A Guide to Wine, Food & the Good Life


John Tilson • 9/19/20        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share



From my earliest days drinking wine in the 70s I would taste a wine that was very different from what I was used to tasting in that kind of wine and wonder “what is in the wine”.  Later on I began to figure out based on tasting that there had to be things in a lot of wines that had nothing to do with grapes. And, since I have always believed that fine wine is first and foremost another food group to be enjoyed with meals that it should be treated as such and list the ingredients on the label as any other food. Beginning in 2011, shortly after I started The Underground Wineletter on line, I began to pose this question more frequently. Since that time Bonny Doon (to read that article click here) and Ridge (to read that article click here) were the first wineries to list ingredients on the label.  There also have been two more that I know of and even Bud light is listing the ingredients on their beer labels (to read about that click here).  And, as you can see from the list of articles below I did not stop writing about what is in wine and ingredient labeling. The reason is very simple. Just like The Underground Wineletter was the first wine publication to start talking about fraudulent wines (links to all The Underground online articles on wine fraud are listed at the end of this article), I knew from tasting a lot of different wines that something was fishy when it came to what was going into some wines. Below are the articles I wrote on that subject. I encourage you to read them if you are interested in knowing what is in the wine that you are drinking.

What is Wine?

Yikes! The Tide May Be Going Out: Who’s Swimming Naked

What’s In Your Wine Bottle?

A Shot Out Of The Blue! We Have A New Entrant In The Wine Ingredient Labeling Derby

Alchemy: Another Reason For Ingredient Labeling

 Attention All Wine Drinkers! Do You Know What You Are Drinking?

Wine & Truth

Wine Tastings: What Are They?

The Underground Wineletter: Why We Are Different



As enumerated in the above articles every wine drinker should care about and know what is in their wine. It has taken a long time, but it looks like now the time is finally coming for more disclosure! You see it appears that the EU is about to require wine ingredient labeling on wine bottles. A recent article in Wine Searcher goes into the details of why it is needed and why it will be difficult to implement in the US. But, it also goes onto to say that the millennial generation is also very interested in what is in the things they eat and drink. (To read the entire article click here). So all things considered I think it will not be too long before some US wineries making traditional wines will follow the EU example and the demands of wine drinkers who want to know what is in their wine.  Many high volume wineries producing low priced wine will not and I also think that many of the high priced cult California Cabernet Sauvignon producers will also resist. But, over time, as US wine drinkers more and more look at wine as a beverage to be consumed with a meal, they will look for the ingredients in the wine that they are drinking and there will be more and more wineries adopting ingredient labeling. And, as this happens, it will be interesting to see the longer term reaction of consumers to wines that do not have ingredient labeling. It is likely to be another case of “When The Tide Goes Out You Get To See Who Is Swimming Naked!”


 The Sordid Story of Wine Manipulation: Wine Fraud Covering Over 40 Years of Tasting Old Wines

 Wine Fraud: Caveat Emptor!

Wine Fraud: Lighting Strikes

Lightening Strikes Twice

Stop The Press! The FBI Has Moved To Stop Wine Fraud

One Wine Drinkers Observations Over Nearly 30 Years – Two Faces Of Fraud With More To Come

The Wine Fraud Story: The Beat Goes On

Amateur Night At The Wine Follies: The Answer Was Lying In Plain Sight

Wine Fraud And A Wine Detective: The Story of Don Cornwell




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