Just because wine springs forth from grapes planted in the ground doesnt mean that everything youre drinking is natural. In order for wine to be produced quickly, efficiently and en mass, winemakers use a variety of processes and, at times, chemicals, to optimize and highlight color and taste. In a recent study, researchers from the University of Helsinki undertook an extensive analysis of eight pinot noir varietals from a diverse array of geographical regions, including USA, France, Chile and New Zealand, among others.
One of the main reasons that new chemicals find their way into otherwise natural wines is due to a series of processes undertaken before the wine is bottled, including micro-oxygenation, biodynamic fermentation, cold fermentation and natural fermentation. In each of the aforementioned sequences, the sugar and sulfur dioxide content of the wine in question can change dramatically.
It is for this reason that Dr. Heli Siren and his team believe that more information concerning the ingredients of wine be included upon the label. The research team discovered, for example, that a specific wine from New Zealand which contained no traces of plant acids had, in fact, the highest possible levels of acetic, malic, and lactic acids, which made it the alcoholic and acidic of all of the wines incorporated into the study.
Because of unexpected surprises such as these, the team behind the study is now advocating for increased transparency and research regarding the actual nutritional and chemical content of wines which have found their way to marketplace. Their aims are, in fact, not overly revolutionary, given the extensive amount of effort and interest being put into drink and food label reform in todays health-conscious climate.
Whether or not the changes outlined by Dr. Siren and his team will find their way onto wine labels is less important than the fact that such research is being undertaken at all. With time, these studies will likely improve the livelihood and physical health of individuals around the world. More information about Dr. Sirens study, as well as additional commentary regarding the findings, will likely be published in the upcoming months.