Mega Purple and Pinot Noir

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#101 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 6th, 2018, 11:42 am

larry schaffer wrote:
Doug Schulman wrote:
ky1em!ttskus wrote:Larry, the answer to your question is no. Food labels don’t disclose every process, just ingredients. Same should go for wine.
That's right. Even Velcorin doesn't need to be listed as an ingredient when it has been added because it has broken down by the time the product gets to the consumer. I understand the complexities of the issue, but many (not all) of them have already been worked out by the food industry. That's something that much of the wine industry conveniently ignores when arguing the case against ingredient labeling.
But then what's to stop a winery from 'doing all kinds of stuff' and not including it on the label? And would there be a 'minimum % needed' to have to be on the label?

Wouldn't it just be better if wineries were HONEST about what they did if asked - and stop painting 'false pictures' on their websites or in their marketing? pepsi newhere [snort.gif]
Yes it would.

It would be a lot more interesting too...
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#102 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 6th, 2018, 12:00 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:So, to this point in the thread, we have zero evidence or even reason for strong suspicion that any pinot noir any of us considers significant to our wine experience uses Mega Purple. Or has other varieties secretly added. Is that a fair statement?
Chris, a couple of years ago I had a conversation with an industry person who had worked briefly for a very significant American Pinot Noir producer and he openly said they used Mega-Purple routinely on the wines. That is total hearsay and not something I would ever pin on the specific winery he mentioned without much more stringent proof.
Also in 2013, we had 6 inches of rain right as harvest was getting going. As things were wrapping up, a friend working at Davison’s winery supply commented on how much MP had been sold that year.

MP is definitely a sticky situation because no one wants to admit to it’s use other than in low-end wines, but the likelihood that it’s limited to that is, IMO, unrealistic. The profit motive between $15 and $70/bottle wines is huge. The motive between selling wine and not selling a wine in a crowded marketplace is even larger.

And consider the idea that Mega-purple is the vinous equivalent of blood doping in competitive cycling.

...and of course none of the top cyclists would be doing that...
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#103 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 6th, 2018, 12:05 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:So, to this point in the thread, we have zero evidence or even reason for strong suspicion that any pinot noir any of us considers significant to our wine experience uses Mega Purple. Or has other varieties secretly added. Is that a fair statement?
Any other variety added in a quantity below 25% (or 10% in Oregon) does not need to be listed on the label. It’s not really secretly added, it’s just not brought up.

When I met and was tasting with Dan Ladera(nice guy and good wines) he stated immediately that there was no Syrah in his Pinot Noir. I asked ifthat was commonplace in wineries around him, and he said that he believed it was.
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#104 Post by Jim Anderson » June 6th, 2018, 12:07 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
Chris Seiber wrote:So, to this point in the thread, we have zero evidence or even reason for strong suspicion that any pinot noir any of us considers significant to our wine experience uses Mega Purple. Or has other varieties secretly added. Is that a fair statement?
Chris, a couple of years ago I had a conversation with an industry person who had worked briefly for a very significant American Pinot Noir producer and he openly said they used Mega-Purple routinely on the wines. That is total hearsay and not something I would ever pin on the specific winery he mentioned without much more stringent proof.
Also in 2013, we had 6 inches of rain right as harvest was getting going. As things were wrapping up, a friend working at Davison’s winery supply commented on how much MP had been sold that year.

MP is definitely a sticky situation because no one wants to admit to it’s use other than in low-end wines, but the likelihood that it’s limited to that is, IMO, unrealistic. The profit motive between $15 and $70/bottle wines is huge. The motive between selling wine and not selling a wine in a crowded marketplace is even larger.

And consider the idea that Mega-purple is the vinous equivalent of blood doping in competitive cycling.

...and of course none of the top cyclists would be doing that...
I'm not surprised but, having been into Davison's and Crush 2 Cellar a million times, I have never seen it. Ever. Do you need like a secret code word to get it. "Yes, Terry, good to see you. Things are going well. However, I could really use to "go to a movie." There's "a movie" playing that I want to see so much I am probably going to 'see it three times.'" Is that how it goes? They have all sorts of horrifying stuff on display at both places so I can't see why MP would be the thing hidden under the counter. Maybe I just have not noticed. The more likely but way less interesting possibility.
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#105 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 6th, 2018, 12:16 pm

Mattstolz wrote:
Marcus Goodfellow wrote:Mega-purple currently falls under the category of amelioration, and is not subject to being counted as a part of the cuvee.
It’s added in very small percentages(<1%), but given the extraordinary concentration, it still makes a very significant impact in the wine(to be fair that is why people use it).

IMO, it should be something that should be regulated and wineries should have to declare to TTB when they purchase it, and also which of their wines they are using the MP for, and how much they are adding.
thanks for the clarification! as for the TTB, i personally think it should be disallowed in AVA stated wines, but unfortunately the fact that it's not highlights one of my biggest issues with the AVA system in the US in general, in that it gives you little to no indication of what to expect from the bottles contents. i understand from the winemaker's side how this is a benefit, but its terrible for consumers. thats an entirely different thread, though.
Actually, as a winemaker I agree with you. It’s bad for consumers and it’s also bad for winemakers in the long term. A lighter wine is a slower sell, and 2007 and 2013 were challenging years for me. However, we did sell the wines, and they evolved beautifully, and I was able to show our consumers the continuity of place in the wines. I made less money, but I also came out with a more aware consumer base.
If every time we have a challenge, half the wines suddenly taste like a Willamette Valley/Languedoc mash-up or worse, then we just confuse people as to who we are. That keeps people from being able to safely invest in Oregon wines. It also allows wineries with lesser sites, less talented staff, and making too much wine to do a good job with the ability to “stay on the team” and dilute the quality of wines produced in the valley.

Please note that I speak specifically to MP here because it falsifies our AVA.

I don’t like must concentrators, etc. but they’re not fraudulent.
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#106 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 6th, 2018, 12:20 pm

Jim Anderson wrote:
Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
Chris Seiber wrote:So, to this point in the thread, we have zero evidence or even reason for strong suspicion that any pinot noir any of us considers significant to our wine experience uses Mega Purple. Or has other varieties secretly added. Is that a fair statement?
Chris, a couple of years ago I had a conversation with an industry person who had worked briefly for a very significant American Pinot Noir producer and he openly said they used Mega-Purple routinely on the wines. That is total hearsay and not something I would ever pin on the specific winery he mentioned without much more stringent proof.
Also in 2013, we had 6 inches of rain right as harvest was getting going. As things were wrapping up, a friend working at Davison’s winery supply commented on how much MP had been sold that year.

MP is definitely a sticky situation because no one wants to admit to it’s use other than in low-end wines, but the likelihood that it’s limited to that is, IMO, unrealistic. The profit motive between $15 and $70/bottle wines is huge. The motive between selling wine and not selling a wine in a crowded marketplace is even larger.

And consider the idea that Mega-purple is the vinous equivalent of blood doping in competitive cycling.

...and of course none of the top cyclists would be doing that...
I'm not surprised but, having been into Davison's and Crush 2 Cellar a million times, I have never seen it. Ever. Do you need like a secret code word to get it. "Yes, Terry, good to see you. Things are going well. However, I could really use to "go to a movie." There's "a movie" playing that I want to see so much I am probably going to 'see it three times.'" Is that how it goes? They have all sorts of horrifying stuff on display at both places so I can't see why MP would be the thing hidden under the counter. Maybe I just have not noticed. The more likely but way less interesting possibility.
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#107 Post by Wes Barton » June 6th, 2018, 3:01 pm

John Morris wrote:Tom -- I think Garry is talking about RO to remove water, not alcohol.

Back in 2001, I tasted fairly extensively in Bordeaux for several days, and I found that the wines at the properties that used RO (a significant proportion) seemed a bit muddy to me -- not precise or transparent. It was hard to know if that was just the RO or was due to the fact that many of these properties were spoofifying in a variety of ways. But I detected a clear pattern. Of course, there it was to concentrate the wines, not reduce alcohol.

Whether RO to lower alcohol leaves any similar tell-tale signs, I don't know.
Zero experience with RO, but I suspect there's a world of difference between using it to fine tune a quality wine and trying to put lipstick on a pig.
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#108 Post by Doug Schulman » June 6th, 2018, 3:53 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
Doug Schulman wrote:
ky1em!ttskus wrote:Larry, the answer to your question is no. Food labels don’t disclose every process, just ingredients. Same should go for wine.
That's right. Even Velcorin doesn't need to be listed as an ingredient when it has been added because it has broken down by the time the product gets to the consumer. I understand the complexities of the issue, but many (not all) of them have already been worked out by the food industry. That's something that much of the wine industry conveniently ignores when arguing the case against ingredient labeling.
But then what's to stop a winery from 'doing all kinds of stuff' and not including it on the label? And would there be a 'minimum % needed' to have to be on the label?
I guess if the residual amounts of whatever treatment(s) we're talking about are so close to zero as to be undetectable, or maybe truly zero, I would ask why we care. I think that would be the case in the examples of fining agents and Velcorin, but I'm not sure. If not, I think reasonable answer to those questions could be reached, even if not everyone would agree. Obviously there is no perfect system. I don't think that's a good reason not to try to have some system and call for transparency in this matter. Alcoholic beverages are consumable goods that are not regulated like most others for no good reason, and I think the secrecy surrounding production methods and even ingredients is encouraged (not caused, but certainly legitimized) by that.
Wouldn't it just be better if wineries were HONEST about what they did if asked - and stop painting 'false pictures' on their websites or in their marketing? pepsi newhere [snort.gif]
I'm definitely on the same page there! I am thankful that you and some of the other winemakers on this forum are willing to have these discussions and be honest in them. It's sad how uncommon that is.
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#109 Post by ericleehall » June 6th, 2018, 4:14 pm

I bet I've been in over 50-100 Pinot Noir production facilities over the decades, and I've never seen it, nor heard of anyone I know using it, nor heard of any accusing anyone I know of using it, nor ever even heard gossip about anyone associated with our oeuvre using it.

Every few years this thread pops with with the same "I hear some big name wineries use it"....

Perhaps they do, but I sure don't have any credible evidence of it, and we do gossip about wine, wineries and winemaking a lot in these parts... there are not a lot of well kept secrets.

Cue the "I heard there is Syrah in Pinot Noir thread"...
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#110 Post by Jason T » June 6th, 2018, 4:55 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
Jim Anderson wrote:
Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
Do you need like a secret code word to get it. "Yes, Terry, good to see you. Things are going well. However, I could really use to "go to a movie." There's "a movie" playing that I want to see so much I am probably going to 'see it three times.'" Is that how it goes? They have all sorts of horrifying stuff on display at both places so I can't see why MP would be the thing hidden under the counter. Maybe I just have not noticed. The more likely but way less interesting possibility.
...the code is, “I need to see Barney”
Wait, you're accusing others of secretly using Mega Purple and yet conveniently YOU KNOW THE SECRET CODE??!?!?!

Just kidding Marcus, I appreciate you fighting the good fight on this one.
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#111 Post by John Morris » June 6th, 2018, 5:43 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
John Morris wrote:Tom -- I think Garry is talking about RO to remove water, not alcohol.

Back in 2001, I tasted fairly extensively in Bordeaux for several days, and I found that the wines at the properties that used RO (a significant proportion) seemed a bit muddy to me -- not precise or transparent. It was hard to know if that was just the RO or was due to the fact that many of these properties were spoofifying in a variety of ways. But I detected a clear pattern. Of course, there it was to concentrate the wines, not reduce alcohol.

Whether RO to lower alcohol leaves any similar tell-tale signs, I don't know.
Zero experience with RO, but I suspect there's a world of difference between using it to fine tune a quality wine and trying to put lipstick on a pig.
It was all classified growth properties I visited. We were tasting '99s and 2000 barrel samples. The amazing thing was that there were a couple of places who even RO'ed to concentrate their 2000s.
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#112 Post by Chris Seiber » June 6th, 2018, 6:05 pm

ericleehall wrote:I bet I've been in over 50-100 Pinot Noir production facilities over the decades, and I've never seen it, nor heard of anyone I know using it, nor heard of any accusing anyone I know of using it, nor ever even heard gossip about anyone associated with our oeuvre using it.

Every few years this thread pops with with the same "I hear some big name wineries use it"....

Perhaps they do, but I sure don't have any credible evidence of it, and we do gossip about wine, wineries and winemaking a lot in these parts... there are not a lot of well kept secrets.

Cue the "I heard there is Syrah in Pinot Noir thread"...
I have in my hand a list of 205 known Mega Purple users within the pinot noir community!

;)

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#113 Post by R. Smith » June 6th, 2018, 7:21 pm

larry schaffer wrote: Let's say a winery uses egg whites to fine a wine. Now, the traditional way of doing this is to stir them into a barrel then, after the egg whites have settled to the bottom and removed unwanted tannins / bitter compounds, the wine is 'racked off' of these and they do not remain in the wine.

Should a winery be required to say that they used these even if they do not remain in the wine at all?
Yes. You and I know the TTB maintains a list of approved materials/additives/processes for wine. If it's on the list, the winery discloses it. Simple.
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#114 Post by larry schaffer » June 6th, 2018, 7:22 pm

R. Smith wrote:
larry schaffer wrote: Let's say a winery uses egg whites to fine a wine. Now, the traditional way of doing this is to stir them into a barrel then, after the egg whites have settled to the bottom and removed unwanted tannins / bitter compounds, the wine is 'racked off' of these and they do not remain in the wine.

Should a winery be required to say that they used these even if they do not remain in the wine at all?
Yes. You and I know the TTB maintains a list of approved materials/additives/processes for wine. If it's on the list, the winery discloses it. Simple.
But why? If none remains in the final product, why do you need to say you use it? I think my 'what a cow eats' analogy is a pretty good one . . .

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#115 Post by mmarcellus » June 7th, 2018, 4:44 am

larry schaffer wrote:
R. Smith wrote:
larry schaffer wrote: Let's say a winery uses egg whites to fine a wine. Now, the traditional way of doing this is to stir them into a barrel then, after the egg whites have settled to the bottom and removed unwanted tannins / bitter compounds, the wine is 'racked off' of these and they do not remain in the wine.

Should a winery be required to say that they used these even if they do not remain in the wine at all?
Yes. You and I know the TTB maintains a list of approved materials/additives/processes for wine. If it's on the list, the winery discloses it. Simple.
But why? If none remains in the final product, why do you need to say you use it? I think my 'what a cow eats' analogy is a pretty good one . . .

Cheers.
If I were allergic to egg whites I would want to know they were used. Maybe the slight residue of the allergan in the wine doesn't present a risk but that would be my (and my doctor's) call to make, not yours. Also, there are people who have ethical objections to any use of eggs in food products, and once again they have a right to make an informed decision as to which wines to buy.
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#116 Post by Adam Lee » June 7th, 2018, 5:27 am

I think the interesting questions on additions to a wine and an "Ingredient" Listing would be adding tartaric acid and chaptalization. Tartaric acid occurs naturally in all wines and yet by most "standards" that I've seen would only be listed if it is added to a wine. In such a case the wine that would have it listed would actually be determined to have been deficient in acid and yet it would present to the consumer as having more acid than a wine that doesn't have it listed.

With chaptalization, I imagine any European producer would be up in arms about having to add the word "sugar" to an ingredient listing since it would make consumers think the wine is sweet when that sugar was converted into alcohol.

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#117 Post by Michae1 P0wers » June 7th, 2018, 7:19 am

mmarcellus wrote:
If I were allergic to egg whites I would want to know they were used. Maybe the slight residue of the allergan in the wine doesn't present a risk but that would be my (and my doctor's) call to make, not yours. Also, there are people who have ethical objections to any use of eggs in food products, and once again they have a right to make an informed decision as to which wines to buy.
This is a good point. I wonder how many vegans are consuming wines fined with egg whites and have no idea. In fact I've been serving wines to vegans for years without ever considering this point... It's mainly my sister who is not militant about it so I'm not too concerned, but it's something I'll consider in the future.

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#118 Post by R. Smith » June 7th, 2018, 8:00 am

larry schaffer wrote:
R. Smith wrote:
larry schaffer wrote: Let's say a winery uses egg whites to fine a wine. Now, the traditional way of doing this is to stir them into a barrel then, after the egg whites have settled to the bottom and removed unwanted tannins / bitter compounds, the wine is 'racked off' of these and they do not remain in the wine.

Should a winery be required to say that they used these even if they do not remain in the wine at all?
Yes. You and I know the TTB maintains a list of approved materials/additives/processes for wine. If it's on the list, the winery discloses it. Simple.
But why? If none remains in the final product, why do you need to say you use it? I think my 'what a cow eats' analogy is a pretty good one . . .

Cheers.
Mark's post hit the nail on the head.
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#119 Post by R. Smith » June 7th, 2018, 8:02 am

Adam Lee wrote:I think the interesting questions on additions to a wine and an "Ingredient" Listing would be adding tartaric acid and chaptalization. Tartaric acid occurs naturally in all wines and yet by most "standards" that I've seen would only be listed if it is added to a wine. In such a case the wine that would have it listed would actually be determined to have been deficient in acid and yet it would present to the consumer as having more acid than a wine that doesn't have it listed.

With chaptalization, I imagine any European producer would be up in arms about having to add the word "sugar" to an ingredient listing since it would make consumers think the wine is sweet when that sugar was converted into alcohol.

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I think a reasonable system would be to list the materials added to the must/wine by the winemaker.
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#120 Post by Adam Lee » June 7th, 2018, 9:10 am

So not an ingredient listing but an additions listing? That’s fine. Not what is done with other food products or by others in the wine business (Ridge for example lists indigenous yeasts) but it’s fair if there is a standard for all wineries including imports to adhere to.

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#121 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 7th, 2018, 10:44 am

mmarcellus wrote:If I were allergic to egg whites I would want to know they were used. Maybe the slight residue of the allergan in the wine doesn't present a risk but that would be my (and my doctor's) call to make, not yours. Also, there are people who have ethical objections to any use of eggs in food products, and once again they have a right to make an informed decision as to which wines to buy.
I don't know how it is in the States, but here across the pond you don't have to disclose anything you've used in the filtering if nothing remains in the final product (IIRC, the threshold for this one was ridiculously small, far lower than anything that would trigger an allergic attack) but if something remains, you have to have label or an additional sticker say it.

Working in wine stores in the past, it was pain in the ass to explain customers every day why this wine "contains egg" and that wine "contains milk".

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#122 Post by ericleehall » June 7th, 2018, 11:07 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:
mmarcellus wrote:If I were allergic to egg whites I would want to know they were used. Maybe the slight residue of the allergan in the wine doesn't present a risk but that would be my (and my doctor's) call to make, not yours. Also, there are people who have ethical objections to any use of eggs in food products, and once again they have a right to make an informed decision as to which wines to buy.
I don't know how it is in the States, but here across the pond you don't have to disclose anything you've used in the filtering if nothing remains in the final product (IIRC, the threshold for this one was ridiculously small, far lower than anything that would trigger an allergic attack) but if something remains, you have to have label or an additional sticker say it.

Working in wine stores in the past, it was pain in the ass to explain customers every day why this wine "contains egg" and that wine "contains milk".
Yeah, and the Gluten people, with their aversion to wheat flour (paste) sometimes used in barrel making.
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#123 Post by Chris Seiber » June 7th, 2018, 2:03 pm

My suspicion is that the real motive here is to embarrass certain wineries which are out of fashion in our group, maybe hurt their sales, rather than there being some sound public health or consumer protection reason that things like egg whites and Mega Purple need to be listed on wine labels.

Let me put it this way — is there some actual problem today in this realm that needs a governmental solution? Who are the victims, and what harm are they suffering? To say nothing of its priority vis a vis other issues.

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#124 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 7th, 2018, 8:28 pm

Michae1 P0wers wrote:
mmarcellus wrote:
If I were allergic to egg whites I would want to know they were used. Maybe the slight residue of the allergan in the wine doesn't present a risk but that would be my (and my doctor's) call to make, not yours. Also, there are people who have ethical objections to any use of eggs in food products, and once again they have a right to make an informed decision as to which wines to buy.
This is a good point. I wonder how many vegans are consuming wines fined with egg whites and have no idea. In fact I've been serving wines to vegans for years without ever considering this point... It's mainly my sister who is not militant about it so I'm not too concerned, but it's something I'll consider in the future.
No offense to vegans, but I have never seen a truly vegan wine. It’s not about what’s added, but the simple truth of insect life in a vineyard(and fruit flies in a cellar)...
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#125 Post by Jim Anderson » June 7th, 2018, 8:54 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
Michae1 P0wers wrote:
mmarcellus wrote:
If I were allergic to egg whites I would want to know they were used. Maybe the slight residue of the allergan in the wine doesn't present a risk but that would be my (and my doctor's) call to make, not yours. Also, there are people who have ethical objections to any use of eggs in food products, and once again they have a right to make an informed decision as to which wines to buy.
This is a good point. I wonder how many vegans are consuming wines fined with egg whites and have no idea. In fact I've been serving wines to vegans for years without ever considering this point... It's mainly my sister who is not militant about it so I'm not too concerned, but it's something I'll consider in the future.
No offense to vegans, but I have never seen a truly vegan wine. It’s not about what’s added, but the simple truth of insect life in a vineyard(and fruit flies in a cellar)...
I’ve run into people asking that question. As a former vegetarian I simply point out that bugs that die on every piece of fruit and vegetable on the planet. If the standard is bugs then you cannot ingest food of any kind.
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#126 Post by mmarcellus » June 7th, 2018, 9:02 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote: No offense to vegans, but I have never seen a truly vegan wine. It’s not about what’s added, but the simple truth of insect life in a vineyard(and fruit flies in a cellar)...
That reminds me of the time I was at a farm stand on the North Fork and the woman in front of me asked "since this lettuce is organic, does that mean I don't have to wash it?", to which the woman behind the counter replied, without missing a beat, "you probably should wash it, especially if you're a vegetarian." And Barbara Shinn liked to point out that in the vineyard the good bugs are carnivores, and the bad bugs are vegetarians.

But, while I can't speak for them, I think that many vegans would say that it's what is added by human agency that really matters.
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#127 Post by Drew Goin » June 7th, 2018, 11:13 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
ericleehall wrote:I bet I've been in over 50-100 Pinot Noir production facilities over the decades, and I've never seen it, nor heard of anyone I know using it, nor heard of any accusing anyone I know of using it, nor ever even heard gossip about anyone associated with our oeuvre using it.

Every few years this thread pops with with the same "I hear some big name wineries use it"....

Perhaps they do, but I sure don't have any credible evidence of it, and we do gossip about wine, wineries and winemaking a lot in these parts... there are not a lot of well kept secrets.

Cue the "I heard there is Syrah in Pinot Noir thread"...
I have in my hand a list of 205 known Mega Purple users within the pinot noir community!

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#128 Post by fred o. » June 7th, 2018, 11:16 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:My suspicion is that the real motive here is to embarrass certain wineries which are out of fashion in our group, maybe hurt their sales, rather than there being some sound public health or consumer protection reason that things like egg whites and Mega Purple need to be listed on wine labels.

Let me put it this way — is there some actual problem today in this realm that needs a governmental solution? Who are the victims, and what harm are they suffering? To say nothing of its priority vis a vis other issues.
I agree with you that in the grand scheme of things, these sorts of additions like Mega Purple probably aren't a big deal, and in absolute terms they aren't physically harmful. But as a principle, it seems deceptive and disingenuous on the part of the winemakers, whether they're respected by the board or not. I suppose you could argue that this would apply to many other additions like dosage for champagne, chaptalization, acid additions, etc., but those seem like relatively minor modifications done to balance a wine, and often listed by more transparent winemakers like Ridge on their labels, whereas Mega Purple and its ilk appear to be meant to majorly modify the "soul" of a wine, with "soul" being of course open to interpretation. To me, it's even more galling that this applies to pinot noir -- a grape varietal that can be so transparent and soulful in the right context.
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#129 Post by Al Osterheld » June 8th, 2018, 6:57 am

To me, it's even more galling that this applies to pinot noir -- a grape varietal that can be so transparent and soulful in the right context.
The fact people mention suspicions about its use with Pinot Noir doesn't mean that's the variety where it's use is most prevalent, outside the mass market category (and maybe even inside).

Dark color, ultra ripe fruit, syrupy texture, RS, how many Pinot specialists are shooting for those qualities? In any case, it wouldn't be difficult to get those qualities out of Pinot Noir if you wanted them, especially in California. If you're looking for varieties that might need that kind of help, I would think Pinot is near the bottom of the list.

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#130 Post by Doug Schulman » June 8th, 2018, 11:07 am

Chris Seiber wrote:My suspicion is that the real motive here is to embarrass certain wineries which are out of fashion in our group, maybe hurt their sales, rather than there being some sound public health or consumer protection reason that things like egg whites and Mega Purple need to be listed on wine labels.

Let me put it this way — is there some actual problem today in this realm that needs a governmental solution? Who are the victims, and what harm are they suffering? To say nothing of its priority vis a vis other issues.
Do you think it would be okay for packaged foods to simply state "nothing dangerous" instead of listing ingredients? Why should alcohol be held to a different standard than most other beverages? I don't think people need to be victims to have a right to know what they are putting into their bodies. I have no agenda to hurt anyone's sales. Many people buy food products with genuinely harmful ingredients, despite the fact that they are listed on the labels, and products with so many ingredients that almost no one would bother to read them all.
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#131 Post by John Morris » June 8th, 2018, 11:51 am

Chris Seiber wrote:My suspicion is that the real motive here is to embarrass certain wineries which are out of fashion in our group, maybe hurt their sales, rather than there being some sound public health or consumer protection reason that things like egg whites and Mega Purple need to be listed on wine labels.
Why do you have to question people's motives for wanting to know?

Personally, I'd like to know if a wine is made with MegaPurple, wood chips or other things that seem like artifices far removed from the fruit. My motive isn't to shame, but if it embarrasses the wineries to admit the use of these things, I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Plainly, people are loathe to admit they use MP.
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#132 Post by ericleehall » June 8th, 2018, 4:46 pm

I looked this up on Wikipedia, and here is one data point:

According to journal reports, Mega Purple is used by almost every low- to moderate-value wine producer (below $20US per 750 ml bottle) to help standardize the bottled product ensuring a more uniform product.[1]

Here is the link (From Dan Berger) https://www.winesandvines.com/features/article/51033
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#133 Post by Adam Lee » June 8th, 2018, 8:09 pm

ericleehall wrote:I looked this up on Wikipedia, and here is one data point:

According to journal reports, Mega Purple is used by almost every low- to moderate-value wine producer (below $20US per 750 ml bottle) to help standardize the bottled product ensuring a more uniform product.[1]

Here is the link (From Dan Berger) https://www.winesandvines.com/features/article/51033
I remember that article. It is ridiculous. If you look at the actual production of Mega-Purple and make the assumption that all of it is used in wine (versus some in other food or drink products) then it would be used in 8% by volume of the red wine made in the USA. That's a far cry from being used by almost every low-to-moderate value wine producer.

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#134 Post by Al Osterheld » June 8th, 2018, 9:00 pm

The "almost everyone under $20" statement was just from a comment by a president of an unnamed Monterey winery, not exactly authoritative. I have no experience to say whether it's mostly true or mostly not. But, it's really not even as reliable as any post in this thread, just a quote of what someone supposedly stated (and someone who can't be asked for the basis of their statement).

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#135 Post by Mel Knox » June 8th, 2018, 9:44 pm

I'm with Eric here. I don't see much mega red use with pinot. I do see some and it is obvious who they are.
What I also see are various barrel alternatives. It is hard to make a wine that sells through the three tier system for under $25 and use barrels and make money. Chips and inserts are a big help here.

The other question is flash detente.
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#136 Post by larry schaffer » June 9th, 2018, 8:38 am

There are so many other 'techniques' that can be used to either darken up wines (a little 'napa gamay' or 'royalty' goes a long way) or sweeten up wines (concentrates are readily available and cheap). And as Mel said, the use of all kinds of oak alternatives is rampant - and will only become even more so with technological advances that make it possible to 'dial in' flavor profiles over time.

We simply will never know who uses what and can only speculate - and that's part of the 'game', no?

I continue to plead with those on this board to ask the questions directly of the wineries and winemakers - most will be honest with you.

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#137 Post by Doug Schulman » June 9th, 2018, 10:03 am

larry schaffer wrote:
I continue to plead with those on this board to ask the questions directly of the wineries and winemakers - most will be honest with you.

Cheers.
If only that were the case...
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#138 Post by John Morris » June 9th, 2018, 10:16 am

Mel Knox wrote: The other question is flash detente.
??
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#139 Post by Adam Lee » June 9th, 2018, 10:46 am

John Morris wrote:
Mel Knox wrote: The other question is flash detente.
??
Flash Detente is what the called Barry Allen when he sped back and forth between Burgundy and the Russian River and smoothed over the dispute about alcohol levels.

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#140 Post by Mel Knox » June 9th, 2018, 10:48 am

Flash detente is a technique developed In Europe for the jam and jelly business. The grapes are heated to 180 F and then pumped into a vacuum, so the skins explode . The water in the grapes becomes steam and condenses elsewhere so the must, a sloppy slushy mess, is concentrated. They say that if you taste the water, you can see some of the environment around the vineyard, such as diesel exhaust, nearby feedlots, along with pyrazines. You get a very fruity, more concentrated wine. I suppose you could say the result is an alcoholic version of kool aid.

These machines cost a million bucks and up so you tend to find them in the Central Valley and Monterey. In Monterey county pyrazines are often a big issue due to the winds so marginal vineyards are turned into money makers.

I've only met one winemaker who admitted to using these machines.

Most modern winemaking toys are just improvements over ones that have existed for decades, if not centuries, but this one just blows the doors off.
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#141 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » June 9th, 2018, 10:57 am

Three pages and nobody knows about a specific winery using mega purple on Pinot Noir, but one winemaker gets to puff up his chest and keep the outrage going.

Name names or quit doing your publicity tour.
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#142 Post by Mel Knox » June 9th, 2018, 11:11 am

Sorry David. People tell me things in confidence. You have to take me out to lunch with some really great wines before I start spilling the beans.
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#143 Post by John Morris » June 9th, 2018, 11:52 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:Three pages and nobody knows about a specific winery using mega purple on Pinot Noir, but one winemaker gets to puff up his chest and keep the outrage going.

Name names or quit doing your publicity tour.
And I suppose you refuse to read stories in the press with unnamed sources.
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#144 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » June 9th, 2018, 12:11 pm

Mel Knox wrote:Sorry David. People tell me things in confidence. You have to take me out to lunch with some really great wines before I start spilling the beans.
Wasn’t speaking of you, or John Morris for that matter. I just see one particular person in this thread continually fanning the flames, and keeping his name up there.
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#145 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 9th, 2018, 1:21 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
Mel Knox wrote:Sorry David. People tell me things in confidence. You have to take me out to lunch with some really great wines before I start spilling the beans.
Wasn’t speaking of you, or John Morris for that matter. I just see one particular person in this thread continually fanning the flames, and keeping his name up there.
Being your usual self I see.

I wasn’t using this to keep myself in front of people.

I also don’t see why it’s so hard for some people to see that using a grape concentrate in a wine that purports to be from a specific place might be considered dishonest.

There’s little doubt that Mega-Purple is primarily used in low end wines, and that it’s not a common practice in high end Pinot Noir.

That doesn’t mean it’s not in use.

My attitude to Mega-Purple is perhaps more passionate than yours, although you seem to prefer your wines to have personality, but it has nothing to do with a self agrandizing nature. I buy wines to see what the region and place is like, and I don’t care to drink the international style.
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#146 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » June 9th, 2018, 1:25 pm

I actually am firmly against mega purple. 99% of the wines I buy are what some would call wines of terroir.

I am also against stirring the pot and creating suspicion with no specificity.
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#147 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 9th, 2018, 2:42 pm

Yeah, me too.

And my preference for MP would be, as I stated above, that it be regulated so we could get away from it being just suspicion and pot stirring.
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#148 Post by Wes Barton » June 9th, 2018, 4:06 pm

Here's a good write-up on flash detente: https://www.winesandvines.com/features/ ... es-to-Work

Seems like a good tool with many uses for high volume producers to make better "wine product". The first thing to stick out to me is that it involves a dramatic loss of volatile aromatics, both good and bad. You can see they're looking at this in experimenting with how different grape varieties perform under it, and winemakers using flash wines as blending components.

Any compromise technique is a, well, compromise. A necessary compromise to rescue a wine is one thing. So is using it to make better low end wine. What bugs me is the "artificial color" aspect of some techniques. Creating and pandering to superficial market expectations, like Pinot Noir should be dark. That works to close the minds of consumers. Even worse is there can be such a strong threat of market rejection, winemakers will actually compromise quality to make a wine appear better.
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#149 Post by Chris Seiber » June 9th, 2018, 6:23 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:Yeah, me too.

And my preference for MP would be, as I stated above, that it be regulated so we could get away from it being just suspicion and pot stirring.
What reason is there to regulate it? Just because you don’t like the idea of it?

This isn’t some public health or consumer protection issue here. And it’s not hurting you one tiny bit - you aren’t buying wines with these additives in them, and you don’t need labeling in order to avoid them.

Seriously, “it goes against my preferences” isn’t a reason to regulate things in a free society.

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#150 Post by John Morris » June 10th, 2018, 11:44 am

Chris Seiber wrote: This isn’t some public health or consumer protection issue here. And it’s not hurting you one tiny bit - you aren’t buying wines with these additives in them, and you don’t need labeling in order to avoid them.

Seriously, “it goes against my preferences” isn’t a reason to regulate things in a free society.
Of course, we don't know if we are buying wines with MegaPurple.

Do you have a problem with food ingredient labeling? In theory, all that the ingredients are safe but, personally, I'm glad we have those labels. It means I can avoid things with added sugar, or where sugar is one of the largest ingredients, or where there are lots of artificial flavors and preservatives. Before hydrogenated oils were largely eliminated, ingredient labeling allowed one to avoid products with those. And the labels no doubt put a lot pressure of food makers to eliminated hydrogenated fats once their health impacts were publicized.

As regulations go, disclosure requirements aren't very burdensome. And in a world where so many of the things we take into our bodies are essentially industrial (including most wine), and we are far removed from the producer in the chain of commerce, disclosure requirements are a good thing, I think.
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