Channel 4 Dispatches: what's in your wine?
Last night Channel 4 aired an episode of Dispatches titled 'What's in your wine?' (You can watch it here for the next seven days).
It was a desperately poor programme. Some months ago one of the researchers got in touch with me asking questions about what goes into wine. It seemed to me that they'd decided to make a film showing that all sorts of bad things are added to wine, and they were just fishing for dirt. After a couple of conversations and a few email exchanges I decided that I wasn't prepared to help them and go on camera (the bait they used to get some dirt), because this seemed to me to be a hatchet job. While there are many things in the wine industry I'm not happy about, overall, wine is a remarkably natural product and even badly made industrial wine doesn't represent a threat to human health. And I'm not going to help anyone who intends to put the boot into the industry I make my living from.
In the end, they didn't really find any serious targets. They went after Champagne, rather ludicrously making a big play that sugar is added to Champagne. That's the dosage, dude! They had some major brands analysed in their laboratory and found that they contained on average 7 g of sugar per bottle. I could have told you that. The cellarmasters would have told you that. The dosage is an integral part of the production of Champagne. Then they said that fizz they tested from independent producers only had 3.5 g sugar. That's silly. It's just a style choice by the producer. [And Jane, the presenter, mispronounced Moët, not sounding the 't'.]
In an attempt to find examples of producers who added illegal things to their wine, the best they could do was head to Italy where some crazy-looking producer was under prosecution for adding sugar to his wine. Dispatches caught up with him - but rather than run away when he was doorstepped, he seemed happy to chat and admitted that he added sugar. It all went a bit flat.
Labels: fake wine