Mega Purple, a concentrated coloring? Grape juice concentrate? Oak gall nuts? Bentonite? Ammonium phosphate?
The Los Angeles Times reports that federal regulators are considering revamping the rules governing wine labels. If changes are made, the Times says, the information revealed may end some people's romance with wine:
Additives that supplement what nature failed to provide in an individual wine — tricks of the trade that winemakers rarely talk about — could soon be listed in detail on the labels.
The wine industry, through the Wine Institute, the industry's chief lobbying arm, is opposing the regulatory changes. But could new regulations be good news for consumers?
Wine industry consultants familiar with the subject are divided on the question.
Supporters, such as Leo McCloskey, president of Enologix, a Sonoma, Calif.-based wine consulting company that has analyzed the chemical composition of 70,000 wines, say the best wines don't rely on additives. If ingredients were listed on wine labels, the finer wines would stand out.
"The wine industry is completely unregulated," he says. "It would be so useful to have labels that detail everything in a wine. It would tell the consumer what they are drinking."
But critics of the federal initiatives say ingredients labels would make widely accepted winery practices unnecessarily controversial.
"Why freak out the ignorant when we are adjusting something that is already there in the wine?" says Clark Smith, chairman of Vinovation Inc., a Sebastopol, Calif.-based wine industry "fix-it shop."