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I am totally agree with you. Chemical industries sell its products to make wine, and fruits and meat. We drink the wine, eat the food, and afterdinner we gobble many kind of pills for our disorder, little headache, little intollerance. We give money to ill us, and give money to cure. It isn't all that crazy?

Arnold Waldstein

Well said Alice.

You have to be a bit off to chose food (or wine) made with poison. This is neither religion nor tree-huggerness...just common sense.

And to me, health and taste are both the result with wine.

NYC is hardly a center for health extremes but it is very much a center for natural wines and food, farm and roof2table.

The question is not why but why not?

Thanks for writing this.

My views of natural wine are @ http://arnoldwaldsteincom/wine

Joseph Di Blasi


And of course it's this same wine industry that says that it is healthy to consume a glass of wine a day, and now they even say two or three glasses a day are healthy for the heart.
What they fail to say is that what may be healthy is a glass or two of fermented grapes (real wine), without all the chemicals added to create a wine-flavored beverage. And these wines may be healthy in moderation, but certainly not the wines they are trying to sell us.

And, we do care about where our food comes! Organic veggies and the such are found everywhere these days and many many consumers read ingredient labels like they are bibles. So don't say we don't care Dr Smart.

I always ask the skeptics this: "have you ever seen the ingredients listed on the back label of a bottle of wine"?? No you haven't. This not because the only ingredient is grapes, this is because it is illegal to do so.. Come on now, think people! Why do you think it is illegal to print the ingredients on the back label of a bottle of wine???

Cheers Alice. Thanks for stirring the pot a little. And I also agree with you. The wines we drink taste damn good and don't burn going down.

Joel Brut

Joseph, I think you are mistaken. Some wineries put an ingredient list on the back label; Beaux Freres for example.

Joseph Di Blasi


I hope you are joking..

Joseph Di Blasi


Merely naming the grapes in their respective percentages on the back label of a wine bottle does not constitute an ingredient list. Many many producers list grapes


Posted for Brigitte Armenier
"In February Dr. Richard Smart of Australia posted a fervent article of "support for conventional farming."

In January Dr. Richard Smart of Australia should have read The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/wine/8274192/French-winegrowers-warned-over-pesticide-use.html

Thanks and kudos to your post Alice!

-- Brigitte Armenier

John Hilliard

You worry about "chemicals" when we all learned in chemistry class that everything is a chemical.  So- which chemical concerns you? There is one chemical you should not ignore. It is actually present in each glass of wine you drink, in the amount of about 14 percent.  14% is a huge dose especially compared to the presence of the  "chemicals" you fear, which are present, if at all, are present much less than 0.001%.  And many of those are potential dangers, not known dangers like alcohol. I think it is irresponsible to society to mention "chemicals" and ignore the huge number on the label: 14%.   Alcohol is a known carcinogen and teratogen.  It is the main risk factor in wine. It is actually in your glass.  You ignore a known for a potential.  You are being hysterical, darling.

Joseph Di Blasi


it's a good point that you bring up that even natural wine still contains alcohol. But, most people who consume wine know that it contains alcohol because it states so on the label. What is not stated on the label is what concerns us and we are speaking of here. we have a right to know this as well, don't we?



If you cannot consume it directly, you shouldn't be spraying it on plants which you will consume.

John - why do you think they teach you in chemistry class that everything is a chemical?

Everything is a carcinogen. Cancer is a natural end-state for the human organism.

Wine is one of the few things that humans produce which gives so much pleasure and stimulates so much thought and discussion. We should learn to appreciate that, and enjoy ourselves a little.

John Hilliard

The benefits of glyphosate are many: prevent soil erosion from tearing up the soil with mechanical weeders pulled by fossil fuel burning tractors, avoid tearing open the soil- soil "beings" don't like having their homes torn up, glyphosate can be applied once by a small fuel efficient ATV whereas mechanical removal has to done over and over and please realize diesel tractors make lots of CO2 and many particulates into the air, glyphosate is generally eaten by soil "beings" within a few days whereas the tractor exhaust is ours to keep warming the planet for posterity. Tractors are huge things and environmentally "expensive" as they are the product of giant factories with parts moving to and fro. Lubricants dripping. Have you compared the environmental impact between glyphosate and mechanical weeding? Many of us think, not believe as you do, we think glyphosate is better for the environment. I understand the EU ceased testing wine for pesticides when they repeatedly found none. This is not surprising to a viticulturalust.

But my instincts tell me something: bewary when the emotional heat is has taken on a religious fervent. You flick away his insights. You assume you know more than Dr. Smart. I know him. From the way you laugh at his comments, you are doing yourself and your readers a great diservice. He is a sensible man with depth of knowledge of glyphosate. He probably thinks your understanding of his subject the same as we feel when a politician says he uses "the google".


John, I assure you I am not making fun of Dr. Smart.
But he Does seem to have a good deal of derision
for those who believe in farming with fewer chemicals or for
Finding alternatives. We all know people who have
Changed their farming because of the observation
In the rise of certain cancers and diseases; the change
Would be to organic & bioD, not to chemical based

Thanks for your comments

John Hilliard

Joseph, as I mentioned above, I understand the EU tested wine for pesticides and came up with nothing. I am in Krakow now, but when I get back to the states this will be a subject of investigation to find those studies. They are important to address this issue.

And I am underwhelmed by everyone's lackadaisical attitude about a known and sustantial risk (alcohol) while worrying about what maybe non-existent risks. When Dr. Bruce Ames, one of the principle researchers in the field, originated his widely used Ames test for carcinogenic chemicals, he was surprised that about half of synthetic chemicals were positive. And perturbed. So he started testing "natural" chemicals, and about half of those were carcinogenic. Cancer Institutes worldwide generally are not in step with the public hysteria on this subject. They believe, in general, like Dr. Ames: eat several servings of fruits and vegetables regardless if conventionally grown or not. Pesticides in food are hyper controlled in California. The EPA, FDA and USDA study and test quarterly our food with special attention to foods like apple juice eaten my children. They state on their website our food is safe. Look at their work, it is published. Pesticide fears are the fashion of the urban atheist, their new religion with a heaven (the horrible old days when we lived to 30 yrs) and a hell (conventional farmers killing us with pesticides).


John, you are aware of this study that fpu d pesticide residue in wines?


John Hilliard

LCFwino- please tell me you didn't mean this: "If you cannot consume it directly, you shouldn't be spraying it on plants which you will consume."

If you think that, we need to talk. I think it is time for you to grow a nice "feed a family" size garden. Or come visit our garden and we'll walk you through it.

John Hilliard

Yes, Alice, I saw it when it came out. The problem with this type of study is it tests for presence of a chemical. That is meaningless. Dr. Ames tells us the dose makes the poison . Look at what the respected anti-nuclear activist' Dr. Helen Caldicott states (just as the PAN article): "It takes only one radioactive atom, one cell and one gene to initiate a cancer". That just not true. This does not survive scrutiny when you consider the thousands of radioactive elements in our bodies. We must estimate the risk per event. Or simply: what's the dose?

There are nearly 8000 radioactive events taking place in our bodies every second. Our bodies contain Potassium 40, Carbon 14, Rubidium 87, Lead 210, Uranium 238, Radium 226, Radium 228, and Trinium 3H. Amazingly, we are fine. Everyone on the planet contains these radioactive elements. Some are primordial.

Yet , Cancer death rates have been falling overall since the 50s. You know that, right? Even when the EPA, USDA and FDA were nowhere to be found.

The dose makes the poison. I take 87 mg aspirin daily, but 325mg would impair my kidney transplant and lead to renal failure. Its the dose. A group at MIT is studying Homesis- that low doses can produce a response, like arsenic and Rasputin's alleged immunity to arsenic.

Brigitte Armenier

About the doses and "benefits of glyphosate": http://www.i-sis.org.uk/SS-glyphosate.php, knowing that its use in the vineyards means a minimum of two to three applications per year under the vine rows.
Then what is the technique being used between the rows? A bit more glyphosate?


John, have you ever seen vineyards that are in transition to organic ( and for yeaes after?)that had been dosed with
Roundup ? the weeds that grow back are persistent.
Almost impossible to deal with. As I said, I'm not a scientist
But my gut tells me that this is a chemical
That so messes with nature that I want no part of it.
Science has a fabulous way of rationalizing chemical use.
I was pumped full of harmless tetracycline as a child. My parents believed in science.

For every scientist who tells me a drug or chemical is harmless
I must ask, who is funding the research?

Brigitte Armenier

Il n'y a pas de petit plaisir: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/SS-glyphosate.php


I stand by my statement. Roundup brings a force of death to a vineyard (or farm). Why would you tolerate that? There are so many good alternatives, all that's needed is a change in philosophy.

Brigitte Armenier

Hello Hank:
"[It] brings a force of death to a vineyard"... doesn't this sound a bit too anthroposophical? Unless you went through a change in philosophy :)

Scientists have already proven that glyphosate renders "soils infertile, crops non-productive, and plants less nutritious": http://www.i-sis.org.uk/glyphosatePoisonsCrops.php

But personally what I find so interesting is how one sees fungi, mosses and lichens appear and develop on the soils treated with glyphosate. A fact symptomatic of a movement of regression in the plant evolution, thus the growing sterility of these soils and plants. And the impossibility for this type of agriculture to accompany the evolution of human consciousness.



Nothing wrong with stirring the pot, we both do it. To that end, shouldn’t your statement “Chemicals that the plant drinks in gets transferred to the drinker” have been expressed as your “opinion” which is based on your “instinct?” This debate gets difficult when opinions get expressed as statements of truth. If you have research that Glysphosate gets translocated into wine, I’d sure like to see it, otherwise, it’s just your opinion.

Also, why do you gloss over the use of copper sulfate (Bordeaux spray) and sulfur dust as OK, when long-term copper use is the likely the source of many European vineyard soil problems and organic approved sulfur dust is a byproduct of oil refineries?

Stuart Smith


Stu, I'm afraid that my statement is based not only on my instinct but in some research that states the same, some studies cited in my post as well as in one of my comments. It is truth. If the pesticides/herbicdes end up in the bottle, I'm not sure I need even more research to tell me that the drinker of that bottle ends up ingesting them. Of course we injest and breathe things in every day, but where I for one, can choose another kind of wine or food, well then, I am glad I have choices.

Why do I gloss over copper and sulfur? If you've spent time with the kind of growers I spend time you will (as I do) know that they are using minimum, and many 'natural' wine makers are looking into alternatives to sulfur such as whey or clay. I've talked to winemakers who havent used copper in years, even though they are allowed. Large scale wineries? That's different. But this is one reason that to me, smaller when it comes to wine, is better.



There is good science and there is not so good science, and the PAN paper you’re referring to falls into the latter category, a category many would refer to as “junk science,” me included. It’s very difficult for most folks to know when they’re reading good science. Who paid for the paper, who benefits by the results, which reputable scientific journal printed it, what reputable scientists reviewed the methodology and results – here are essential questions that you don't care about because the results support your belief system. Are there other studies that support, or even suggest supportive results similar to the research results such as the PAN paper suggests? That answer is NO! We all know that taking arsenic will kill us, but how many of us know that without some arsenic in our diet we will die. How many well meaning parents have been duped into believing that vaccinations cause autism because Dr. Wakefield represented junk science as real. BTW, your PAN paper does not say that Glyphosate has been found in European wine – so it’s back to only your opinion.

I’ve farmed wine grapes for 40 years and never once used copper – does that make me environmentally superior to European winegrowers? It also seems that you have a different standard for those you like and support your belief system and those that you don’t. How can you be absolute in your opinion about pesticides getting into wine, yet it’s OK for your friends to use “minimal” amounts of copper - however “minimal” is defined.

Acknowledging that some natural winemakers are searching for alternatives to sulfur is not an answer to my wanting to know how you philosophically reconcile Biodynamic and natural winemakers using sulfur dust that comes from those evil, toxic oil refiners. You seem to accept a certain level of hypocrisy for natural and Biodynamic growers that you're not willing to extend to sustainable growers.

Don’t forget that Rudolf Steiner said the pot had to be stirred in both directions!


John Hilliard

The EPA, USDA and FDA actually do insure the safety of our food, and they tell us our foods are safe to eat. These respected government scientists will be very interested in the news that we are being poisoned. It is alarmist and irresponsible to feed the public hysteria. Most of us are being deceived by news reports that something contains the presence of a "chemical". There is not much to be said to you about thus subject except to try to be aware that many environmental groups raise money and gain members by spreading exaggeration. Who is checking to see if your food is safe? Its not the National Organic Program. Organic farmers have resisted the testing of their products. It seems the program is going to start some tiny testing of organic products- but the organic lobbyist are fighting it. They are not too interested. And as for testing organic pesticides along synthetic pesticides- when is that going to

On April 15, 2011 the National Organic Program decreed that if an organic farmer finds out that his product is full of GM material, they can just sell it without declaring it on the label.

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I'm hunting the Leon Trotskys, the Philip Roths, the Chaucers and the Edith Whartons of the wine world. I want them natural and most of all, I want them to speak the truth even if we argue. With this messiah thing going on, I'm trying to swell the ranks of those who crave the differences in each vintage, celebrate nuance and desire wines that make them think, laugh, and feel. Welcome.

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