and how much of any addition is so strictly regulated that additions fall underneath legal requirements for inclusion.  To use the citric acid example, there is a legal limit for how much you can add (don't know it off the top of my head).  And, TBH a winemaker wouldn't want to add much of it in any case as citric acid is a potential food source for rogue yeast/bacteria. 

 

javachip posted:

G....Such regulation should not make the mistakes made by California's Proposition 65, which has resulted in so many warning labels on so many things that the warnings are widely ignored and essentially meaningless......

The only point of Prop 65 was as a GOTV proposition for Tom Bradley.  He still lost.

irwin posted:
gregt posted:

Here's a WS article from 2013.

In addition to the additives, there may be bugs, bird shit, spiders, spider webs, moths, caterpillars, insect eggs, toe cheese if the grapes were foot stomped, and various other proteinaceous treats.

https://www.winespectator.com/...poses-problems-48524

As with all foods as well, contamination with teeny amounts of unmentionables occurs.  Given what Greg T has written, I wonder if vegetarians should eschew wine due to the bugs, etc.

Personally, if a label said "Contains trace amounts of bugs, bird shit, spiders, etc." I would pass on the purchase of that wine.  I'd rather not know.

I'd rather not know as well. I was appalled when, as a kid, we looked at apple cider under a microscope. Lots of living little worms in there.

Much later I worked with a guy who was very involved in the orthodox community in Brooklyn. I'd bring things back to the office from the green market and offer them to folks I worked with but he never accepted. I asked why and he told me that it was a real big deal in his congregation because some people had found small aphids or something on some cabbage, and suddenly it wasn't parve any more, so he had some guy inspect all of his fruit and vegetables with a magnifying glass under bright lights to see if there were any insects or bugs.

Apparently he was right because my wife insisted that I soak some broccoli in a vinegar/salt water solution before cooking it. I'd brought it back from the market and was told it was organic.  Sure enough, after a few minutes very tiny insects were floating in the water. You would think they were pieces of broccoli but with a magnifying glass it was apparent that they weren't. So my wife no longer eats broccoli. Not for any religious reason, but because she's grossed out with the idea that she may inadvertently eat a bug.

gregt posted:
brought it back from the market and was told it was organic.  Sure enough, after a few minutes very tiny insects were floating in the water. ....
 

Organic by default pretty much means bugs happen.  Soaking is a good idea for any organic fruit or veggie.  I soak everything coming out of my garden.  I've said for years there is no such thing as vegan.  It's just a matter of the prejudice you have about the size of the animal you're eating and if it was consumed directly or was a casualty of processing.  

The huge volume producers have opposed wine labeling for years.  I support it 100%.  I think we have a great story to tell, especially above the bottom 4-5 shelves of the super market.

Fresh Grapes

Spent Yeast Hulls

Sulfates (which I already have to put on and with labeling laws I could put 'contains less than 1%' of both the yeast hulls and Sulfates)

That would be 90% of my labels.

The other 10% would include:

Yeast

Tartaric Acid

Hardly scary stuff.

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