Foursight Winery located in Boonville, CA has been crafting some fine wines for many years now and should be explored by anyone who is interested in quality without the sacrifice of integrity. Pinot Noir is their speciality, but their other wines are exceptional as well. They also are leaders in being transparent with a back label that provides information rarely seen if at all for the consumer.
The back label lists the ingredients of grapes, tartaric acid and sulfur dioxide and the wines are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Proprietary yeast has never been inoculated at the Foursight winery. All the wines tasted were rechecked the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle and were still stellar indicating some promising longevity.
The labelling began in 2010 and now appears on all labels since 2012.
Kudos to them and their commitment to excellence both in and outside of the bottle.
Very nice folks. Yes, they are fellow growers in Anderson Valley, but they do everything the right way for the right reasons. I’ve got tons of respect for them. Oh yeah, the wines reflect the dedication as well.
Great people, great wines. I hope this thread motivates people to try them, as Blake and Casey mention, you’re supporting people who do things the right way. In 2013 about 20 local winemakers did a blind tasting of Anderson Valley '09 Pinots, and Foursight swept 1st and 2nd place. Pretty impressive. The group included Littorai, Rhys, Drew - all superstars in their own right of course, but it left no doubt for us that Foursight belongs in that tier.
Yup, Blake…nice that they label that as such.
Pretty much the same thing, but not as detailed, that Ridge has been doing for several yrs now.
Ridge even indicates when water additions have been used.
I need to try some of their wines, given Casey’s endorsement…a voice who has never led me down the primrose path.
I’ve enjoyed the Foursight wines - their “Zero New Oak” Pinot has been a particular favorite but they’re all good.
I’ve greatly enjoyed the few Foursight wines I’ve had but to be honest, I find their ingredient labeling to be confusing. First, their front label lists the variety - Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, etc. Saying the wine contains grapes seems redundant at best. Maybe there are consumers who don’t relize that Pinot Noir is a grape? Second, tartaric acid. Sure. Tartaric acid is the principle acid of grapes. Of course, wine contains tartaric acid. I’d be worried if it didn’t! So listing it doesn’t tell me much. And if you’re going to list tartaric acid, why not list the other acids present in wine? Finally, sulfur dioxide. The label already states contains sulfites so again, this seems redundant. It also doesn’t tell me what form was used to get SO2 into the wine. Did they use K2S2O5? If so, why just list sulfur dioxide? Potassium was added too. And if they used a 6% aqueous solution, then why not list the water as well since that comprised 94% of the addition? I highly doubt they were bubbling SO2 gas directly into the wine but I suppose it’s a remote possibility. My impression is that this technique is only used for very large additions.
As for proprietary yeasts, I’m guessing you meant commercial yeasts Blake. Don’t know of any wineries with proprietary yeasts although perhaps the strain Burt Williams and Ed Selyem isolated was proprietary for a while. But the label doesn’t tell me anything about yeast usage. Most wineries are hosts to numerous strains of yeasts, many of which are commercial strains isolated from uninoculated fermentations. I wonder if they’ve done analysis of their strains to see what strains are actually in their ferments? And the fact that they don’t list yeasts in their “ingrediment” statement, tells me that they must have sterile filtered as that’s really the only way to remove yeasts from wine.
As I said, their label raises more questions for me than it answers but it certainly doesn’t detract from the delicious contents inside the bottle.
How can they state it is vegan/veggie friendly without proof of no MOG? I find it very unlikely that they remove all insect and critter carcasses from their grapes.
We dabbled with some such labeling and/or ingredient labeling in the past. Decided it was fraught with problems of many kinds such as the ones listed here and the numerous ones Adam Lee has brought up in the past.
My general experience has been that people looking to know the vegetarian-ness of our wines are really talking about fining agents. I always bring up the bug thing and the fact that we don’t have an insect screen and no one has ever cared in relation to their vegan/vegetarian proclivities.
Jim, thanks for the response. Makes sense.
I spent a decade as ova-lacto and knew many vegans through the local food co-op and read the occasional vegan cookbook or magazine. I don’t recall a single discussion on insects but countless ones on rennet and fining agents. So from my experience I agree that bugs aren’t really a concern. Which leads to the question of why vegans won’t eat lobster but that’s a whole different topic.
That makes zero sense to me, because insects are animals. Sounds like they are rationalizing that it would be impossible to have zero insect involvement in their food. So, kind of head in the sand.
trying to make sense of veganism is a mind boggling effort “I think your vegan almond butter might have some insects in it :X”
I’m with Mike Officer, I don’t really understand that label, nor do I get why that label is more honest and forthright than other labels.
Is the tartaric acid something they added to the wine? I assume so, since if they’re just listing it as a naturally occurring part of the must, then they should have listed sugar and bunch of other things that are also naturally part of the must. But on the other hand, I’m surprised anyone is having to add tartaric acid to a lower-alcohol Anderson Valley pinot either.
Same question for the sulfur dioxide, which appears naturally in the must but is also something commonly added.
I rarely disagree with Blake on anything, but I’m not sure how this label constitutes integrity in some way that other wineries lack, or what the consumer learns from that label that really ought to make any difference to them.
I think it would be interesting if a winery disclosed everything it did in its winemaking process - harvest date, Brix, pH, percentage of whole cluster, yeast, barrels, acidulation, chaptalization, fining, filtering, micro-oxygenation, extended maceration, etc. I find that kind of stuff interesting, though probably 0.01% of customers care or would properly know what to make of it if it were on the label. I don’t really get any added value from “contains grapes, tartaric acid and sulfur dioxide and is vegetarian,” though. It sounds more like marketing than like greater integrity or transparency.
I’m certainly open to an explanation of why I might be wrong about my initial reaction, though.
FWIW, Randall Grahm has been doing this kind of labeling for years. Here’s his explanation:
There’s not exactly space for a dissertation on the back label, nor would that be appealing to anyone but us extremists. I just read it as an abbreviated way of saying they don’t overly muck about with their wines, nor use animal based fining agents. Sure its marketing, isn’t all packaging?
To me, it comes across more authentic than disingenuous.
Blake - you might want to correct your spelling in the title.
Ah, no good deed goes un-criticized.
One thing I hear fairly often is parents dealing with a child (usually a teenage daughter) who sees one of those shock documentaries about meat production and declares herself a vegetarian. But then she doesn’t actually eat vegetables, and thus vegetarianism just means eating a diet of Doritos, cereal, pop tarts, cheese pizza, and other junk food all the time, which drives the parents nuts.
[I’m not intending that as any characterization of or swipe at real vegetarians who eat healthful diets, but it’s just a funny recurring thing I hear about.]
I think most vegetarians and vegans are willing to kill insects, are they not? I don’t think the flyswatter or pesticides (at least maybe certain organic type ones) are antithetical to vegetarians. Everyone can have his own opinion of whether that’s consistent or not, but I don’t think occasional bug death is really the point to vegans and vegetarians. I am far from any sort of expert on that, though.
There are some eastern religious sects where even the killing of insects is prohibited, but it’s not exactly mainstream.