Wine labels should list all additives

Wine labels should list all additives, says France’s first female Master of Wine


Wine additives such as extracts of dried fish bladders and animal pancreases should be listed on bottle labels to discourage their use, according to France’s first female Master of Wine.

Isabelle Legeron said few wine drinkers realise what goes into their favourite vintage, even if they are aware of the use of preservatives such as sulphites, which are shown on labels. She called for all ingredients to be listed.

Many wine buffs, she said, are “really careful in what they consume, and yet they don’t know the bottle they are about to pop open for their birthday is made with a fish derivative, known as fish leather. It’s routinely used in white and sparkling wines. It’s a binding agent.”

“People today pay a lot of attention to what they eat so why not to what they drink?” she said. “We’re still in the dark ages when it comes to the wine industry,”

Ms Legeron, 45, launched “Raw Wine”, a “natural” wine fair to showcase wines with fewer additives. She has held shows in London, Berlin and New York.

“If you taste wine with professionals, even the professional may not know how the wine is made,” she told Forbes magazine.

One of 369 international experts holding the highly regarded Masters of Wine certification, she wields influence in the industry and has hosted a TV show, “That Crazy French Woman.”

Wines | Three tips to improve the taste


Slowly decanting a vintage or full-bodied red ensures that any grainy sediment remains in the bottle. Allowing younger wines to aerate for an hour also softens the tannins and enhances fruit flavours.


Much like decanting, swirling, or “orbital shaking” helps oxygenate wine before tasting and also intensifies its aroma.


For the more experienced wine drinker, the process of aspiration – slowly rolling the wine over your tongue before inhaling – is a tried and tested way to draw out more subtle flavours.

Wine is a product of farming,” she said. “Wine is a food. But somehow people view wine in a different category. As wine drinkers we need to start lobbying with our dollars. We need to not buy a wine if we don’t know how it’s made.”

“Natural” or “biodynamic” wines made from organic grapes are a minuscule segment of the wine industry, but enthusiasts argue that not only is it healthier, it also tastes better.

In the preface to the French edition of her book, “Natural Wine”, which came out in Britain in 2014 and is to be published in France this week, Ms Legeron does not mince her words.

“We continue to guzzle wines that are the equivalent of  sausages labelled as ‘free range meat’ but in reality are made with battery chicken.”

Share this Post

Join Us
Join the GT wine club, it's free!