Wines & Pesticides/Insectisides - Printable Version

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- Capocheny - 05-24-2005 01:01 AM


Didn't know where to post this but thought I'd do it here... if it's inappropriate, moderators, please feel free to move or delete it. [img][/img]

I gave away a bottle of the Atardi El Pison 2001 to a friend who enjoys wines. His first comment, after thank you, was that they use a lot of pesticides/insectisides in Spain.

I didn't know what to say about this... of course, the fear is that it gets absorbed into grapes that go to make the wines. [img][/img]

Any comments or thoughts on this issue?


- wondersofwine - 05-24-2005 06:43 AM

My first thought is that the fermentation process kills most germs, etc. But I'm no scientist so I hope others with more reliable knowledge will weigh in. There are a few biodynamic (is that the correct word?) and organic grape growers in France that I've heard about.

- Capocheny - 05-24-2005 05:53 PM

Greeting WOW,

In regards to those various organic forms of life (other than the needed yeast) the process of fermentation would eliminate them to a degree. There are some bacteria that thrive in hot temperatures while others don't fare so well. On the other hand, there are some that thrive in an acidic environment while others thrive in a basic culture. So, your point is well taken.

However, what my friend was alluding to was not so much about the organic entities in the wine... he was talking about the chemicals used in the process of eliminating the harmful bugs that can cause damage to the grape crops. One would surmise that the skin of the grape would act as a filter but the chemicals also get into the soils from which the grapes would derive their nutrients. I'm not so sure that the absorption process of getting nutrients into the plant are able to eliminate these chemicals.

Perhaps, there are some plant physiologists on this forum that will/can provide some input?

It's an interesting question that I've not really thought about since most of the wines I consume are from countries such as France, Germany, US, and other similar "modern" regions. Different nations allow differing levels of pesticide/insecticide usage on their crops.

I appreciate that there are wineries out there that adhere to "organic" means of growing their crops but, in the overall scheme of things, those producers are still few and far between. I know that Marcel Deiss is one one those organic growers and he produces a gorgeous glass of wine. I suspect that, in the future, there will be more wineries going in that direction as folks become more and more health conscious. Time will tell. [img][/img]


- wondersofwine - 05-25-2005 09:07 AM

Jean Nicolas Meo of Meo-Camuzet is involved in biodynamic growing in Burgundy (but his wines are also too expensive for my budget). I agree that the movement is picking up some adherents. This shows my age, but I remember going a year without eating any grapes because of the Cesar Chavez protest about spraying of pesticides in California table grape vineyards and what it was doing to the vineyard workers and pickers.

- Bucko - 05-25-2005 12:18 PM

Mmmmmm ... pesticides!


- dananne - 05-25-2005 04:30 PM

And I thought I would be the first one to make a Simpsons reference around here.

- Innkeeper - 05-25-2005 08:14 PM

Have not seen anybody address the pesticide issue in Spain, and frankly I don't know.

- Capocheny - 05-25-2005 09:30 PM


Yes, Meo-Camuzet is involved in biodynamic growing in Burgundy and their wines remain amongst my favorite of all time in spite of the prices! They certainly aren't inexpensive but then... neither are the DRCs or Leroys! [img][/img]

Am I off course on this issue or should we really NOT be concerned about something that may/may not be prevalent in a drink we ALL enjoy? It's akin to cigarette smoking whereby they're now finding that second-hand smoke is as harmful (if not moreso) than direct smoking.

If we're all drinking a couple of glasses a day (of course, it's the BIG Bordeaux sized glasses [img][/img])... just think of the cummulative impact of ingesting pesticides/insectisides day-in, day-out. IMHO, it's a pretty scary thought as to what the long-term effects could be on our systems. If it's good for our heart/lungs but it's poisoning our other systems (liver, kidney, etc)... shouldn't we be concerned?

And, the latest research has linked ingestion of alcohol to an increase in breast cancer risk in women. I mean... these are our wives, daughters, sisters... shouldn't we be concerned about this? [img][/img] [img][/img]

Just my 2 cents worth! [img][/img]


- winoweenie - 05-26-2005 06:35 AM

Caco IMHO there's no problem drinking our favorite beverage. If there was any significant insecticide problem associated with wine-drinking, I'd kill all air bound insects withing 5 blocks every time I go outside. WW [img][/img]

- Bucko - 05-26-2005 08:41 AM

A neoprohibitionist in sheep's clothing?

- Capocheny - 05-26-2005 01:47 PM



"A neoprohibitionist in sheep's clothing?"

You're a moderator? Asking a question now becomes subject to an accusation such as this????

If you're ever in the neighborhood... drop by and see my "little" anti-drinking cellar of a mere 1800 bottles!

Appropriate name BUCKO!

- Capocheny - 05-26-2005 01:59 PM


I agree... I'm the same way when I drink! [img][/img] But, it's not so much the bugs that I'm concerned about (and questioning.) I'm referring more to the chemicals that are absorbed through the skin/roots of the grapes, which are subsequently converted into grape juice used in the wine-making process.


PS: Bucko, if you don't understand the gist of this issue and what I'm asking, please do not respond with your silly accusation.

- winoweenie - 05-26-2005 05:40 PM

Capo my post was meant to inply that if there were insecticides in wines I'd kill the flying insects with the emissions from my lil' fat bod. WW (P.S. You mustn't be too hard on Bucko as his sense of humor is quite twisted. He meant nothing personal by his comment just, as we say in Okla., Funnin'. GOOF GRACIOUS!!! I'm defending Herr Buck-Snort!!!! Put the cork back in the bottle.)

- Capocheny - 05-26-2005 08:30 PM


Thanks for the explanation. [img][/img] I understood the nature of your original comment...

In regards to the defense of Bucko... Funnin', Goof Gracious, etc... his definition of "funnin'" is something I can't/don't/choose not to understand. It's simply NOT funny by any stretch of the imagination.

Dananne's comment... I can understand it as a "fun" comment and causes no problems whatsoever.

However, the accusation by Bucko questions my credibility in an open forum and, this, I don't appreciate nor do I consider it "funnin'!" And, I don't think I'm being overly sensitive by stating my thoughts either. IMHO, his comment isn't tongue-in-cheek material.

It's almost the same as if I had said that Bucko only had a grade 2 education and that anything that came out of his mouth reflects that level of intelligence. How much credibility would you place on his comments after that point? I know what I'd be thinking and I suspect others would feel the same way. :>|

So, I think you can see where I'm coming from on this...

I'd be happy to let this matter drop but I don't think it's appropriate for a moderator (or anyone else for that matter) to make a comment such as the one he made, personal or not, especially in light of the fact that he and I have never even met.... nor communicated prior to this posting!

That said... it would still be appreciated if someone with knowledge (on topic) would respond to the question and issues I posed.


- Bucko - 05-26-2005 11:56 PM

Well Capo old chap, how about unbunching your panties a bit and getting a little relief. You might actually get a laugh to come out. If you are that thin skinned, you shouldn't be on the Internet boards.

Your worries about pesticides are unfounded IMO. Pesticides used on food products are very stringently controlled. The comments sound like propaganda from an organic vineyard or save-the-whales group. Give me one, just one peer-reviewed scientific journal article that raises health concerns over pesticide levels in wines. You'll find just as many if not more contaminants in your tap water.

Veda Federighi, a spokeswoman for the CA State Department of Pesticide Regulation, downplays the CAT report (Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, an Arcata-based environmental organization, has authored a new report that highlights some startling, and scary findings about pesticide use in wine country vineyards), and calls it "misleading" because "proximity does not equal risk."

"We control pesticides not by pounds used but by the toxicity," she says. "These kind of reports ignore the most important element of risk, which is exposure. Growers can only use what's allowed on the label--the choice is theirs, but they can't apply it without controls. And if it's a restricted substance, they have to get a permit from the county agricultural commissioner."

According to Federighi, after pharmaceuticals, pesticides are the most closely regulated chemicals in the state. "That's why we say they can be used safely," she says. "The adverse health effects demonstrated are always on animals that have been exposed to very high doses. These don't relate to exposures on people," she adds.

So once again, I say nonsense. I'm more than happy to be proven wrong by a medical/scientific journal article, but don't try to get me to believe self-promoting or tree-hugger groups propaganda. I want hard medical facts, and I didn't find any when I did a medical journal search just now.

It would be nice if we lived in a perfect world, but we don't. Give credit to Kendall-Jackson. K-J vineyard managers have found alternative strategies to replace each of the common pesticides and further noted that all vineyard managers are now using such sustainable agricultural practices as cover crops, integrated pest management, erosion control, raptor roosts, wildlife corridors and reduced fencing to allow for more freedom of movement for animal "neighbors" living on KJWE ranches.

Others are doing the same, but they still only make up a small fraction of the total. Personally, pesticide in wine is not even on my radar screen of worries.

Hey WW, how did he know I got kicked out of the second grade in Okrahoma? I'm such a bad boy ...

[This message has been edited by Bucko (edited 05-26-2005).]

- Capocheny - 05-27-2005 12:41 AM


Must say... my panties aren't bunched up because panties aren't "my thing!"

I'm like a Cabernet grape... I'm far from being thin-skinned but I'll just say that I'm not one for off-the-cuff stupid comments. I don't have any problems challenging your comment for the validity it lacked. You'll notice that I can be fairly blunt in my comments. I deal with enough psycho-socially retarded people in my job on a day-to-day basis. So, when I come onto a forum such as this looking for (and expecting) intelligent discussions I don't expect to be negatively accused/labeled. And, btw, I enjoy humor as much as the next fellow... but it has to be funny/satyrical for me to enjoy/appreciate it!

Having said that... I'll accept your civil answer as your indirect form of apology.

All I was looking for (with respect to my original posting) was the latter part of your last reply... so, I'll respond by saying, "thank you." [I'm amenable to letting our "disagreement" fall by the wayside if you're open to that!]

In conclusion, my thinking is that it's always important to question issues such as this because it's US that's ingesting these things into OUR bodies. In spite of stringent testing by the various governmental bodies... let's not forget that it's these same regulatory bodies that allowed the various deadly pain killers to pass as "safe" into the marketplace.

As for organic wineries... I've enjoyed their products as much as I have enjoyed wines from the more traditional vineyards. If it tastes good... I'm there! [img][/img]


- Bucko - 05-27-2005 01:12 AM

Again, you make unfounded statements. Being a doctor, I see a lot of BS by the press and alarmist groups in reference to meds (and just about everything else as well). If you want to make "deadly painkiller" statements, back it up with scientific data.

Penicillin and aspirin are two of the most dangerous drugs on the market, FWIW. I don't see any movement to have them removed. Why? No deep pockets for the lawyers to sue, plain and simple. Vioxx is a safe drug when used and monitored appropriately, but TV lawyer ads are rampant for class-action suits.

As far as being blunt, that stuff rolls off of me like water off of a duck. After 20 years on the Internet, the only thing that offends me is WW in shorts.

- Capocheny - 05-28-2005 01:03 AM

Dr. Bucko,

Finally, an expert that can speak on this subject... [img][/img]

Perhaps, you're correct... I shouldn't have made an unfounded statement about the painkillers. However, I believe it was one of the physicians from the FDA that raised the alarm on the Vioxx. He seemed genuinely concerned... he's being an alarmist in your opinion?

"Penicillin and aspirin are two of the most dangerous drugs on the market, FWIW. I don't see any movement to have them removed."

I would suggest that the difference between these two drugs and insecticides/pesticides that "may" be found in some wines is that most physicians are well aware of the negatives/positives of penicillin and aspirin. Furthermore, these drugs are used in the "treatment of..." as opposed to being "causative agents to..."

And, if you're to argue that penicillin and aspirin are also potentially causative agents... I won't argue that point other than to say that, for the most part "outcomes from the ingestion of these two meds are at least, "known (other than idiosyncratic reactions) and can be managed," which is contrary to the unknown effects of pesticides/insecticides that may/may not be found in wines. Lastly, it would be interesting to know the half-lifes of these meds compared to the unknown chemicals found in the insecticides/pesticides.

In conclusion, if I hear you correctly... you're suggesting that, just because it isn't removed from the marketplace, it's okay? That we don't need to be concerned about these issues?

Ergo, if there are chemicals such as insecticides/pesticides in wines but they're not being removed (because there's no deep pockets for the lawyers to sue)... that we should simply accept this as being acceptable? Just maintain the status quo? Don't question it... Yes? No?

Doc, I'm not meaning to be alarmist here... it was simply a matter of questioning the potential effects (either real or not) of such contaminants on our systems. You may well be right and these contaminants may not even be present in our wines. My sole intention is to throw the question out there for discussion (out of interest.)

As for what offends you... [img][/img] I think I'll let WW respond to that one! [img][/img] Glad to hear that you're not easily offended... you must be a cabernet grape too!

BTW... I'll take this opportunity to thank you for the discussion! [img][/img]


- winoweenie - 05-28-2005 07:05 AM

Capo we're both from Okla (Buck-Snort) and as such have endured far more ridicule during knidergarden than most people do getting their masters. If you don't have thick skins the red clay penetrates by the time you're 3 and you're autimatically ushered into the Pawnees. Gasp, Gurggle, Blush.....Forgive me for what I'm about to type Drewskie, IK, and KC.....Bucko has a fountain of wine knowledge that manifests itself occassionally. As far as me in shorts...Several years ago the board published a pixshur of Bucko in shorts and we had 2817 new mwmbers the next day. Alla' the Flamingos on the infield at Hialeigh Race Track joined in masse. [img][/img] WW

- Capocheny - 05-28-2005 01:12 PM

Hi WW,

Thank you for the note... it certainly sounds like you and Bucko have a great sense of humor... which is important on these types of forums. [img][/img] So, you must also be a Cabernet grape as opposed to a Pinot Noir grape in nature? [img][/img]

It's great to have such a diverse group of individuals to discuss things because of the differences/similarity of opinions and viewpoints.

Anyway... I must say that I'm enjoying myself immensely on this forum and look forward to reading Bucko's views on the world of wines (and other things)... as I do yours, WOW's, and others.

One of these days I'll have to get down into your neck of the woods... just to experience the red clay! [img][/img]

So many wines... so little time!