Additives in wine you never knew existed

Pressing grapes is only the first step in the long wine-making process.

“It’s a fairly complex science, in order to make great wine,” says Frank Zoll, owner of Zoll Cellars, a small one-man wine-making operation in Shrewsbury.

But most of the wine we buy is now being mass produced.

“The perception is you’re drinking fermented grape juice and the reality is that’s not exactly the truth,” said Chris Null.

Null investigated how wine is being made for Wired Magazine and found more than 200 different compounds can be added to wine.

“When you drink a glass of wine, especially relatively inexpensive wine, you’re drinking a huge array of compounds and chemicals you have no idea are present in the wine,” said Null.

Sugar, water, and yeast are classic components that are added to wine. But some mass produced wines also include mega purple to enhance the color, tannins and oak extract to improve the flavor, gelatin for texture, and the eyebrow-raising additive velocorin, an additive designed to kill any kind of bacteria in the wine.


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