Can’t Find the Ingredients List on Your Wine Bottle? Yeah, Me Neither.

By Dave Schavone

Grab any food product off the shelf and you’re guaranteed to find the list of ingredients. Back in the days when folks still ate canned meat without blinking, these labels were often overlooked by people buying products that either tasted good or didn’t. With new generations comes new standards, however, and the focus on transparency is growing. We see it most clearly in food – but not alcohol. There are few requirements for wine ingredient transparency, but still copious amounts of wine consumption. If it’s true that what’s on the inside counts, why aren’t more of us taking a closer look at what’s in our wines?

Why don’t wine labels list ingredients?

To better understand how the phenomenon of the seemingly no-cares-to-give about wine labeling started, we have to take it back a bit. After the end of Prohibition (and possibly one of the largest national celebrations – farewell, 18th Amendment), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, was created. The TTB is responsible for regulating production of alcohol and operates separately from the FDA, which is why all those nutrition label requirements apply only to food products, not alcohol.

Most alcohol manufacturers label only what is required by law – alcohol content and sulfites, basically – and skirt past all the additional things we consider necessary for food products. One reason these manufacturers get away with it: most people let them. We browse our local grocery’s liquor aisle, blindly grabbing a bottle with a label that “looks good” before thoroughly scanning the dairy section for the best organic cheese.

So what ingredients are in the wine I’m drinking?

The truth of the matter is: behind that aesthetically pleasing label could be over 70 different additives or chemicals, and you’d have absolutely no idea. Velcorin, for one, is lethal in high doses yet still used despite alternative methods. Or possibly Glyphosate, which regularly finds its way into wine in trace amounts left over from conventional farming practices. It’s also used in weed killer. If you avoid using sliced American on your burgers for the Sunday cookout, why aren’t you paying more attention to what’s in your wine?

Mindful consumption is on the rise, however, and there have been a few wineries, like Bonny Doon and Ridge Vineyards, that have been ahead of the curve with listing ingredients on their labels. More often than not, though, it’s the pricier wines that offer the full look at ingredients in their bottles. Transparency and affordability should be synonymous, and RedThumb offers a great solution to getting the best of both from your wine.

We wear wine transparency like a badge of honor.

We aim to ensure that people can be certain of the quality and ingredients in each sip. Ingredients are placed front and center on each bottle, and with only three to list, it frees up more space to tell you about our nutrition facts: no added sugars, no acids, and definitely no weed killer.

Ignorance is no longer the bliss it once was, and people are becoming more attuned to what they put into their bodies. Sure, running through the fast food line to grab a box of fried chicken every now and then never hurt anyone, but you wouldn’t want to eat it for every meal. If the same thought goes into what you eat, it should go into the wine you drink, too.