I passed two small tractors today with spraying equipment. One was on the road to somewhere and the other was in a field spraying the grapes. I've seen this scene before and never thought much about it but today the light came on. What is the chemical that they spray on grapes and when does it get taken off.There is very little rain here in the summer so it doesn't come off in the rain. Spain had no rain during the summer months and the chemicals must have stayed on the grapes there too.When they harvest the grapes, they put them in trailers and take them to the vats for the pressing. Actually, they get their first pressing in the trailer and are dumped directly into the pit for pressing.I guess this means that the chemicals go into the wine. Does anyone know what chemicals are used and what the effects are on serious wine drinkers. Maybe that's why they say we live longer drinking wine. We're bug proofed.Just a thought.MACDO001
<<Does anyone know what chemicals are used and what the effects are on serious wine drinkers. Maybe that's why they say we live longer drinking wine. We're bug proofed.>>Grapes are sprayed with many things, most often fungicides, occasionally insecticides. Generally, most fungicide applications occur in the spring and early summer, long before harvest. These chemicals will break down or get washed off long before harvest.However, there are occasionally summertime sprays, the most troubling of which is a material called captan, which is commonly sprayed on many fruits and other crops. It is intended to prevent fruit rots. It's a probable carcinogen, and can be used up to four days before harvest. For fresh fruits, especially apples and grapes, I recommend washing before consumption, which takes care of the residue.For wine, you really don't have that option. Wineries cannot wash the fruit before processing as it would cause serious problems in production (diluted juice). Thus, whatever was on the grapes is in the wine.Having said that, first, you don't really know there were any potentially harmful chemicals applied within two weeks of harvest--longer than that, and they'd break down in the sun even if they weren't washed off. Second, the concentrations of these chemicals is most likely insignificant. Third, if you were to consume a sufficient quantity of wine (read: large) to have these concentrations increase your risk of cancer, I'd have to say the vastly excessive quantity of ethanol you'd have consumed would be a much larger health risk.Thus, you can do one of three things: forget about it, knowing that any risk is immaterial; buy wine made from organically grown grapes; or ask the winery what they spray within two weeks of harvest. Most often the answer will probably be nothing. However, for grapes they have purchased, they probably don't know.The greatest health risk from pesticides is to the farmer, not the consumer.
I am a small time/hobby grape grower in the US in Washington state and can tell that they are not spraying pesticides on the grapes, escpecially in Europe. What the are probably spraying is a fungicide to keep the mildew and rot at bay. There are a variety of fungicides, some are more natural than others. We just spray sulfur every two weeks to keep the botrytis away. It is considered organic. Most of the times in parts of europe they spray something called Bordeaux Blend, which is a mixture of copper and sulfur and is used to keep a variety of fungus at bay. Both are fairly harmless. There are more powerful fungicides that have questionable effects on humans. Most growers try to stay away from them unless there is a serious problem they are trying to tackle. Don't worry about...
Excellent post and very informative -Thank you.But you know I never think of the "effects" when I look at that delicious forthcoming taste when I open a bottle. Wrongly so--maybe its our "man" thing (stupid) like the lack of a condom.The cell phone is attacking our brain,the wine is possibly causing us cancer--I will just have to DRINK MORE to drown my sorrows---In some new Riedel glassware,that I will be buying this weekend,thanks to the informative posts on this board regarding the glasses.Going to wash the OUTSIDE of the bottle off,in case of residue and pop that cork and SLOSH ON (My Polish joke for the day)Saglek
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