Did the Romans drink preservative free wine? A wine maker gave me an interesting interpretation of how the Romans conquered the world. Starting in 92 B.C the Romans raged on for 721 years claiming 20% of the world’s population at the time and 6.5 million square kilometres during their rampage. It was indeed an impressive show of strength and fortitude. I always wondered what they ate along the way to continue forward in their quest to conquer the world. Ironically, it was wine and sourdough bread as their main staple, the two key ingredients that kept their stomach flora at the perfect optimum levels, allowing for little sickness and an ability to have a continuous drive to move forward.
So simple but to this day, something I have found extremely fascinating. Yet, here we are in this day and age drinking what I believe to be substandard wines in comparison due to the numerous “baddies” as my seven year old son calls them which include stimuli, artificial fertilizers, hormones and preservatives and my only question is why? The only logical answer I can come up with is the wine makers have been convinced if they use these (baddies) they’ll have an increase in yield with their harvest and therefore more profits for themselves. Yet once again, it seems, at the cost of the consumer’s health. We think it’s a sad thing and we along with many others would like to see a change.
This story sounds way too familiar. It doesn’t seem like a very logical way to run an industry let alone a country as when people end up sick due to consuming these baddies, we all end up paying for it anyway. Similarly, if one of the Roman soldiers were not at their optimum performance, than the men around them would surely suffer as well. We’re just trying to make sense of it all folks and so far it’s been nothing but confusing. Any help you can offer is warmly welcomed. That is, help uncovering the truth about what is the truth and what is not…nothing more.
On that note, the Chem Free Three have decided to check out our own Australian wines to see why there are so many intolerances by consumers from headaches, to feeling nauseated and often to the point where consumers choose to stop drinking wine all together. Now that’s just a true shame in our opinion. Is the industry trying to drive us away from drinking wine all together? As the percentage of intolerant wine drinkers rise everyday you would think so.
Maybe it’s just us but we feel there are a lot of claims about wines that are misleading and sometimes outright false. We have tried to distinguish between right and wrong, true and false and still in the wine industry’s entirety we find it outright difficult to distinguish between what type of labelling allows what type of baddies and at what accepted levels, specifically when purchasing “Store Bought Wine”, “Organic”, “Preservative Free”, “Biodynamic” and the new kid on the block called “Chemical Free” wines. We are not trying to bag out the labelling system but just trying to understand it and relay this information to you… nothing more.
To distinguish between the types of wines available to us, we have set up the following five-bottle table on our website with corresponding ratio of baddies; stimuli, artificial fertilizers, hormones and preservatives. We wanted to give you an idea of what you are drinking in hopes of bringing to your attention the differences between them all. Granted this is not as accurate as we would like it to be but once we get enough funds, the Amigos are going dedicate their time into investigating further the wine industry and what they are tolerating in terms of allowable baddies in all wines. We hope to raise enough funds to do at least one lab test per month and eventually one per week to verify what claims are being made by actually testing the wine we are consuming leaving no questions about the ingredients. We will offer you only the wines we have had tested by chemical analysis and fit for consumption by everyone, even if they have any severe intolerances to wine. We are plain and simply trying to make it easier for the consumer for as it stands, it’s everything but.
Store bought bargain basement wines –have an allowable 250 parts per million (ppm) of non-organic sulphur dioxide (preservative 220) as set out by the Australian New Zealand Food Standards code 4.5.1. There is sometimes a mixture of grapes from different vineyards and countries especially during a bad harvesting year and therefore extremely hard to distinguish if the set guidelines are being adhered too. There is use of non-organic fertilizers in the soil, pesticides, herbicides, added stimuli hormones and preservatives to keep the texture, colour and flavour of the wine intact for a longer shelf life. If you feel horrible after a glass or two, time to rethink what you are putting into your body. It might be a good time to consider the quality of the wine you are consuming rather than the quantity.
Organic Wine – No guarantee this wine is preservative free but guaranteed lower allowable limits of preservative 220 or sulphur dioxide and a definite distinguishing factor being the sulphur dioxide used is organically derived instead of chemically derived. The majority of high-end Organic Wines run between 0-150 ppm of sulphur dioxide. These and other limits are dictated by two factors, specifically by the country of certification and the certifying body as each have their own allowances; different guidelines and allowable level limits. Like I said, it can be very confusing yet, if you’re able to do your homework the information is accessible on the net. If you have intolerances don’t give up a favourite past time just do your homework or better yet just tune in to our website and we’ll do your homework for you.
Preservative free wine – The Hombres are still not sure what this means. Does it mean no preservatives were added during the wine making process or does it mean no preservatives were added after the wine making process? Regardless, as we understand preservative free is not even possible in the wine making process as some sulphites are naturally released during fermentation. Another marketing ploy? We’ll leave that up to you after trying a glass or two.
Just to reiterate our previous statement there are two types of sulphites; one that is organic and one that is non-organic. Most common brands of wine use the non-organic sulphites because plain and simply it’s cheaper but in no way or form better for you. In actuality it’s quite the opposite. So for us this labelling is not only confusing but also could be deemed a bit misleading as some wine maker’s state on their labels “No added Preservatives” instead of “Preservative Free”. What’s the difference then? We believe all bottles in this category should be labelled (no added preservative) as this is basically what it means in our opinion. Due to this confusion the Amigos therefore must assume until proven otherwise, that wines labelled in this fashion allow for other added ingredients and we’d like to get to the bottom of exactly what those other ingredients are. And of course we’d like to know what the wine maker who claims to have no added preservatives uses in the growing process of his/her grapes. It’s all a bit too sketchy for our liking and this category will be at the top of our list for laboratory testing.
Biodynamic Wine – Omits completely the use of any pesticides or herbicides and adopts an age old practice of farming that has gone on for centuries introduced by Rudolph Steiner 1861-1925. We cannot confirm these practices are abided by after the wine is bottled but would assume they would be considering the level of commitment a wine maker must go through to adopt this growing practice in the first place. When a wine grower creates a living ecosystem it becomes the heartbeat of the vineyard generating a life force of health and fertility on the land and in the soil. The quality of grapes grown solely depends upon the herbs, manure and minerals used which enhances and rejuvenates the soil bringing a better taste and quality to the grapes. By working together in harmony with the cycles of the earth along with the local plant and wild life the followers of Biodynamic farming create a cooperation that does not require any outside intervention of non-organic substances such as Pesticides or Herbicides. This leaves Mother Nature to literally take care of herself as she has done since the beginning of time. By using the moon cycles the vines are given the most they can from nature during certain times of the year. This philosophy is a study within itself but we feel as the moon affects the tides it would also affect the growing processes in the same manner and therefore feel that Biodynamics has integrity and should be given merit for its successful outcomes.
Chemical Free Wine – Bar none the Best of the Best! This is the same type of wine the Romans conquered the world drinking. There are absolutely no baddies. Here is the list of ingredients NOT in Chemical Free wine: No artificial Fertilizers, No stimuli, No hormones, No pesticides, No herbicides, No preservatives or anything else you may find in all the other types of wines we have already explained. Simply put it is the purest of the pure and you cannot find a better example of the way wine used to be or should be because it’s absolutely chemical free.
Since the birth of this website we have only found one wine maker who not only claimed he had a Chemical Free wine but also showed us unequivocal proof of his claim by presenting us with his outside sourced laboratory test results. After investigating these results and scrutinising the report we were given, there is absolutely no denying his claim and the authenticity of the lab results he presented us. The process was surprisingly easy as the wine maker sincerely invited our investigation.
After, I then wondered why don’t more wine makers do the same type of testing for their own clients to simply prove what they claim to be true? Big questions we know but considering a lab test is all of $400 we pretty much answered that question for ourselves.
So we have concluded it is in the best interest of the consumer; people like you and me to do this type of testing on our behalf. The sole aim is not to uncover who’s fibbing or not but to expose those vineyards that are actually doing the right thing and present them to you so you then have the opportunity to invite that wine to your dinner table knowing it’s full of goodness. This is the main reason the Chem Free Three have started this website. We want to verify what we are being told to be true and if you have come this far, I bet you do too. The Amigos job is to make it easier for us all to make a proper decision about all wines by offering you the truth of the ingredients inside the wine bottle. For us and I think for most people the truth is simple and has always been so.
Ultimately, we would like wine makers, institutions and governmental bodies to be held accountable for what they are claiming to us, the consumer. If these claims are weak, misleading or downright false then it’s our responsibility for us to speak up and change things. I know no other way of doing so than laboratory testing. It speaks loud and clear and quite frankly that’s exactly what needs to be spoken at this point in time. We hope you agree.
On a personal note, the Chem Free Three would like to thank the wine maker Frank Bonic from The Bonic Family Estate for motivating us to start this site in the first place and we truly believe he has set the new standard in wine making practices.
So stay tuned as the Amigos slowly but surely bring you the best of the best we have found in Australia and ultimately the world by a proven chemical analysis.
And by the way…if anyone out there knows of another wine maker that has proof they grow their wine with this same truth and authenticity please let us know or if you have a favourite wine that you’d like to know the truth about, drop us and email and let us know. We’re always searching but for now we’ve only found one wine maker that is actually walking his talk.
Thanks for Participating
The Chem Free Three
References:- Definitions: See: www.aco.net.au , www.nasaa.com.au, http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/