Wine labels lack vital information

Wine labels
Wine labels

Health authorities are always concerned about food labels, and insist that manufacturers list all ingredients on labels or packages. Wine labels lack vital information. Nutritional information is also regulated. Yet vital information somehow becomes obfuscating rather than clarifying.

For example, a serving of one cup (in different countries cup size changes, and in some people don’t use cups to measure), of the food covers your daily requirements. This is totally unclear. Obviously, a child’s nutritional requirements differ widely to that of an adult.

In addition to all the above, food labels fail to state the ingredient, but the Codex alimentaris number i.e E 621 fro MSG, E 334 for tartaric acid, E 330 citric acid, E 220 sulphur dioxide, just to name a few.

Food manufacturers spend a lot of money on lobbyists to prevent comprehensive and meaningful labelling from becoming law in North America, and for that matter in EU countries.

In the case of wine, winemakers as well as brewers are allowed to use a lot of additives (at last count the number was 250 for wine), yet, no label or back label lists any of those used with the exception of sulphur dioxide because the law stipulates it).

Ridge Vineyards in California was the first to list on its labels, the varieties of grapes used, and proportions in the blend. A good start.

It is baffling why food manufacturers must list all ingredients, albeit in Codex alimentaris jargon (which very people understand or care to look up), yet winemakers do not have to comply with such a law. Maybe they employ the services of very effective lobbyists.

These days, chemists can and do create all kinds of new chemicals that can correct problems.

If a wine happens to contain very high levels of acidity, it can be partially de-acidified; if on the other hand it doesn’t, tartaric – or citric acid will take of the problem. If a wine has too much alcohol, say 15.5 ABV, the entire batch can be shipped to a specialized laboratory to lower it to a predetermined level, or simply a certain amount of water can be added to dilute it.

Some winemakers do just that, others prefer to remove alcohol, to achieve the “sweet point” of the wine in question. There are a lot of other processes winemakers use to alter the concentration of grapes.

Filters are now so advanced that you can filter any wine to absolute clarity at a cost of removing flavouring agents, or flavons. It is time for legislators both in North America and EU to force winemakers to list all the addictives on the back label of each bottle, rather than provide meaningless descriptions of taste.

Wine is supposed to be a natural product produced from grape juice fermented by yeasts on the skin of the fruit, and nothing more.

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