Everyone encounters random, sometimes juicy, sometimes humorous, sometimes head-scratching tidbits in their line of work. Often enough these little gems are in one ear and out the other - or at least you move on to the next thing, filing that piece of information in some magical place in your brain. What we often take for granted is when these gems actually might have relevance, or interest for other people. Case in point: I've been having a blast preparing for an upcoming, private wine tasting party where cool blends will be featured. A friend of mine met me for lunch mid-preparation and I was just bursting with excitement about this that and the other thing. (Finding out a wine's story, or conjuring my own fantasies based on my gut reaction to tasting a wine is like catnip to me!) At one point my friend looked at me with a smile playing on her lips and said: Well, if you ever forget the exact percentage of which varietal goes into the wine, you can always just look on the label!
I smiled at her practicality and then started to laugh a bit, too. I've learned this is a very American thought.
Turns out Americans are the ones who like to know the who, what, where, when and why of it all. Perhaps other cultures are similar. But my experience is this is distinctly American - and winemakers overseas go just batty with our concern with such details (when it comes to wine, anyway). If you've noticed, Old World producers aren't quick to make a wine label particularly discerning in terms of which grape(s) actually went into the bottle. If anything, their wine laws somewhat prohibit giving up the goods, if you will, preventing them from even putting the name of the varietal used in the wine if it comes from a certified area (e.g. AOC, in France). (Labeling is actually a total nightmare given all of the moving parts and import/export regulations that vary globally.)
With the American movement to find out every bloody ingredient in everything you consume, winemakers will have their work cut out for them. I mean, most people don't realized that fining/filtering a wine is often done with egg whites, let alone all of the other scientifically orchestrated additives that go into creating a stable wine. (I've got a sensitive stomach and I'm all for them given the alternative!)
Perhaps not a late-breaking news item for all of you, I realized this week perhaps more of you are like my wine-drinking friend out there and haven't heard the latest in wine labeling.... Bonny Doon announced last January it was coming clean. They are listing all of the ingredients in two Demeter certified wines they now produce.
Will Boon Doon start a new trend in wine labeling? Or is it time to put away the magnifying glass and just enjoy the juice?