Last week three requests rolled in, "Alice, what is your position on wine ingredient labels?"Three requests meant that even though I have expressed my opinions in Naked Wine and in interviews, perhaps I best spell it out.
For a long time I've been in favor of less government in wine instead of more, but in this instance I have to fess up that with so many additives allowed in wine, an ingredient label is best. If there's an ingredient list for soda, there needs to be one for wine. If you are warned about an orange juice from concentrate, the same should be true for wine that has been reverse osmosed/concentrated.
Perhaps the TTB's willful ignorance in this matter, and yes, I do believe that it is, comes down to the influence of a wine lobby afraid to lose market share if required to disclose all. Even though, if I take the TTB's definition of natural wine, I could be convinced that the TTB, what I can imagine a non-wine drinking organization, believes what the wine lobby tells them, that wine is made in the vineyard, or that it is not possible to make wine with grapes.
Either way, the innocent is not so innocent, and a child of the 70s, in this case as in so many, the money lobby speaks.
With the allowed additions for example, of; water, sugar, concentrated fruit juice from the same kind of fruit, malolactic bacteria, yeast, sterilizing agents, precipitating agents, PVPP and other approved fermentation adjuncts, what will it take for the TTB to understand that most wines should be labeled as a wine beverage like my neighborhood convenience store's Chateau Diana? Because real wine, it is not.
I have not been successful in getting the TTB’s spokesperson Thomas Hogue, to take my inquiry about a real ingredient list seriously enough to get a satisfactory reply. Instead he sounding quite straight-faced wrote to me that on the table is an ingredient list, but the joke here is that it is only for nutritional value, carbohydrates, and calories.
How many of us are drinking for our five fruits and vegetables?
As more drinkers want their wines as natural as the food they seek, more wineries are going to present themselves as natural. Of course you can rely on your palate to be your guide, but the customer who is buying on philosophy and not taste will have a harder time.
Unless wine ingredients and processes make it on to a label, nothing can safeguard the product for the consumer who believes no label means nothing added. Right now some wineries like Ridge and Bonny Doon openly and extensively list their ingredient optionally. But as others follow suit, my fear is that the TTB will outlaw them instead of insist it be required.
So, where do I stand? I give up. There should be. Yes. Get the ink rolling. I want one.