Why does Shinn Estate include a list of ingredients on the label?
At Shinn Estate Vineyards we believe that nature coupled with a light human hand produces wines that best represent the place they are grown. When it comes to winegrowing we do our best to allow nature to express itself with minimal human intervention. We work hard to be honest and transparent with our customers about all of the processes that lead up to pulling the cork on a bottle of our wine.
Starting with the 2008 vintage we began including an ingredients list on our bottles to demonstrate how little intervention is necessary to produce a wine of place from distinctive fruit. Although an ingredient list is not required by law, if a winery chooses to add a list of ingredients to its back label it must list ALL ingredients.
The TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) in the US and the government authorities in all major wine-producing countries have approved over 60 additives for use in wine. See TTB’s website. Two of the most invasive are:
- Mega Purple, a 2000 to 1 concentrate from lesser red grapes that adds texture, body, and color.
- Velcorin, a chemical that kills everything in a wine in order to eliminate Brettanomyces (Brett).
The TTB (and other governments) have also approved more than 10 invasive industrial processes for winemaking. See TTB’s website. Some of the machines, variations on reverse osmosis, can lower alcohol, increase alcohol, eliminate vinegar, Brett, cork taint, smoke taint, and even sugar from wines intended to be dry by forcing the wine through a membrane under very high pressure. Other machines include:
- Room Temperature Evaporation
- Spinning Cone
- A new machine coming into use: Thermo Flash (Flash Detente)
Given that these modern processing machines and invasive additives are not needed in making fine wine, Shinn has opted to voluntarily include an ingredient list on its labels. Besides sustainably-grown grapes and their natural yeasts and malolactic bacteria, we list everything added. These are limited to the few non-invasive additives in use for well more than a hundred years. We hope to encourage others making fine wine to entrust their customers with their list of ingredients.
Making Sense of Our Label:
*definitions of all the possible ingredients you could see on our label.
- Estate Grown Grapes– all grapes in our wines labeled “Estate” are grown using certified sustainable methods. Barbara Shinn manages 20 acres on our home farm as well as the 5 acre Schrieber Vineyard – also on Oregon Road.
- Sulfur dioxide– we use the smallest amount of sulfur dioxide needed to maintain vineyard character in our wines.
- Yeast– yeasts transforms sugars present in the juice into ethanol and carbon dioxide, our fermentations are done using natural vineyard yeasts
- Yeast nutrient– organic yeast food containing high levels of certain essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids required for healthy yeast fermentations.
- Bentonite– is an impure clay formed by the weathering of volcanic ash. It is an absorbent material that is able to bond with the floating particles that cause cloudiness in wine.
- Tartaric acid– is a naturally occurring substance particularly in grapes. Tartrates are only used if the wines acid/alkaline balance is off. It acts as an antioxidant preserving the wine for extended enjoyment.