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How to Avoid Phthalates in Wine

How to Avoid Phthalates in WineUncork the bottle, swirl the wine and let it breath, then enjoy a sip of phthalate-infused goodness…oh, wait a minute!

Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor, a consumer rights watchdog group, recently banned three types of wines from the US, according to the Moscow Times.

What? You mean the wine wasn't made in China? 🙂

59% of Wines Tested Contained Toxic Phthalates

Turns out that Rospotrebnadzor found high levels of phthalates in the Chardonnay they tested, as well as high levels of phthalates + bifenazate pesticides in Merlot and Moscato.

As Rospotrebnadzor explains, phthalates are dangerous chemicals that you certainly wouldn't want to be inhaling in the fragrances all around you, let alone ingesting in your wine:

Phthalates are the first class of danger according to the sanitary and toxicological indicators, and can cause functional and other organic changes in the central and peripheral nervous system, as well as oncological illnesses, and fertility problems in both men and women.

How Do Phthalates End Up in Wine?

The researchers investigated the polymer-based items in winemaking facilities that might be responsible for the presence of phthalates in wine, like vats, pumps, hoses, gaskets and tanks. While several things showed significant phthalate concentrations, they concluded that the epoxy resin linings used inside vats represented the major source.

Vinyl Lining Often Used in Beer Cans and Wine Vats

Remember how PVC is considered the most toxic plastic on the planet? Well, vinyl organosol coatings incorporate PVC resins with a plasticizer (hello phthalates!) to aid in film formation. Organosols have all the durable properties found in vinyl coatings but with even better resistance, so you can see why they were often chosen (especially years ago, before we knew about the damage caused by many phthalates).

As we know from numerous studies, vinyl coatings – especially those made with softener chemicals like phthalates – easily migrate into our food (see figure below). This goes for commercial plastic wrap often used for cheese and meat too.

So the longer the wine sits in the vat, the more phthalate chemicals are able to leach into the wine.


Migration from Food Contact Materials Figure 5.12 - L.L. Katan

How to Avoid Phthalates in Your Wine

Normally we would simply recommend going with a certified organic wine to avoid contamination, but I'm sad to say that it may not get the job done in this case. The reason is because steel drums and concrete vats used for fermenting just might be lined with that dang vinyl coating without anyone realizing it. Grrrr.

So the short of it is that you'll need to contact your favorite organic ventnor and ask if they ferment their wine in unlined wood and stainless steel barrels or concrete vats.

Have you already located phthalate-free wines? Please share!

Figure source: Migration from Food Contact Materials By L.L. Katan

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13 Responses to How to Avoid Phthalates in Wine

  1. Chloe August 20, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    Arg! I love wine, and I hate that there is something to worry about with everything! And phthalates are one of the things that I have worried about for years. I would love to know of safe wines people have found.

  2. D.G. August 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    OMG, I didn’t know, and this pretty much ends my wine drinking! Phthalates are so nasty!

  3. linda spiker August 20, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

    I don’t drink but still pinning to “good to know!”

  4. tashenawa August 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    I heard about this a little while ago…so sad that some of my favorite wines were found to not only contain phthalates but also arsenic.

  5. Megan Stevens August 20, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    I didn’t know about the vinyl coating. Thanks for the informative post!

  6. Loriel August 24, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    I swear you learn something new every day!

  7. Heidi August 26, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    I have been drinking organic wine, but would also love to know of any safe wines that you can recommend.

    • The Soft Landing Sisters
      The Soft Landing Sisters August 29, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

      We’re keeping our eyes peeled Heidi, and promise to update our post as soon as we’ve confirmed any organic wines!

  8. drjoor1 August 28, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    See the response I received from the winemaker at my favourite winery “Ridge” – California, below:

    Our vats/tanks are stainless steel and do not contain any phthalates. The hoses that are used for making wine transfers from tank-to- barrel and barrel-to-bottle, are food-grade/non-toxic and do not contain phthalates in their manufacturing process, according to the manufacturer.


  9. Carolina Concern August 30, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    I am a commercial winemaker on the East Coast of the US. I would lile to share that the VAST majority of equipment (tanks, hoses, gaskets, fittings, etc) meet the same food safety standards as mentioned in the previous post. There is no lining of any kind in ohr tanks or barrels. The culprit, as with the recent concerns regarding arsenic from filter media is the huge volume manufacturers. Unfortunately, their wines in stores are now often disguised as small independent labels. PLEASE support your local wineries and vineyards. These smaller, family owned, hand crafted, quality wines are made with care. Avoid the giant conglomerates!

  10. Mrs J March 29, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

    What about the miles and miles of pvc irrigation pipes and tiny plastic hoses that provide water to the drip irrigation all over the vineyards in hot areas?

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