Wine Industry Secrets
1. Chemical Additives
There are over 70 additives allowed in wines produced in United States! When trying to produce wine faster, in larger quantities, and at lower costs, these chemical additives can be used to enhance the aroma, color, flavor, or texture of the wine. They can also be used to hide any imperfections or flaws that occur in the winemaking process.
Some of the commonly used chemical additives include:
Made from the concentrated syrup of Rubbed grapes
Adds fruit and color to red wine
Used to cover a "rotten egg" smell that some wines develop
Only allowed in very small portions due to its toxicity
Oak chips, saw dust, or liquefied wood product can be added directly to otherwise finished wine to mimic the taste of using oak barrels... but much cheaper
Made from the sap of the acacia tree
Softens tannins to reduce astringency and make wine's body more silky
Can make tough and somewhat bitter red wine ready to drink immediately
2. Sugar Content
Did you know that store-bought wine can range from 40-100 g of sugar per bottle? Sadly, since most countries don't indicate the sugar content on the label, consumers have no idea about how much sugar is in the wine they are consuming!
During the fermentation process, yeast converts the natural sugar of the grapes into alcohol and carbon dioxide. After this fermentation process, the amount of sugar left in the wine is called residual sugar. The amount of residual sugar in a bottle of wine can vary depending on several different factors, including the sugar content of the grapes, the harvesting method, and the use of a process called “chaptalization.”
Chaptalization, also known as wine enrichment, is a process of adding sugar to wine to boost its alcohol levels. It is currently illegal in Argentina, Australia, California, Italy, and South Africa. However, the use of sugar-rich grape concentrate is NOT considered chaptalization, so winemakers can add it to simulate the same results!
3. Farming Practices
The use of drip irrigation in American vineyards is a relatively new practice. Drip irrigation was introduced in the 1960's and replaced dry-farming, which relies on natural rainfall to water crops. Over the years, farmers found that irrigating vines resulted in higher yields and profits. Many U.S. banks even began refusing loans to vineyards that did not promise to irrigate! Today, the majority of wineries in the U.S. irrigate their vineyards, even during years with plenty of rainfall.
Why does this matter? Drip irrigation encourages roots to stay near the surface, where the water is. As a result, the roots only grow a couple feet deep. Dry-farming, however, requires the roots to dig deeper to search for water, sometimes even up to 100 feet deep! Deeper roots interact more with the microorganism- and nutrient-rich soil and grow healthier vines, resulting in richer, and more complex tasting wines.
So does all this mean you need to cut out drinking wine completely? Not necessarily!
In fact, light red wine drinkers have a 30% less risk for cardiovascular death than
Although we don't preach alcohol intake, at Functional Fueling Nutrition, we provide you the tools to include it in moderation, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
That's why we recommend Secco Wine Club (code: "functionalfueling10" to save 10% and receive free shipping). All of Secco's wines are made from grapes that have been grown and harvested from small, family-owned vineyards in old world organic ways. They test each one to ensure that the sugar level is below 2.5 g per bottle (naturally-occurring sugar levels).
They also provide labels with each bottle, so that you know exactly what's in your wine!
The Secco Promise
No Added Sugar
No Chemical Additives
Wild native yeast during fermentation
Higher levels of Vitamin C, essential minerals, and antioxidants
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(1) A. L. Klatsky, G. D. Friedman, M. A. Armstrong and H. Kipp, “Wine, Liquor, Beer and Mortality,” American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 158, No. 6, 2003, pp. 585- 595. doi:10.1093/aje/kwg184