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Bonny Doon first winery to offer ingredient labelling

In January, Californian Bonny Doon Vineyard announced that they are adding a label that discloses all ingredients used in the production of the wine.

The label debuted on the certified Biodynamic 2007 Ca’ del Solo Albarino and 2007 Ca’ del Solo Muscat, which were released in February 2008.

A biodynamic producer in both winemaking and grapegrowing practices, Randall Grahm, owner and winemaker of Bonny Doon, made the decision to add the labelling ‘for a number of reasons, some self-serving, some altruistic’.

“We are really interested in lower-impact and hands-off winemaking. I am drawn to low interventionist winemaking. We are signifying that we are committed to that. We are also trying to be exemplary in a passive-aggressive way, but we are trying not to be too pompous or self-righteous about it,” Grahm said.

On the new Bonny Doon packaging, the ingredients are listed in two sections on the back label of each bottle. The first section highlights the wine’s basic ingredients, such as grapes and sulfur dioxide, found in the wine. The second section will list all ingredients and fining agents used in the production of the wine but essentially no longer remain in it.

“Maybe some of this is a little shrill, but it will engender a dialogue and that’s all for the good,” Grahm said.

Eventually, all Bonny Doon wines will feature the ingredient labelling.

“Everything that is released henceforth will have ingredient labelling. I think it’ll be interesting. People will start to think about wine in a slightly different way. They will start to think about where it comes from.”

Grahm said the decision was in no way prompted by the recent push by the Alcohol Trade Bureau (TTB) to add allergen and ingredient labelling to wines. He called such proposals ‘total nonsense’ because they don’t address the most important issues with wine production.

“I just read the new Michael Pollan book and he talks about nutrient labeling on food and how it utterly misses the point. When they talk about it on wine, it is even more off the point. They are talking about utterly irrelevant issues. There’s more salient information that consumers need to know – has it been treated with additives, has it been filtered, what are the sulfur dioxide levels? That gets down to how the wine tastes and the essential wholesomeness of the wines,” Grahm said.

Source: American Wine Business Monthly, April 2008

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