Im sure the answer to this question changes with price point and how biodynamic/green the winery is but im curious as to what goes into the wine except grape juice.
1 - I know that some form of sulphur is used to stabilize the juice and stop a lot of bad things happening
2 - Egg whites are traditionally used for fining
But what other things go in that are not so well known I believe that a lot of low end wines use Mega Purple as a colouring agent to darken the wine, so what else happens ?
Spiders, other bugs, leaves, stems, some dirt, etc.
Plus others vendors.
Even the “high end” wines contain additives from the catalogs above. In great years the wines make themselves. In poor years, the winemakers use the toolbox available to them (read: additives) to make sure you get wine that tastes like you expect.
The mega producers are in a worse spot with quality year in and year out, hence the the more drastic interventions like mega purple.
Bottom line is creating what you want from what you get (i.e. grape quality) isn’t always “natural”.
DAP, tartaric acid, bentonite, diatomaceous earth, water, sugar, concentrate, velcorin…
Cialis. More wood = more points.
Other stuff that can go in:
Other grapes (typically up to 10-20% depending on the region) into varietal wine
Other vintages (typically up to 10-20% depending on the region) into vintage wine
So there are all sorts of chemicals and additives in some wines.
No wonder we get a headache !!
Mega Purple / concentrate is used by all ends of the spectrum.
Well, in our pinot, there is likely a scary amount of syrah.
Seems there is a trend toward leaving sugar in the drink, as well.
No idea how widespread this is, but I suspect many US wines available at retail for less than $10/bottle have this kind of stuff (H2O2) going on. A chemist who worked at a winery/lab in Lodi clued me in to this, also confirming the use of Mega Red and Mega Purple.
“Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is a powerful oxidizer and can be used to reduce SO2 level in wine.The H2O2 should be added slowly to the wine in a dilute form to avoid oxidation. After the H2O2 addition,wine should be allowed to equilibrate for several hours before any confirmation analysis of the concentration of remaining SO2 in the wine. To avoid over adjustment and oxidation, lab trial should be performed.”
Indeed, including C2H5OH, a pernicious chemical known to give headaches and upset stomachs if present in high enough concentration.
Even worse, I’ve heard of some winemakers (secretly) adding Dihydrogen Monoxide…They claim it occurs naturally in wine, but who knows?
There are a few wines where I would applaud the use of that chemical as a detoxifying agent!
Well, not me… I don’t want any chemicals in my wine!
I wonder when the day will come that wineries will have to call out their ingredients and additives on the label along with the nutritional content. I never thought I would see it at fast food places. Maybe wine is next?
Ridge (and one other producer, IIRC) has already started using ingredient labels.