kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

New federal gov't label proposal has winemakers nervous

A new proposal from the federal government that would require winemakers to disclose common allergens used in the process of making wine has some wineries nervous.

For centuries, winemakers have used things like egg whites, isinglass (fish bladders), ox blood and other interesting items to fine wine. "Fining" is the process of adding something to the wine so that unwanted particles "stick" together. Then the unwanted components--including the fining agent--are filtered out. The resulting wine can be clearer and purer.

Winemakers argue that since the fining agents are removed before the wine is sold and consumed, they should not need to include these items on the label, and doing so will scare away the customers. Proponents of the label argue that because of the prevalent food allergies, it's necessary for consumers to see this information on the label, especially since wines may also be used for cooking.