Asimov on ‘Extra’ Ingredients

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M. Sai
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#1 Post by M. Sai » May 31st, 2013, 5:15 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/dinin ... -wine.html

An interesting read... As a friend on the production side of the business recently put it - when does wine go from Pinot Noir to Red Wine Product?

As the marketing guy for a small brand which believes in natural winemaking (SO2, but no additives otherwise), it’s great to see some public discussion on the topic.
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#2 Post by Frank Drew » May 31st, 2013, 7:02 pm

"At the same time, other consumers — the vast majority — continue to buy processed foods regardless of mysterious ingredients. They are motivated by costs, convenience and sensory gratification, or maybe they just don’t care."

This pretty well describes most of the people I work with, and of those, the ones who drink wine are similarly laissez faire in their selections.

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#3 Post by David Glasser » May 31st, 2013, 9:57 pm

The ends justify the means, within reason. To me, the debate is over where to draw the line. I have no problem with the general idea of additives or manipulation. Too little can have just as much of a negative effect as too much.

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#4 Post by Berry Crawford » May 31st, 2013, 10:45 pm

He seems to be implying the additives are unhealthy but isn't really specific. I doubt grape juice concentrate or enzymes are a health risk.

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#5 Post by Mike Miller » June 1st, 2013, 1:20 am

Whether they are unhealthy or not, I think one can make a case for disclosure. Personal autonomy alone is enough reason for disclosure. You should have a right to know what you are putting in your body with any product that is sold publicly.

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#6 Post by Berry Crawford » June 1st, 2013, 4:32 am

Mike Miller wrote:Whether they are unhealthy or not, I think one can make a case for disclosure. Personal autonomy alone is enough reason for disclosure. You should have a right to know what you are putting in your body with any product that is sold publicly.
I'm all for disclosure, but that doesn't male this less of a poorly written article

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#7 Post by Frank Drew » June 1st, 2013, 5:59 am

Everybody's free to put whatever they want in their own mouths, but for myself, I don't subscribe to the notion that "if it tastes good I don't care what's in it." As Mike notes, I'd like to know what I'm ingesting, and if we rely on palatability alone we're just asking food and drink manufacturers to become ever more deft at crafting their products. If I choose not to eat a sheet cake from Costco with a list of ingredients longer than my arm, I'd like the same ability to make a personal choice with wine, or beer, or whatever.

I expect at least some smokers would quit if they saw the list of currently undisclosed, non-tobacco ingredients in their cigarettes. (Not at all equating smoking and drinking wine, just arguing for transparency.)
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#8 Post by Robert.Fleming » June 1st, 2013, 6:14 am

Berry Crawford wrote:He seems to be implying the additives are unhealthy....
I didn't get that impression at all. Instead, I understood him to be arguing for disclosure to facilitate personal choice, regardless of whether additives are healthy or unhealthy:
It’s not apparent whether additives in wine pose public-health risks. Nonetheless, if we want foods that are minimally processed, authentic expressions of what they purport to be (like cheese rather than processed cheese), then we want to be able to distinguish between wines that are relatively unmanipulated and those that are industrial products.
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#9 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 6:57 am

So let's say I chaptalize my Oregon Pinot Noir....about 1 degree brix....as has been done for eons (Romans used honey, Chaptal was 1801, I believe). Perfectly legal on Oregon Pinot Noir.

Two questions:

1) Is that unmanipulated or industrial? Part of my problem with Eric's article is that he chooses a very dichotomous approach to things....so very common in our society today where we are seemingly limited to two political parties, two world views, etc. when the truth is usually more complex and often somewhere in between..

2) More basic, should I list sugar as an ingredient? I added sugar....but the wine is dry, so it isn't an ingredient, but it is an additive. Is it going to help consumers for me to have sugar listed on the label or confuse them?

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#10 Post by Kyle Schlachter » June 1st, 2013, 7:24 am

Adam,

Do consumers get confused when they see sugar listed on their tomato sauce label? I hear what you're saying, but as a consumer I might conclude that the wine might show unripe characteristics because you had to add sugar to underipe grapes. People interested in ingredients will read the list. Most people will not...
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#11 Post by Frank Drew » June 1st, 2013, 7:27 am

Adam,

I don't consider that your wines are industrial wines, but neither of your two questions really provides a good answer why not to list additives, ingredients, etc. Not wanting to "confuse" the consumer is a straw man, IMO, and is close to saying, "Now, don't you worry your pretty little head!"

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#12 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 7:30 am

Kyle,

No, I don't think consumers get confused when they see sugar listed on their tomato sauce label. They realize that there is sugar in the tomato sauce (which there is). But if they followed the same logic, when they see sugar listed on a wine label, they would be misled as there isn't sugar in it (in my example).

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#13 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 7:32 am

Frank,

Then how would you want me to list sugar? It isn't an ingredient.

I realize that you feel like I am setting up a straw man, but I am asking as someone who actually has to make decisions as to what to put on labels. That's not a straw man. That's a real life decision.

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#14 Post by Ben A. » June 1st, 2013, 8:09 am

Adam is exactly correct.

Adding "sugar" as an ingredient to wines that are vinified dry would be a disaster of consumer mis-information. You'd have loads, and loads of people thinking it was a sweet wine, and rightfully getting angry that it was not a wine with loads of residual sugar. The purpose would be only to satisfy a tiny percent of the wine drinking population who could probably find out fairly easily without an ingredient list printed on the label whether or not an additives were used in the winemaking. Many, to most, who would be interested would already know. Adding "sugar" to the crap rieslings that don't have enough natural sweetness for the market they are going after, and then retain the sugar, is another story, but having true winemakers who chapitalize on occasion (ala Henri Jayer and many other famous wine makers) add sugar to an ingredient list would not serve the public interest.

It would confuse the many for the sake of the very, very few.
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#15 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 8:18 am

Completely self-interested (so if necessary to delete, please do so)...but I wrote my recent blog on Ingredient Labeling in wine: http://adamleesiduri.blogspot.com/2013/ ... -wine.html

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#16 Post by H Wallace Jr » June 1st, 2013, 8:19 am

Ben A. wrote:but having true winemakers who chapitalize on occasion (ala Henri Jayer and many other famous wine makers) add sugar to an ingredient list would not serve the public interest.
Why wouldn't it serve the public to know if the wines they were drinking were chap'd, watered back, etc? I drink plenty that are, but I like to know that they are.
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#17 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 8:25 am

Hardy,

I don't think Ben was saying that it wouldn't benefit consumers to know if a wine was chap'd....he is saying that listing sugar as an ingredient on a label is an inaccurate and misleading way of doing that.

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#18 Post by H Wallace Jr » June 1st, 2013, 8:36 am

Adam Lee wrote:Hardy,

I don't think Ben was saying that it wouldn't benefit consumers to know if a wine was chap'd....he is saying that listing sugar as an ingredient on a label is an inaccurate and misleading way of doing that.

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It may require explanation. But who want's to do that?
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#19 Post by Robert.Fleming » June 1st, 2013, 8:38 am

Adam Lee wrote:... how would you want me to list sugar? It isn't an ingredient.
Adam,

I don't want to change this useful discussion into a semantic debate, but I don't understand the sense in which you're using 'ingredient.' Can you explain why sugar added to the mix while making wine is not an 'ingredient'? What is the distinction you seem to draw between 'ingredient' and 'additive'? TIA

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#20 Post by Ben A. » June 1st, 2013, 8:41 am

H Wallace Jr wrote:
Ben A. wrote:but having true winemakers who chapitalize on occasion (ala Henri Jayer and many other famous wine makers) add sugar to an ingredient list would not serve the public interest.
Why wouldn't it serve the public to know if the wines they were drinking were chap'd, watered back, etc? I drink plenty that are, but I like to know that they are.
Almost none would understand. It would confuse far, far more people than it would help.

I would honestly be stunned if 1% of the population of overall wine buyers would be helped by this. It would understandably confuse a massive majority. That 1% would be better served with a website or some other vehicle to gain that information. Even better, just post on this board, because I assure you, no one that doesn't read this board cares, nor would understand, what it means when a wine was chapitalized or watered back. And those people are most often so well informed that they largely know what's going in to the wines they purchase anyway.

Even among the vast majority of passionate wine collectors, only a tiny percentage cares if there is chapatilization. They don't care if Jeremy Seysses or Adam Lee or Henri Jayer used a standard winemaking procedure to make their wine. They trust their palate, and they trust the winemakers. There are other services that inform consumers of the basic winemaking, and if more are needed, fine, but mandating one that will confuse that vast (99+%) majority of the consumer population seems to be a bad idea to me.

Every retail store in the US would have very angry customers returning bottles they thought should be sweet, to satisfy the potential curiosity of probably less than a few hundred people in the entire US, who probably already know the answer of the question the list purports to answer.
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#21 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 8:43 am

Bob,

Thanks. The sugar added is fermented out and thus isn't in the wine any longer. Currently, I believe, is that an ingredient is something that remains in the wine.

Another example would be this.....yeast, be it indigenous or added, is in the wine. But if the wine is filtered, it no longer contains any yeast cells. So is it an ingredient in the wine?

And another example, tartaric acid is in all wines....and is the main acid in all wines. Should it be listed on all labels as an ingredient or only when it is added?

One of the things I mention in my blog is differentiating clearly between ingredients and additives.

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#22 Post by M Officer » June 1st, 2013, 8:46 am

Don't know if you're in the industry Ben A. but bravo! You obviously get it. I'm amazed that people who write about wine for a living want to treat it like a jar of peanut butter. Wine is unique, something they should understand.
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#23 Post by H Wallace Jr » June 1st, 2013, 8:50 am

Ben A. wrote:
H Wallace Jr wrote:
Ben A. wrote:but having true winemakers who chapitalize on occasion (ala Henri Jayer and many other famous wine makers) add sugar to an ingredient list would not serve the public interest.
Why wouldn't it serve the public to know if the wines they were drinking were chap'd, watered back, etc? I drink plenty that are, but I like to know that they are.
Almost none would understand. It would confuse far, far more people than it would help.
What are they incapable of understanding?
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#24 Post by Robert.Fleming » June 1st, 2013, 8:57 am

Adam Lee wrote:The sugar added is fermented out and thus isn't in the wine any longer. Currently, I believe, is that an ingredient is something that remains in the wine.
Thanks, Adam. But I think you are arguing for a different standard than that used in food labeling. For example, the FDA-required ingredient label on many baked goods will list sodium bicarbonate, a leavening agent, as an ingredient. Yet, just as the sugar in your example no longer exists in the finished wine, it is near certain that no sodium bicarbonate remains in the finished baked good - it has either reacted with an acid to form a different sodium salt (and release carbon dioxide), or thermally degraded into sodium carbonate (releasing carbon dioxide).
Adam Lee wrote:One of the things I mention in my blog is differentiating clearly between ingredients and additives.
Thanks again. I will look there.

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#25 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 9:03 am

Robert,

Or perhaps I am arguing for the same standard as drink labeling, where Velcorin (DMDC) is added to sports and juice drinks, but because it doesn't exist any longer in the product, it isn't listed. -- Trust me, one thing I am not saying is that Government regulations are consistent or that they make sense.

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#26 Post by Ben A. » June 1st, 2013, 9:14 am

H Wallace Jr wrote: What are they incapable of understanding?
The capacity of the public to understand chapatilization etc is not relevant.

Whether they do understand, is. And they do not. Therefore, it would confuse the vast majority.

The public is "capable" of understanding this, the majority just understandably do not have the "interest" to learn the absolute minutiae of a subject that is not either 1. their business, or 2. their primary hobby. Just like you and I do not care to learn the minutiae of details that go into another subject someone else may very well find extremely interesting and important.

Educating the public is an important part of the wine business, and my life in particular. The back of a wine label is not the place to do it, particularly as it would confuse far, far more than help. There are other places that would help inform, and not confuse, the public on the particulars of a given producers winemaking.
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#27 Post by H Wallace Jr » June 1st, 2013, 9:32 am

Ben A. wrote:
H Wallace Jr wrote: What are they incapable of understanding?
The back of a wine label is not the place to do it, particularly as it would confuse far, far more than help. There are other places that would help inform, and not confuse, the public on the particulars of a given producers winemaking.
They seem to have comprehended "contains sulfites" ok.
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#28 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 9:53 am

Hardy,

I'd disagree with that entirely. The following Colorado State study shows some of the consumer misconceptions about "contains sulfites."

http://dare.colostate.edu/pubs/AMR/AMR%2012-02.pdf

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#29 Post by David Glasser » June 1st, 2013, 10:07 am

I understand that some people want to know exactly what goes into their mouths. I am still against requiring a list of ingredients on wine labels. Just increased govt regulation that will cost more money and cause more confusion than enlightenment. Anyone recall how much time was wasted explaining sulfites? And most of the wine-buying public probably still doesn't understand it.

If you're concerned enough to want all the details of how a wine was made, talk to the winery or the retailer or someone in the distribution chain. Don't make me pay to satisfy your curiosity.

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#30 Post by KatrinaBI » June 1st, 2013, 10:11 am

As far as I can see, the study Adam Lee links to does nothing to debunk the idea that sulfites *may*, in some consumers, lead to headaches (and skin rashes.) Therefore, it doesn't actually argue that consumers are wrong in thinking this. Rather it's more concerned with marketing strategy -- how to market wine to that population who hold the belief (whether rightly are wrongly) that sulfites are deleterious to their health.

Indeed, it concludes with a statement that suggests that consumers might actually be correct when they ascribe the ill effects of wine to sulfites in it: "Perhaps more importantly, our results indicate clear evidence that good quality wines with lower potential to induce headaches will grant access to a substantial niche of consumers."

The article emphatically doesn't argue that consumers are mistaken in their perception of what wine additives(specifically sulfites) do or don't do.

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#31 Post by H Wallace Jr » June 1st, 2013, 10:13 am

Adam Lee wrote:Hardy,

I'd disagree with that entirely. The following Colorado State study shows some of the consumer misconceptions about "contains sulfites."

http://dare.colostate.edu/pubs/AMR/AMR%2012-02.pdf

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Whoa... looks like we need to scrap that, too. ;)
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#32 Post by Stan Y. » June 1st, 2013, 10:30 am

Adam Lee wrote:
...The following Colorado State study shows some of the consumer misconceptions about "contains sulfites."
FWIW my personal experience at least in my wife's case is that it's not "rare" and not a misconception; certain red wines cause my wife to develop a severe rash and/or hives...this never occurs with producers known to make very low sulfite wines e.g. Puffeney and Lapierre. We haven't done allergy testing for this but it's a likely cause. It isn't going to happen but I wish producers would qualify "contains sulfites" with the PPM.
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#33 Post by David Glasser » June 1st, 2013, 10:40 am

That's the thong about statistics, if it happens to you it's not rare...

The article to me reads entirely differently than it did to Katrina. It shows that consumer misperceptions about sulfites opens a marketing opportunity to play on those misperceptions.

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#34 Post by KatrinaBI » June 1st, 2013, 11:04 am

Well, the article never says what the the statistics on sulfite sensitivity (as opposed to what one might call wine hypochondria) are. And that's because, (at least according to my read), it's not interested in that question. It's interested in marketing to a population who (rightly or wrongly) think they are affected by wine sulfites.

It says that "More than a third of the total sample (34.08%), reported experiencing headaches after consuming even moderate amounts of certain wines" but argues that the number of patients with true sulfite sensitivity is much lower.
Again, it never says what that "true" number is (because it's irrelevant to the point of the paper).

So I guess that close to 34% of wine consumers must be mistaken about their own symptoms. Here's a novel thought. Why don't we just assume that that people are NOT mistaken about their symptoms and give credence to their experiences? And Label stuff so that we can make our own choices. Leaving it to the experts ("this is all far too complicated for you to understand, my dear, so don't you worry your pretty little head') hasn't often turned out to be a very good idea.

And, FWIW, I count myself as on of those "wine hypochondriacs" or "wine hysterics". Cheap white wine (along with many kinds of fruits) brings me up in a livid neck and chest rash.
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#35 Post by Ben A. » June 1st, 2013, 11:10 am

It's probably a fair assumption that active members of the Wineberserkers board do not serve as a good representative sample of the general wine buying public. [basic-smile.gif]
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#36 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 11:17 am

Katrina,

I am sorry. I was under the impression that it was relatively well known that the general consensus out there was that what is known as a "red wine headache" isn't cause by sulfites. Here's an article to that effect from the Wall Street Journal, http://guides.wsj.com/wine/wine-tips-an ... from-wine/, but I believe there are plenty of others out there showing the same thing.

I also am sorry, as I don't want to dismiss or take lightly true allergies to sulfites....which, given the rash you describe, and what Stan's wife suffers from, seems horrible...and most likely sulfite reactions. I am certainly not saying that people are mistaken about their symptoms nor do I think the paper suggests that....rather that some people are mistaken about the causes of their symptoms and, because sulfites are chosen to be labeled on wine (but not on dried fruit, mysteriously to me) people associate their symptoms with what is listed on the bottle. ---

I address wine histamines on my blog (at least briefly)....but one interesting thing there is that a cause for some praise on ingredient labeling (saying that the wine goes through an uninnoculated malolactic fermentation) may actually lead to an increase in histamines...though it sounds far more natural. Adding certain ML strains tend to reduce histamines and may well result in fewer headaches.

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#37 Post by KatrinaBI » June 1st, 2013, 11:32 am

Hi Adam

Our local whole foods does label its dried fruit according to whether or not it contains sulfites. I guess it's voluntary though.

But more to the point, the article that you cite (written by two wine writers rather than by a medical professional) isn't definitive at all. The authors say:

"Nothing here is absolutely clear, or without controversy....Mark A. Daeschel, head of the Wine Institute, says “There’s really nobody out there who wants to support the type of research that needs to be done to definitely nail all of this down,” he told us. “We can’t go to the federal government. They’ll say ‘just stop drinking.’ And wineries are hesitant because they don’t want to raise the issue that there may be a problem. But it’s a complex situation. It’s a combination of things and also the physiology of the consumer. Some people’s triggers go off quicker than others’.”

So, why not just label wines with *everything* that is in them or that went into their composition (including ML strains, as in your interesting example). Then the 34% of consumers who experience a reaction can narrow down for ourselves what is causing reactions rather than having to blindly ascribe it to "white wine", "red wine", "sulfites" or "histamines" or whatever.

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#38 Post by Brad Kane » June 1st, 2013, 11:50 am

Adam Lee wrote: I address wine histamines on my blog
I've always been led to believe that, more often than that, people who complain of sulfites giving them headaches, rashes, etc. are actually having a reaction to naturally occurring histamines, or dehydration and that the number of real allergic reactions to sulfites is rather low.
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#39 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 11:56 am

Katrina,

I am not interested in blindly ascribing symptoms to substances. Rather, I think it is far more productive and far more likely for people to live a happy and healthy life, if it can be determined what causes issues for them. As someone who suffers occasionally from migranes myself, I am far more interested in determining what causes them, and correlating those tests with my experiences.

A list of all ingredients in all substances isn't helpful to me nor is it practical for winemakers to do so and still stay in business (particularly given the number of states that we have to license new labels in, in addition to deferral label approvals).

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BTW, I'd also suggest this link: http://waterhouse.ucdavis.edu/whats-in- ... es-in-wine

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#40 Post by J a y H a c k » June 1st, 2013, 12:01 pm

Kyle Schlachter wrote:Adam,

Do consumers get confused when they see sugar listed on their tomato sauce label? I hear what you're saying, but as a consumer I might conclude that the wine might show unripe characteristics because you had to add sugar to underipe grapes. People interested in ingredients will read the list. Most people will not...
I disagree. As a Type II diabetic, I read ingredients on packaging and select against things that list sugar as an ingredient. However, that is inapplicable to Adam's wines, which I own and which cause me no blood glucose issues. Sugar, when fully vinified, is not an ingredient. It is more like a process, or a catalyst, that goes away.
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Asimov on ‘Extra’ Ingredients

#41 Post by Robert.Fleming » June 1st, 2013, 12:12 pm

The FDA estimates sulfite sensitivity at just under 1% of the population; other estimates are lower. People with asthma are most likely to have sulfite sensitivity (5-10% of asthmatics do). The symptoms are difficulty breathing, swelling of the tongue or throat, shortness of breath, flushing, headaches, and hives. Anaphylactic shock is possible, but extremely rare. A headache unaccompanied by any of the other symptoms is not indicative of sulfite sensitivity.

Sulfite labeling of wine started in 1988. Here's a 1986 explanation, published in the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/1986/04/02/garde ... lfite.html

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Asimov on ‘Extra’ Ingredients

#42 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » June 1st, 2013, 12:19 pm

If we're talking about voluntary labeling of ingredients, then the wineries can choose what to disclose (or not disclose). Really, this is more of a public policy question of what the government should REQUIRE in terms of disclosure, if at all.

If government is going to institute labeling requirements on ingredients, my suggestion is that there first be developed a list of ingredients (or additives, if you like) commonly used in the winemaking process that are known to cause health issues for some people. The primary reason for government-mandated ingredient disclosure ought to be for health reasons.

So let the TTB develop a draft list of proposed ingredients/additives that it would require be disclosed on every label, and then let the industry review the list and comment on it. That process seems much more rational to me than simply requiring every winery to disclose every ingredient/additive simply because one segment of consumers is curious and wants to know.....

Bruce
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Asimov on ‘Extra’ Ingredients

#43 Post by KatrinaBI » June 1st, 2013, 12:21 pm

Hi Adam

In the absence of concerted medical research on the issue "ascribing symptoms to substances" is all that we consumers can do (how else would consumers/patients find out, for example, about such things as gluten intolerance, where the medical testing is not always definitive?).

As someone not in the industry, I respect what you have to say about the economics of labelling. I do understand how impractical that would be for many winemakers (having read the lengthy appendix in Alice Feiring's book listing permissible wine additives.) I'm guessing it's more feasible for wine-makers on the natural side of the spectrum, since the list would be that much shorter and the label easily able to accommodate the list.

Anyway, I do think this whole argument is a sideshow to the changes that some in the wine industry are already making. Those wine-makers who cite the ingredients on the label will garner customers who care about that issue. Alice Fiering's monthly newsletters spotlight wine-makers who use less additives and she also quantifies the sulfur ppm in the wines she talks about. It's only in recent years that these resources have become available to wine drinkers.

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Asimov on ‘Extra’ Ingredients

#44 Post by GregT » June 1st, 2013, 12:26 pm

The article is typical lazy Asimov writing. Other "additives" include reverse osmosis? So is that an ingredient that he wants on the label? His peanut butter - are the peanuts stone ground or ground with stainless steel or carbon steel? Does he have any idea at all what might have been done to those peanuts and what kind of peanut they are? Probably not but he's banging the drum about wine again.

The problem is that he is once again trying to make something black and white by using gray - he wants wines that are "relatively" unmanipulated.

Cool. And exactly what is that?

Philosophically I don't disagree with much that he seems to feel, but he has a hard time putting it into some logical form.

As far as the semantics behind what is and what isn't an ingredient though, it's not all so difficult. You take eggs, flour, sugar, some salt, etc., and you make a cake. Some people use leavening agents like sodium bicarbonate. Those are all ingredients. The fact that they may change form during the baking is pretty much irrelevant.

Whether it does any good to list those things is a different question. I would like to see lists of things that may be added, but the way in which those regs get written means that whatever I happen to see may well end up being of little practical value. Look at the list of ingredients on some packaged cookies or juice and they'll include something like "natural flavorings" or some such. Good thing they included that.

OTOH, I don't really think it will confuse customers to see sugar listed somewhere. Corn syrup or sugar is in just about every product that's canned or jarred or packaged and people don't seem to mind that, even when it's in salty and savory snacks and sausages, so I don't know that it would be all that confusing to see it on a wine bottle.

I do think however, that people will attribute all kinds of things to the various ingredients whether they're valid attributions or not. Sulfites are a great example - notwithstanding the many studies that demonstarted otherwise, vastly more people claim to have reactions than are statistically likely to have problems. Those same people can eat raisins or dried fruit or salads from salad bars or sausage or who knows what else and they'll ingest far more sulfites than in a glass of wine but they don't complain of the symptoms.

So the question is whether it's worth getting all the nervous nellies in a panic because they'll be absolutely certain that they really really do have an allergy to the specific water added to some wine.

I say yes.

I remember drinking a bottle of Ridge Zin one time and thinking, "man, this is really crap." So I looked at the back label and they had thoughtfully explained exactly what they did to make the wine so bad. I was so surprised and amused that I almost forgave them for the cruddy wine and I realized that they had given me an opportunity to pass on any such wine in the future if I saw the same information. Many people probably wouldn't have cared so the label wasn't there for most people, but for the people who do care, it was nice to see.

Here's an article that might be of some interest:
http://www.drvino.com/2012/10/16/contai ... formation/

Here's something regarding histamines.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11174207
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Asimov on ‘Extra’ Ingredients

#45 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 12:32 pm

Katrina,

Thanks. I am enjoying the discussion.

Let me say that while I agree that the list of "additives" would be much shorter for "Alice's wineries." I am skeptical that the list of ingredients would be. As I mentioned before, uninoculated malolactic ferments are, by some studies, more likely to produce increased biogenic amines (one of which is histamines). Many winemakers cite uninnoculated primary ferments as being more complex because a wide range of minor (non-sacch) yeasts produce more interesting flavors. These flavors are in fact ingredients and things like acetobacter, pedio, zygo, etc. are likely to be higher. The wine may well be more interesting...but ingredient-wise the list is likely to be just as long if not longer, and certainly the quantities are likely to be higher.

Labeling and testing for these ingredients would, I guess, be much more expensive for Alice's wineries that for larger wineries that control the process from beginning to end.

Adam Lee
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Asimov on ‘Extra’ Ingredients

#46 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 12:37 pm

GregT wrote: OTOH, I don't really think it will confuse customers to see sugar listed somewhere. Corn syrup or sugar is in just about every product that's canned or jarred or packaged and people don't seem to mind that, even when it's in salty and savory snacks and sausages, so I don't know that it would be all that confusing to see it on a wine bottle.

Gregg,

Interesting point, and one that I contemplated. I think the difference is that with saugages, salty and savory snacks....they pretty much come one way. With wine,there are dry and sweet versions of many of them. Imagine if additions were listed rather than ingredients...you could have Raveneau Chablis listing sugar (since perhaps they chaptalized) but Rombauer Chardonnay not listing it.

Adam Lee
Siduri Wines

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Asimov on ‘Extra’ Ingredients

#47 Post by KatrinaBI » June 1st, 2013, 12:44 pm

Thanks Adam. I am enjoying it too and learning a lot.

You're again trying to redefine the term "ingredient", though now in an unusually broad way. First you say that sugar isn't an ingredient because it gets transformed during the wine-making process. Now you're saying that *any* organism that manifests itself in the product should be listed as an ingredient.

If ingredients were redefined that way, the label on a package of chicken would make for interesting reading. As would the labels on cheeses and raw vegetables.

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Asimov on ‘Extra’ Ingredients

#48 Post by Adam Lee » June 1st, 2013, 1:00 pm

Katrina,

I don't think I am trying to redefine "ingredient" in an unusually broad way. Sulfites, the focus of much of our conversation, are a substances that naturally manifests itself in wine and has to be listed on wine labels, above a certain level. Using that same standard, I'd come up with a huge list of potential ingredients that would need to be listed.

Sugar, as I mentioned, is not a product of fermentation...in fact it goes away as part of fermentation. Even when added it goes away. And, above certain levels, it isn't in many wines (all wine technically have some level of residual sugar....so perhaps it should be listed on all wines?).

The other examples I have brought up.....biogenic amines for instance, are required listing for export in some countries (so it isn't unusually broad).

My whole point is that, doing less to a wine as far as inputs goes, doesn't mean that there are less ingredients (some of which might lead to reactions in some people). In fact, due to the plurality of yeasts involved, more ingredients are probably present. That's not bad...in fact, it is what their proponents argue make the wines more complex....but if listing is required, it may also make labeling of these wines prohibitively expensive, depending on what the list entails.

Adam Lee
Siduri Wines

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Curious...

#49 Post by TomHill » June 1st, 2013, 1:22 pm

GregT wrote:
I remember drinking a bottle of Ridge Zin one time and thinking, "man, this is really crap." So I looked at the back label and they had thoughtfully explained exactly what they did to make the wine so bad. I was so surprised and amused that I almost forgave them for the cruddy wine and I realized that they had given me an opportunity to pass on any such wine in the future if I saw the same information. Many people probably wouldn't have cared so the label wasn't there for most people, but for the people who do care, it was nice to see.
Curious, Greg.....what was it that Ridge did to make the Zinfandel crap??? Serious question.
Tom

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Asimov on ‘Extra’ Ingredients

#50 Post by KatrinaBI » June 1st, 2013, 1:37 pm

Adam Lee wrote:Katrina,

I don't think I am trying to redefine "ingredient" in an unusually broad way. Sulfites, the focus of much of our conversation, are a substances that naturally manifests itself in wine and has to be listed on wine labels, above a certain level. Using that same standard, I'd come up with a huge list of potential ingredients that would need to be listed.
That standard (all wines have to declare that they contain sulfites ) surely was one heavily lobbied for by the Industrial Wine Industry (I'm guessing -- I don't know the history of the rule) since this phrasing (given that something has to be listed) benefits Big Wine (to the disadvantage of artisanal winemakers and consumers). Its not any kind of standard that I would advocate because it tells me precisely nothing as a wine buyer. Now if a wine bottle details how many ppm of sulfur were added during the wine-making process, then I have information I can use.

It's not as complicated as you are making it. A transparent wine industry would let us know what has been added to the grape. Anything that came in a box or a packet, or gets delivered by mail or on a truck. No-one is asking for a chemical analysis that details what the grapes have transmogrified into or what they may have ambiently absorbed. I don't know what a biogenic amine is, but I shall go look it up

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