Chemical Reactions

Large scale commercial wines are gnarly, yes, say it like Jeff Spicoli…GNARLY!

Imagine a machine running through the rows of grapes that have been sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals…the machine is not particular, it ravages the vines…collecting all the grapes in their path regardless of quality (unripe, unhealthy, and rotted grapes get harvested, too), but they also collect materials other than grapes, which can include dead crushed animals like birds and foxes. Yum!

And then off to the fermentation process…where all sorts of chemical intervention takes place.

“Today, there can be dozens of chemicals in wine. There are no regulations in law to make companies tell you this… Our bodies aren’t built to handle all these chemicals and additives. Those gnarly ‘wine’ hangovers have nothing to do with wine… Our bodies also can’t process these chemicals and additives like they do natural ingredients. While carbs and sugar obviously aren’t the best for staying fit, if you’re active, your body will use them for energy. But your body can’t do anything with these chemicals and additives, so it stores them.” - Marissa Ross

We've had enough wine to know how certain bottles make us feel (two buck chuck anybody?) - both while we're drinking and the morning after. Bottles full of additives tend to not fare so well the next morning. Others can be problematic for vegans, for example.

At Bodega Bellaire we search out the purest form of juice for y’all. Organic, Biodynamic and Sustainable approaches to vineyard health and longevity are key. Well cared for farmers, interns, vintners are important to us. Wines that speak of place, passion of the winemaker and of course are delicious!

This is fun…here is a breakdown of chemicals currently used in conventional winemaking and what we try to avoid when looking for the next great bottle for you!:


Inhibits microbial growth and stabilizes the color of wine.

Activated Charcoal

Used to filter and improve wine color.

Albumen (egg white)

Fining agent for wine.

Aluminum Silicates (bentonite or kaolin)

Used to clarify/fine wine.

Ammonium Phosphate

Accelerates fermentation.

Ascorbic Acid

Used as a preservative and/or anti-bacterial agent.

Beta Glucanase

An enzyme sometimes used to reduce sediments.

Calcium Carbonate

Reduces the acidity of wine.


Used for clarifying wine and/or removing sediment.


An enzyme added to counter bacterial agents in wine.


An enzyme used to assist in the hydrolyzation of cellulose during fermentation.

Citric Acid

Sometimes used in white wines to increase acid levels.

Copper Sulfate

Suppresses bacterial growth and eliminates unwanted odors.

Defoaming agents (polyoxyethylene 40 monostearate, silicon dioxide, dimethylpoly-siloxane, sorbitan monostearate, glyceryl mono-oleate

and glyceryl dioleate)

To control foaming, fermentation adjunct.

Diammonium Phosphate

Helps accelerate fermentation.

Dimethyl Dicarbonate

Used as a preservative.

Distilled Alcohol

Fortifies alcohol levels.

Edible Gelatin

Used to clarify and remove sediment.

Ferrocyanide Compounds

Used to clarify and fine wines.

Ferrous Sulfate

Used to clarify wine.

Fruit Concentrate of Same Grape Variety

Used to boost color and flavor.

Fumaric Acid

Boosts wine acidity.

Glucose oxidase

An enzyme used to stabilize the color of white wines as they age.

Granular Cork

Smooths the texture of wines.

Gum Arabic

Used to clarify and remove sediment.


Fish bladder used to clarify and remove sediment.


Reduces sulfites and reduces certain bacterias.

Mega Purple

A controversial, concentrated syrup used to correct color issues.


Clarifies wine and removes sediment.


Used as a preservative.

Oak Chips

Improves wine flavor.

Ovalbumin (egg whites)

Clarifies wine and removes sediment.


Enzymes that assist in the breakdown of pectin into pectic acid and methanol during fermentation. This tends to help clarify the wine.


Modifies the color of wine and reduces tannins.

Potassium Bicarbonate

Reduces acidity.

Potassium Bitartrate

Stabilizes and prevents sedimentation.

Potassium Carbonate

Reduces the acidity of wine down to acid levels of 5 grams per liter only.

Potassium Caseinate

Clarifies and removes sediment.

Potassium Metabisulphite

Inhibits bacteria and can be used as a preservative.

Potassium Sorbate

Inhibits bacteria and, when used with potassium and copper sulfites, it also functions as a preservative.


An enzyme that kills some bacterial agents and makes wine less heat-sensitive and less likely to produce sediment.


Increases sugar levels of wine. Not allowed in every U.S. state.

Silicon Dioxide

Filters and fines wine.

Sorbic Acid

Used as a preservative.

Soy Flour

Feeds yeast to increase and promote secondary fermentation.

Sulfur Dioxide

A preservative and anti-bacterial agent.

Tartaric Acid

Boosts acidity of wine.

Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B)

Feeds yeast to help finish fermentation.


Anenzyme used to reduce sediment.


A microbial control agent.


Reduces alcohol levels and acidity. Not allowed in all U.S. states.

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