Winemaker to list ingredients
By Dave BuchananMike Dunne, food and wine critic for the Sacramento Bee, reported Tuesday that maverick winemaker Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard next year will start to list ingredients on the back label of its wines. According to winery spokesman Burke Owens, Grahm is making the move because he wants to make his winemaking more transparent and because he is aware that some consumers are concerned about allergic reactions to elements used to produce wine. Owens said Grahm's ingredient label, recently approved by federal authorities, will consist of two parts, one listing ingredients known to be in a wine, such as grapes and sulfur dioxide, the other outlining products used to process wine that may leave behind trace elements, like yeast hulls and bentonite, a fining agent. Unlike some wineries, Bonny Doon uses no animal or dairy products in its winemaking, so none will be listed, says Owens. According to Dunne, the first wines with the new labels, under the Ca' del Solo brand, are to be shipped to markets in February. Ingredient labeling will be affixed to all wines released from the 2006 vintage forward. Grahmn last year instituted a big change at Bonny Doon by selling off his popular Big House and Cardinal Zin lines and dropping his production from around 425,000 cases a year to about 35,000 cases a year, focusing on his Ca' del Solo Vineyard in Soledad. His wine labels no longer carry the zany cartoon characters of the former style and now display what Grahm explains is a picture of the crystalline structure of the wine. Grahm, who went to biodynamic farming in 20003, said the label reflects the life force of a wine. Grahm's latest action is voluntary, though federal officials are weighing a proposal to require vintners to put on their bottles a warning whenever major food allergens have been used to help make the wine.