Posts Tagged ‘Not’

 

A French study found chemical residues in wines, but at low levels; experts hope to eliminate need

Disturbing reports of pesticides and fungicides in French wine have raised concerns for consumer safety, but the laboratory that sounded the alarm said the results of their study were misrepresented. The lead author said that chemical residues in wine are too small to have an effect on drinkers, but he added that vineyard workers are being exposed to a significant health risk.

“You’ll consume much more pesticide residue eating apples and strawberries than drinking wine,” said Pascal Chatonnet, Ph.D., owner of Excell laboratory, which works with wine and food industries in several countries, and runs labs in France, Argentina, Spain and Chile. “Your liver will be completely destroyed long before you’ll have toxicity from pesticide residue in wine.”

According to his analysis of 325 French wines produced between 2008 and 2010, 90 percent of the wines showed traces of up to nine molecules related to pesticides and fungicides. None of the molecules are known carcinogens, and the vast majority of wines had levels significantly below legal limits. Only 0.3 percent of the wines did not meet current regulations. “There is no health problem in drinking wine in terms of pesticides,” said Chatonnet. “We have no reason to believe there are high levels of pesticides in wines.”

Read on …

Russian girl stomping grapes during Russian wine harvest.

 

Cheap sweet whites dominate the home market but a handful of ambitious Russian wine producers are raising the standards.
For most westerners, the whole concept of “Russian wine” sounds a bit like an oxymoron. And if you ever sip wine at a Russian party, the chances are you won’t like it much. Or at least you will find it perplexing.

That’s because four-fifths of wines sold in Russia are poor quality semi-sweet varieties, and involve the use of concentrate.

The reasons for this date back to Soviet times, when Russians’ taste for semi-sweet and sparkling wines was formed. Many Russians today consider dry wines too sour. It was Joseph Stalin, an ethnic Georgian, who did most to foster this tradition.

It may be hard to believe but, according to the International Wine Office, the Soviet Union ranked fifth in the world in terms of area under vines and seventh in terms of wine output by the end of the Fifties.
The young Soviet winemaking industry found enthusiastic support from Stalin and from Anastas Mikoyan, his Armenian minister for food production. Both Georgia and Armenia, in the fertile, Mediterranean-like climate of the South Caucasus, have a rich tradition of winemaking that predates even the ancient wine culture of Greece.

Wine was drunk in Russia only by the aristocracy before the 1917 Revolution. But all this changed under Stalin, who believed wine had to be affordable for every Soviet citizen.
Scientists managed to produce frost-resistant, high-yielding varieties of grape. But the quality suffered: wines made from such grapes were barely palatable because of their high acidity and lack of taste. To remedy this flaw, grape sugar and often ethyl alcohol were added to the wines – practices that are still widely used in the Russian wine industry to this day.

Read on …

Women and Wine.

Women and Wine.

 

 

Wine Enthusiast profiles six women in the industry who prove that the grape game isn’t just for the boys.
Women’s History Month may be coming to a close, but these women are worth honoring all year round. Wine Enthusiast tapped these superstars of the wine industry to find out what inspired them to pursue their path.

The Grower: Karen Cakebread, Ziata Wines, Napa Valley, California
After spearheading the marketing division at Cakebread Cellars for 18 years (her former spouse is Steve Cakebread), Karen decided to create her own brand, Ziata, named after her mother, in 2008. Her interests include travel and hiking (she trekked Mt. Kilimanjaro)—and viticulture. She has a particular interest in growing Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir, and does it well.

Ah-Ha Wine Moment:

“Working crush in Napa Valley for the first time…one of my jobs was to collect grape samples for the winemaker. As I was walking the vineyards early in the morning, it was so peaceful and the landscape was so stunning…It also connected me to nature as it relates to agriculture. I’ve always been an outdoor gal so the wine business felt as comfortable as my old, worn-in jeans.”

Standout Moment:

“Planting my first vineyard and harvesting the first crop of fruit, which I helped pick. My second moment is the creation of my own brand, Ziata. I’m involved in every step of the process, from vineyard to bottle. It doesn’t get any more exciting than to watch people enjoy something you’ve made from the heart.”

Read on …

The now well-scientifically-established French Paradox — which has driven a wine/health craze since the pivotal 60 Minutes Episode on Nov. 17, 1991 — is all about moderate consumption.

Red wine sales increased 44% after the broadcast … dropped off a bit, then soared again a year later when the program was re-broadcast. As a whole, per-capita consumption in the U.S was in decline until then. And has been on the upswing ever since.

However, wine industry neglect and government guessing, has made the defining of “moderate” an unclear and, perhaps, unhealthy situation.

What’s Moderate? What’s A Drink?

And are you a drunk and don’t know it?

WHAT IS MODERATE DRINKING?

The biggest problem with defining this level concerns how researchers and government agencies gather data.

In general, the vast majority of the hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies define “moderate” as 1 drink a day for women and no more than two. For men, that range is 1 to 2 drinks a day but no more than 3 or 4. Weekly consumption for “moderate” is 7 for women and no more than 14 for men.

This site: from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) offers the current definition of Moderate & Binge Drinking. While NIAAA receives almost half a billion dollars per year in tax funds, as far as can be determined, they have never conducted studies on the health benefits of moderate consumption.

That may seem unfair, but they are in keeping with other government-sponsored alcohol organizations including those at the United Nations.

DATA COLLECTION ISSUES PLAGUE “STANDARDIZATION”

The definitions of “moderate” and “binge” are somewhat based on the extensive research showing that moderate drinkers of alcohol live longer and more illness-free lives than either heavy drinkers or abstainers (with corrections for abstainers who do not drink because of illness or other health issues).

However, those definitions are based on self-reported consumption data from alcohol consumers who may underestimate the number of drinks they consume. In addition, most drinkers do not have a precise idea of exactly what constitutes “a drink.”

In the absence of hard data in large population studies in hundreds of scientific papers, government agencies have basically made a wild guess and decided that the “standard” is one that contains a very small amount of alcohol — 14 grams.

This is a timeworn bureaucratic technique: when the facts aren’t available, make one up.

And thus, the “standard” drink was invented based on a guess with no solid facts at all.

But like so many government pronouncements — especially when UNchallenged by private parties — this bureaucratic invention of convenience has achieved the level of dogma.

Read on …

How to behave at a wine fest.

How to behave at a wine fest.

 

A bit of advice from Hedges Family Estate, Red Mountain, Washington:

– Don’t tether your wine glass to your neck
– Don’t pinch your fingers and say, “Just a little.” Dump it if you don’t want to finish it, but I’m going to pour as much as I damn well please
– Don’t violently lift your glass mid-pour and say, “That’s enough.” Same deal as above.
– Don’t say, “Give me the biggest thing you have.” This isn’t NASCAR.
– Let “smooth” take the day off from your vocabulary… the whole day
– Don’t shove. I mean… really
– Don’t say you hate Merlot. We all saw Sideways. Guess what: Miles didn’t want to drink Merlot because it reminded him of his ex-wife. That bottle he drank in the end—his most precious bottle—had a ton of Merlot in it. 
– Don’t tell every winemaker about the winery that was down the street while you lived in Lodi
– Don’t ask how the wine scored… ever. 
– Do wear a “Wine’er, Dine’er, 69’er T-shirt
– If you are going to wear one of the those little food trays that has a cutout for your glass, you better be damn sure you are cool enough to wear it. Note: no one is that cool
– Over-buff late thirties guy: Don’t try to impress your date by contradicting me. You’re going to fail. Yeah, try me
– Don’t lick your glass… pig
– Don’t talk about your sulfite allergy. There is a good chance you have no idea what you’re talking about
– Don’t dump into the water pitcher. And always look before you drink out of it
– Practice spitting at home; it will come in handy
– Don’t talk about the legs after you swirl the glass. Here’s a tip: the legs don’t matter.
– Don’t take your heels off and puke in the lobby
– Don’t ask what the most expensive wine on the table is
– Keep the rim of your glass food free
– If you proclaim that you don’t like white or rose, we will make fun of you when you walk away
– NO Perfume! And go light on the lipstick, honey

 

One of the coolest aspects of wine (aside from helping us feel classy as we get buzzed) is that it draws from a history rich in tradition and historical significance (hell, some historians even think that fermentation might have been one of the factors contributing to the advent of civilization in the first place).

But not all traditions and customs are built to last forever, and wine has its fair share of those that have probably outlived their usefulness (kind of like the Iowa Straw Poll). Here are a few of those wine traditions that need to die, along with smarter alternatives to follow instead.

 

Smelling the cork
You can glean a surprising amount of information from a wine cork, but not much from sniffing it. Corks are traditionally presented so that you can examine them for branding, helping to guard against fraud. Do you know anyone who can sniff out a brand? Probably not. And while a cork sniffy-sniff may tell you if a wine has succumbed to some sort of fault, you’ll smell the same stuff anyway once you get your nose in the glass (which looks way less douchebaggy).

Smarter alternative: Look at the cork instead of shoving it up your nostril; if it shows clear signs of leakage or compromise, then you might have a bad bottle on your hands. Also, you can play some nifty bar tricks with it.

 

Examining a wine’s legs
A wine’s “legs” (called “tears” by the French, presumably because that made them feel more effete) are the rivulets or streaks of liquid that run down the inside of the glass after you’ve swirled the wine or taken a sip.

Read on …

Why organic food tastes worse to some
“The halo effect hinges on the values of the perceiver”

 

organic-white

Labeling food as “organic” may not always lead to a positive impression in the minds of consumers, according to a recent Cornell University study.
The research flips the notion of a “halo” effect for ethical food labels. A halo effect refers to a phenomenon where a label leads consumers to have a positive opinion – and in the case of an organic label, a healthful impression – of those foods.
The Cornell research finds that such positive impressions are partly based on the personal values of a consumer. The two-part study found that some conditions can produce a negative impression of organic labels among consumers, due to the consumer’s values.
In the first part, Jonathon Schuldt, Cornell assistant professor of communication, and Mary Hannahan, a student at the University of Michigan, asked 215 students whether they thought organic food was healthier and tastier than conventional food. While most agreed that organics were a healthy choice compared with conventional food, fewer expected organic food to taste good by comparison. This latter finding was especially true for… read on