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5 Dirty Secrets the Wine Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

Love wine? Us, too. We used to think any wine would do, until we found out what’s happening behind the scenes in mass wine production. It hurt to pour out some of our favorite wine brands (mainly because we hate to see wine go to waste), but we feel better now that we’re drinking honest Italian prosecco the way it should be made—naturally, sustainably, and wonderfully bubbly.

If you’re drinking something other than Coda, we’re concerned. Here’s why:

1. Big Brands Spray Their Grapes with Chemicals

It’s difficult to grow healthy organic grapes at scale. Many growers resort to and rely on pesticides like glyphosate, the active ingredient in the controversial weed killer, Roundup. And since wine doesn’t require ingredient labeling, brands can do whatever they feel is necessary to harvest more grapes, even if those grapes are as toxic as an angry drunk.

2. Those Chemicals Hit Close to Home

Grapes may have a long way to go before they become wine, but the chemicals are latched on for the full ride. One lab tested 10 different wine samples from California’s seemingly pristine North Coast and found glyphosate in all 10 samples. We hope they weren’t taste tests.

Aside from wine-ding up in your glass, chemicals harm vineyards, workers and communities. Pesticides can seep into soil and eventually into the water supply, spoiling some of our planet’s most prized land and tainting the drinking water for wine growing families who live and work on vineyards abroad. Wine is one of the many industries ripe for a better, more sustainable model. Some wine grapes themselves are endangered, bordering on extinct.

3. Added Sugar = Added Hangover

Wine grapes need to reach a certain sugar content to achieve the desired alcohol level. Oftentimes, mass producers find that their grapes aren’t quite ripe enough with natural sugar and will add processed sugar during fermentation. We’re talking about big burlap sacks of sugar being poured into giant tanks.

Sugary, mass-produced wine is a far cry from the sprawling vineyard you may be envisioning and a culprit of the dreaded headache you might be feeling the morning after having even just a glass or two. You don’t need to quit drinking wine; you just need to quit drinking sugar.

4. There’s No Telling What You’re Buying

A handful of companies own about 75% of all wine brands. Over the years, those companies have gotten brazen with their ways. And remember, wine labeling leaves a lot unknown and unsaid.

Some brands add bleaches, concentrated dyes, acids, or possibly even potassium ferrocyanide (cyanide?!) during the filtering process. Then, they mix and match their stuff with different branding until the product sells. A $50 bottle of wine could have easily and literally been a $10 bottle on the bottom shelf in its prior life before being relabeled.

5. You’re Paying for Multiple Markups

In the U.S., an importer brings wine into the country and sells it to a distributor. The distributor then sells it to a retailer, and finally, the retailer sells it to you. When you leave the store with your bottle of wine, you’ve paid the importer, the distributor, and the retailer. Do they think you’re made of money? Meanwhile, the vineyard owner-operator you’d truly want to support probably won’t see much if any of the profit with how tight the margins are in mass production.

Do Wine Differently

Not loving what you’ve discovered? That’s why we made Coda. It’s quality bubbly from Italy to your door, with no GMOs, no sugar, no markup—and no worries of ever running out when you join the Coda Club.