Although they claim the decision has nothing to do with the U.S. government’s push to put nutrition labels on wine bottles, as of January 2008 Bonny Doon Vineyards will voluntarily be listing ingredients on the back labels of their wines. They will be the first U.S. producer to take this step. Wine components (such as grapes and sulfur dioxide) will be listed along with products used during the wine making process (such as yeast).
From Wine Spectator:
“Randall [Grahm, owner of Bonny Doon] feels that it’s important to openly share with consumers any additions made to the wine, and by extension to make other winemakers responsible for [acknowledging] their own additions and interventions,” explained Alison Davies, marketing associate at Bonny Doon. “We hope for a number of results: by stating all the ingredients, this could lead the industry in the direction of full disclosure and encourage winemakers to be more hands-off and less interventionist.”
I can’t say that I’m surprised Bonny Doon has made the decision to do this. Since 2003, the vineyard has employed biodynamic farming practices and this year received Demeter certification for the production of wine from biodynamic grapes. Mr. Graham seems committed to honest winemaking and doesn’t seem to be afraid to let consumer know how his wines are made. I think it will be interesting to see how many wineries follow suit, as well as which wineries might dare to take this step. I have to imagine it would be other vineyards producing biodynamic or organic wines who share a similar commitment to an honest relationship with the consumer.
I also imagine that he’ll receive some flack for this from others in the industry. The idea of putting nutrition or ingredient labels on wine has not been a popular one. I’ll be following whether or not this has an effect on wine labelling as a whole.