I have been writing about additives and manipulated wines for some time. So first let me guide you to where the Underground has been (just click on the title to read the article).
Beginning in 2011 there was my article WHAT IS WINE?
This was followed by subsequent articles:
Recently Ridge Vineyards posted a link on their website to an article entitled One Man’s Quest To Reveal What’s Actually In Your Favorite Wine which was based on an interview by Christopher Null with Paul Draper, CEO and Chief Winemaker at Ridge Vineyards, that was posted on the WIRED website. A couple of months earlier Christopher Null had also written an article on the ingredients that are going into wine which was also posted on the WIRED website. So it looks like our little parade is getting a few more people to fall in line.
But, make no mistake; this is a story that is in its infancy and one that is not going away anytime soon. It is a very big issue and still virtually unknown. Very few consumers can even begin to answer the simple question of what’s in wine. As I have been saying here at the Underground, as consumers learn the real answers they will be as shocked as I was when I first discovered what was happening. For sure, we have all talked for a long time about the change in the style of many wines to feature intensity and extraction. And, as we have now all learned, this is only a small part of the story. In the not too far distant future this will be one of the biggest stories to roll through the wine industry since the wine fraud issue involving old wines was first discovered back in the 1980s. The Underground was the first to report on wine fraud and has been all over it from the beginning (to read articles on the Underground history with wine fraud click on the following articles):
But, the issue of what is going into new wines is a much bigger story than the faking of old wines. In the case of the latter, there were relatively few wines that were being faked and the market consisted of only a relatively few buyers who had lots of money who wanted to drink the Kool-Aid. Today, the number of manipulated wines and the number of people drinking them is far greater than those who were buying and drinking the fake wines. However, I must say that I also think that a lot of people who are buying and drinking the new manipulated wines are some of the same folks who were buying and drinking the old fake wines. Not the low priced “industrialized” wines, but many of the expensive “limited production” cult wines. Why? That’s simple. Many of these people are also following the supposed “experts” who gave credibility to the fake wines and give big numbers to many of the manipulated cult wines.
However, the issue of additives in wine is much bigger because it is relevant to virtually everyone who drinks wine. Many wine drinkers will never drink a wine that has been faked because it is only the old, very expensive wines that are faked. Yet, I dare say, the majority of people drinking wine today from the least expensive wines selling from a few dollars a bottle to wines selling for hundreds or even thousands of dollars per bottle have no idea how the wines are being made or what is in them. And, yes Virginia, once again, this includes many of the critics who are making a living “tasting” and reviewing the new wines as well as many of the old wines that were fake. And, even though I think it is waning, don’t forget for one second the power of “critical” recommendations and big scores.
But, do not lose focus and make no mistake. This is not to say that manipulated wines are the same as faked wines. They are not. Faked wines are illegal. They are manufactured and sold as something else of greater value. Manipulated wines are not illegal. There are a few rules that are supposed to be followed in making and marketing new wines, but no one knows exactly how new wines are made or what is going into them. Hence we have manipulated wines. The question here is a simple one: what’s in the new wines being sold?
Nonetheless, lest I digress further, let me give you a bit more information on the new manipulated wines. Below are excerpts from Christopher Null’s comments in his post with a few brief quotes from Paul Draper.