• Vino & Veggies

Are you drinking wine or sugar?

Updated: May 10, 2019

Did you know there can be up to 16 grams of added sugar per bottle of wine?

Often times mass produced wines are harvested on vineyards using large machinery. While this is faster and easier it is a huge disservice to the wine because they aren’t selecting the ripest grapes. Any and all grapes go into the barrel including underripe grapes. Underripe grapes will have high acidity and not enough natural sugars so vintners will add sugar to the fermentation process so the yeast can turn the grapes into alcohol. They will add cane or beet sugar before fermentation to achieve a higher amount of alcohol. This is called chaptalization.

Sugar is necessary for wine production because the yeast feeds on the sugar, which turns it into alcohol. However, these sugars should come from the natural grapes alone and nothing else. Yeast “eats” the sugar and turns it into alcohol. And high quality wine should have <0.5 grams of residual sugar. The riper the grape the more sugar in the fruit there is to convert to alcohol. Alcohol accounts for much of a wines body, depth and flavor. Adding sugar is illegal in many warmer regions such as California or Italy. However, the regulation of this process is not enforced properly so mass produced wineries will add sugar anyway. And as you know the FDA does not require labels on wine products. Another sugar added to wine is called Mega purple. Mega purple is a common additive used in mass produced wine to make it appear thicker and richer in flavor. It’s a concentrated solution of grapes and 68% sugar! 😱 It’s what turns your teeth purple and stains your clothes and part of the reason for the notorious "wine hangover."

The other culprits that contribute to the dreaded wine hangover are GMO’s, added Sulfites, and chemicals such as Ferrocyanide, Ammonium Phosphate, and Copper Sulfate. Ferrocyanide is used to remove copper from wine where copper has been used as a fungicide used in the growing process. Ammonium phosphate is a yeast nutrient used to create stronger and more viable yeasts. And Copper Sulfate is a fining agent used to remove “sulfide-like” aromas.

Natural wine making is very risky and time consuming but entirely worth every ounce of labor put into it. It all begins with hand harvesting grapes to ensure the highest quality. This is the clean-crafted difference. I like to follow the rule, ‘If it sounds like a science experiment don’t eat or drink it!’

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