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What's Really in the Wine You're Drinking?

Disclaimer: This is a guest contribution. The views in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of myself or The Butterbean Legacy, and any links in the post are not affiliated in any way with TBL. Any photos in the post are not the intellectual property of TBL.


Hello there, TBL family! I've got some exciting news! I'd like to welcome The Butterbean Legacy's first-ever guest contributor, Pia Sairanen. She's with us today to talk about the dirtier side of wine. She's also got some great tips for finding a better wine. Who wouldn't want to enjoy their delicious wine without that wine hangover? Let's give a warm welcome to Pia!


Are you a wine drinker? Have you ever wondered why wine bottles don’t have ingredient labels? As a self-confessed obsessive label reader, it NEVER occurred to me to question why there were none on wine bottles.

Did you know that the FDA allows the use of up to 250 synthetic chemicals and added sweeteners in the wine-growing and making process? And it does not matter whether you pay $6 or $60 for that wine…

Why the lack of transparency?? Wine-growing and making are governed by the Bureau of Tobacco Alcohol and Firearms (ATF), not by the USDA or FDA. Labeling is not required.

A vase of flowers with a bottle of wine and two glasses.
Photo courtesy of Pia Sairanen.

Why all the chemicals?

Let’s start in the field - if you’re a member of this blog, you probably already know how much more risky, difficult, and time-consuming it is to farm organically or biodynamically. While the end-product is superior, the yields are smaller. That translates to less wine, and less $ for the grower. Commercially grown wines cannot produce the scale they need by farming organically - they use synthetic chemicals for fertilizer, pest, and disease control. These ensure more predictable yields year after year.

In addition - we as consumers crave predictability - we want our favorite wine to taste the same year after year when we pluck it off that supermarket shelf. In reality, that is not how grapes behave AT ALL! Their flavor will change year to year depending on what Mother Nature throws at them. Late spring or early harvest frosts, wet summers, dry summers, hot summers, cool summers - all impact the flavor and texture of developing grapes, thus impacting the resulting wine flavor, color, tannin, acidity, etc.

But because we consumers like predictability, mass-produced wines are manipulated with chemicals, and often a deep, super-concentrated dye called Mega Purple is added to ensure that the wine they are producing meets consumer expectations. (This is the stuff that stains your teeth, and carpet as some have been known to spill, ahem…) Often, stabilizers and preservatives are also needed to ensure the wine doesn’t spoil after bottling.

What are my options if I want to avoid all that junk?

If you are at a restaurant or a wine store- look for biodynamic or organic wines, or choose ones from small winemakers. If none of those are options, opt for something from Europe. That will not ensure the wine is chemical-free, but it will have lower sulfites, and FEWER chemicals than commercially grown, mass-produced American wine.

Option 2: I am a marketer of Clean-Crafted (TM) wines - from field to bottle, no synthetics, and no added sweeteners allowed. Ever. We double lab test for transparency. We are a quirky little winery that partners with small farmers across the globe. Farmers who are dedicated to organic/biodynamic farming and also to leaving the earth a better place than when they started.

Benefits of drinking cleaner wine:

I used to get TERRIBLE night sweats and heart palpitations at 2 am after drinking wine. Like clockwork. It was HORRIBLE. I thought it was hormonal. Those symptoms stopped the day I switched to Clean Crafted wine. Turns out it was my liver processing all those chemicals and sugars at high speed at 2 am. I was an avid red wine drinker. One would think there is no sugar in red wine, that white wine is sweeter - yet I lost 10 lbs in 3 months after switching wine.

And I have not had a wine headache in 2 years. Scout & Cellar‘s biggest attraction to me is our commitment to a healthier, cleaner planet. We use bottles that are 30% lighter to reduce shipping weight and our carbon footprint, we don’t use foil as it serves no purpose, we use household recyclable corks, not natural corks, all our packaging is 100% recyclable printed with soy-based inks, and even our ice packs are filled with drain safe gel. To date, we have supported over 2000 acres of regeneratively farmed land and directly impacted over 100 farmers' lives.

Scout and Cellar infographic comparing their wines to mass-produced wines.
Infographic courtesy of Scout and Cellar.

Check out the difference in sugars and chemicals. The average wine you may be used to drinking can have 16-30 grams of added sugar per liter. And really bad news for your sweet wine lovers - a Moscato could have up to 100g of added sugar per liter. Yikes! But we are not told that because there are no labels! Most Scout and Cellar wines have less than 1 gram of residual sugar per liter (rs/L) - only the sugar that is left from the grapes after fermentation has finished!

Sulfites vary wildly too; mass-produced wines can contain up to 350 parts per million (ppm), while most of Scout & Cellar wines contain under 50 ppm.

Inforgraphic showing statistics of cleaner wine.
Infographic courtesy of Scout and Cellar.

I would LOVE for you to try our wine - and see how different you feel!! We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee - there is ZERO risk in trying. We will send a replacement bottle or put a credit on your account if you’re not delighted with your wine. It’s not like you can taste wine inside a Piggly Wiggly before you buy it, or return a half-drunk bottle if you don’t like it!! Believe me, I tried once! Hit me up with questions!



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