What’s really in your wine and spirits?

Hungover? We hate that for you. But the interesting thing is, it may not actually be related to the alcohol. Truth Bomb: There are no labeling laws for wine, meaning that wine is far from just a bottle of grapes and yeast.  According to a study published by Cornell, there can be up to 72 chemical additives! EEK. Read on to learn more about your wine and spirits.

If you consume “adult beverages,” it is easier to consume more of them during the holidays. Winter. Summer. Heck. If you live in a drinking city, it is easy to do. Anytime.

Naturally, this can leave us feeling less than stellar.

For those of you that are embarking on Dry January. That is awesome. For those of you that are sober curious, or experimenting with no alcohol– VERY cool. Regardless, this is still an article to share with those you love.

The surprising thing is that while an increase in alcohol is never a body’s hallelujah, that “hungover” feeling can often have less to do with the actual alcohol consumption than it does the pesticides, additives and genetically modified ingredients that go into the creation process. 

Let’s look at wine, for instance. Grapes seem friendly enough, right? If you have ever felt fine after a few glasses of your favorite wine, but ill the next day, after just one glass of something new, it is unlikely random.

There are no labeling laws for wine, meaning that wine is far from just a bottle of grapes and yeast. 

In fact, wine can be a very unnatural product.

According to a study published by Cornell, there can be up to 72 chemical additives allowed by the U.S. federal government, including toxic defoaming agents, autolyzed yeast (an unfriendly alternative to addictive MSG, albeit less toxic “they” say), various lactic, citric and malic acids (which can be derived from multiple sources, including mold), sulfates and let us not forget to mention added sugar (often used to balance the acidity of tart, unripe grapes). Most wine, unless specified, is not actually vegan either. Egg whites are commonly used as a fining agent, casein (the protein found in dairy) is used to clarify wine). Fish bladders are also commonly used in the fining process. Weird. I know, right?

After spending a year working in wine country, I also met folks that, under hushed tones, suggested that there were “other” ingredients added to wine and spirits that no one talks about. Chicken bones were one that I distinctly recall. To this day, I have no proof of said chicken bones but what I do know is that if you are looking to avoid pesticides and GMO’s by choosing organic, you should also be aware of your wines and spirits. 

It’s not just your wine. RoundUp is the most widely used Agra-chemical in the world. Dr. Robin Mesnage, of the Dept. of Medical and Molecular Genetics says:

“Glyphosate is everywhere throughout our food chain. We know Roundup contains many other chemicals, which when mixed together are 1,000 times more toxic than glyphosate on its own.

New Documentary Coming Soon…

Despite this knowledge, the USDA and FDA refuse to test for these residues in our food. With a growing demand for grapes, wheat, corn, etc. it is easier for farmers to mass produce produce with the use of these chemicals.

With this in mind, think about the source of your favorite spirit.

Corn may be “gluten-free” but is it covered in glyphosate?

It is definitely something to ponder. 

It’s not about the price of the bottle. Even the most expensive wines are not in the free and clear. In fact, grapes are always in the EWG’s Dirty Dozen (the top 12 most highly contaminated produce made public each year by the Environmental Working Group). Grape skins are highly permeable, meaning the chemicals can seep directly into the fruit. Wine is made by crushing the grapes and their skin. As they are converted into an alcoholic beverage via fermentation, those grapes stew in whatever chemicals that were sprayed on and around them, up until you sip them.

That $100 bottle of cabernet might not sound so delicious, after all, eh?

Sorry to be a buzz kill.

While we love to take selfies in the fields of Napa and Sonoma, California is amongst the biggest culprit of toxic grapes. Want to sip on wine?

Try Frey Wine. America’s first organic and Biodynamic winery, “producing naturally gluten-free wine and no added sulfites since 1980.” Frey is very transparent about what they do and do not use in their production process (in other words, they do not use GMO yeast, for instance). Unless you are familiar with the wineries methods, I avoid California wines while dining out, choosing wines from France, or New Zealand, where laws are much stricter. 

My point? Get to know your food and beverages.

Ask questions. One of the easiest ways to avoid GMO alcohol and food is to buy products that have the certified USDA organic label but do not be bamboozled into believing “Certified Gluten-Free” is the same as NON-GMO. If you feel funny after consuming something, whether a mixer, cocktail, mocktail, glass of wine, or a heck— a non-organic bowl of Quaker’s oatmeal, do not chalk it up a lack of water and dehydration. Ask bigger questions (and be sure to drink half of your body weight (in ounces) of water, every day, regardless). 

P.S. Fun Fact: In the first round of EWG lab tests, Quaker Old Fashioned Oats cereal was found to have unsafe amounts of glyphosate per sample.