Contains Sulfites

Contains Sulfites (February 2024)

Who hasn’t surmised that the red wine headache comes from sulfites because the bottle of the wines say, “Contains Sulfites,” so that has to be it, right?

This little discussion will be about why bottles of wines say, “Contains Sulfites” and why, if you believe that is the cause of the pervasive headaches, how that came to be, why sulfites are in wines, and what our bodies do with sulfites and if there are any additional foods with sulfites and anything else I can come up with about the subject of sulfites.

Our best cleaning solution in the winery, how we sanitize equipment and hoses is a natural solution which I create. And that natural solution, if I do it right, causes me to instantly lose my breath. Hint, it “contains sulfites!”

We take super-hot water, add citric acid and potassium metabisulfite, which creates free sulfur dioxide. If I, you, or anyone else breathes the vapors from that solution, we immediately cease breathing. And this happens to me every single week!

And I feel fine.

Ever breathe into a glass of wine and you lose your breath? Never.

Ever smell peaches, grapes, oranges, green peppers, tomatoes, apples, broccoli, asparagus, kale, green beans, (what other fruit or vegetable can I type?) watermelon, red peppers….and so forth and so on? And lose your breath? Nope.

How about dried apricots? To this day, I don’t know why dried apricots don’t have “contains sulfites” on them because I have heard from very reliable sources that they contain more sulfites than wine.

I digress for a second.

The 1970’s gave us plenty of new and exciting gifts to the world. Disco is still great. Everyone still sings along to Neil Diamond songs, Rock and Roll really took off and TV dinners were born. I’m just having fun typing!! And salad bars were created.

Sulfur dioxide is an antioxidant and exists in plants naturally. Nearly every single fruit and vegetable we consume “contains sulfites” as the roots pull sulfur out of the ground and deposit in the plant tissues we consume. Our digestive system loves sulfur. As does our cardiovascular system. Sulfur to humans is essential to our lives.

In the 1970’s salad bars were created. Ever notice that soon after you cut an apple the inner fruit starts to brown? What is occurring is oxidation of malic acid (among other oxidative issues).

Are you interested in going up to a salad bar and enjoying browned apples and other fruits and vegetable looking past their prime? I think not. Someone came up with the idea of sprinkling sulfites onto the salad thereby preserving the fresh and tasty visual of the foods on the salad bar.

The difference between my cleaning solution and the fruits and vegetables I mentioned and wine is the sulfur in my cleaning solution is free and in the dried apricots, wine and fruits and vegetables, it is bound in solution.

When sulfur is free, it can and will agitate our respiratory system so much that we stop breathing. If the sulfur is bound, it cannot and will not negatively affect our respiratory system.

Our bodies have learned to positively use sulfur throughout our bodies because we have been consuming sulfur in our food since the beginning of time.

The salad bar, much like my cleaning solution, would have free sulfur dioxide because it would essentially be hard to bind it in solution by spraying it on the salads.

Guess what happens if you put free sulfur dioxide in your mouth which is part of your respiratory system? Guess what happens if you are the slightest bit asthmatic? Could that be a good thing? I think not!

In a knee jerk reaction, our government stepped in and said no to salad bar use (hooray) and that any product adding sulfites had to list the sulfites on the label (how the dried fruit industry gets away without having to label is beyond the scope of this article).

We use sulfur dioxide in winemaking to reduce bacterial spoilage and to reduce oxidative stress on the wines, a good thing. Sulfur has been added to wine since at least the Roman days, at minimum. When we add it, we know what we are doing and 100% of it binds in solution, just like the fruits and vegetables. When we consume wine and natural foods with sulfur our bodies say hooray and use the sulfur in positive ways throughout our entire body.

Again, in its free form, like my cleaning solution which we want it to be both free and bound so we know we have enough to work microbially. It binds first and any excess sulfur becomes free which then restricts my airway when I blend it for cleaning. I step away and I get my breath back. Easy, simple, next…

When we use it in wine it binds to the wine, reduces oxidative and bacterial stress, thereby allowing the wine to age gracefully over many years. If you can smell sulfur in wine, the winemaker should be fired as they are way over the legal limit. You have to be a really sloppy winemaker to make this mistake. Like, really sloppy.

Since the Roman times and through today, if you want to manage your empty barrels, you always, always, always burn sulfur wicks in the barrels to preserve them. This is one method in which sulfur is introduced into wine – the filling of barrels.

The wine industry got caught in the crosshairs of the sulfur conversation and today in the US, we have to label our wines with “contains sulfites” even if the winery does not add sulfites because sulfites will exist in the grapes naturally.

Because the sulfur is bound in solution I know of no known health issues with the sulfur, only benefits.

We do strongly believe that the headaches, stuffy noses, flush skin, watery eyes, have everything to do with a histamine reaction, with the histamines either created by the body through an allergen added to the wine or by histamines added to the wine. Either health problem is not intentional, it’s just that if one doesn’t know there is a health problem with an additive, how would the winemaker know since the well over 100 additives have been deemed safe and effective for their purpose.

We do believe the health maladies from wine come from protein based fining agents in white wines and sometimes in red wines, added tannins which could contain a heavy dosage of added histamines since grape skins do indeed contain histamines or from coloring agents, either derived from insects (yes, I typed that) or from concentrated grape skins. All of these could cause our bodies to create histamines (like a bee sting causes our bodies to create histamines), or from the added products.

But certainly not from the sulfites.



Shape of Wine Glasses Affect Flavor to the Individual Person

Our wine and restaurant industry both believe there are red wine glasses and white wine glasses. See the paragraph above to know that I’m about to blow that theory apart. That there are Cabernet Sauvignon glasses, Merlot glasses, Chardonnay glasses and Riesling glasses is pure…well…bonk!

But wait. I like my cab glass, you say. Great, I say to you. Beautiful. Keep drinking out of it. But try Chardonnay in it.

The shape of the glass does affect flavor. Absolutely. And we have really studied the science of the glass and overlayed it on top of #3, but then took it a step further. Could subconscious survival mode come into play as well, thus individualizing the glass to the person away from the type of wine?

Jim at Turtle Run has done some incredible work on how the volumetric pressure and vapor pressure of glasses affects the overall flavor perceived by the consumer and takes a critical eye towards steering the shape of glass away from a grape variety and towards your taste bud count. This is radical new science that only comes from Turtle Run. Jim goes so deep with glasses that if you catch him and ask him about glass shape, he’ll probably demonstrate how your subconscious views glasses through different lenses and how the subconscious can affect flavor experienced from different shaped glasses.

In a nutshell / in a Cliff notes fashion, before you drink any beverage, you breathe into the nose. You smell it. Even water. Yep. Sure do. Subconsciously, your mind says, “Is this beverage safe to consume, yes or no,” and the mind goes through the 40,000 (or if you’re younger, maybe 10,000 or 15,000) specific aroma memories. Proceed to drink, yes or no? It’s called the Orthonasal experience. Due to volumetric pressure, vapor pressure, surface tension, temperature and alcohol concentration, each glass will deliver slight nuance differences in aromas. The orthonasal experience determines both safety and what flavors you may experience by aligning subconscious flavor recognitions. Wines, well natural wines like Turtle Run wines, contain upwards of 1500 natural chemical compounds, so there is a lot at play here.

Now, with different slopes, circumferences, and rim thickness, our tongues and lips will shape and place differently to capture the incoming liquid. Try it at home. Get two different glasses and put them up to your mouth and you’ll notice the shape of your lips will be different and your tongue will be positioned differently. Why is that? To keep us from drowning. And to set up flavor recognition. Both. Then, try liquid in those glasses. Notice how one glass pushes the liquid to the back of your mouth? Another sends the liquid to the sides of your mouth and yet another to the front. Uh oh. Most flavors we experience come from the sense of smell. But now the retronasal experience is where we’re going. It’s the breathing out of the nose. And we’re looking at nanoseconds of flavor recognition. We are also paying attention to vaporization in the mouth due to the heat and humidity in the mouth. If a glass sends the wine to the back of mouth, bitters will be more prevalent. If the wine is sent up front or to the sides, the wine will be softer. Why is that? Vaporization. Our nasal passageway is in the back, so if we can get the experience of alcohol to be noticed first (alcohol boils at a lower point than water) and since alcohol is a bitter…see where I am going? A glass that sends the wine to the back allows for the vaporization of bitter alcohol to be noticed first. If you have a lower taste bud count, that’s probably a good thing. If you have a higher taste bud count, that’s probably a bad thing. Make sense? See how the glass should be aligned towards the person and away from the type of wine?

Lets say you have a high number of taste buds and you find Cabernet Sauvignon and other red wines to be, well, um, GROSS! Try it again but in a smaller glass and any glass that keeps the wine up front. Any glass that reduces the orthonasal experience and perhaps you can tolerate cab. On the opposite spectrum, one with less taste buds tends to steer away from sweet wines. Find the biggest darn glass you can that blows up the aromas and sends the wine to the back of the mouth. Perhaps that’s the way to like a sweet wine. Then again, sugar added wines are gross.

Can you see that Turtle Run Winery is very, very different? NOT A “ME TOO” WINERY. Not even close. Hate additives, hate headaches. HATE SUGAR. SUGAR IS THE CAUSE OR CATALYST FOR NEARLY EVERY DISEASE. The head winemaker who is typing this is Jim and I have a background in nutrition, sports nutrition, body health. I also have ADD, and that gift from God keeps me exploring and upsetting apple carts…all…day….long.

Cheers, Jim

Some Recent Thoughts on Sugars

I just posted this on our Facebook page as someone sent me a question on our sweeter wines.  She is on a low carb diet but loves Blue My Mind.

Hi Arynn, thanks for the message. Here are some thoughts on Blue My Mind: A bottle of Blue My Mind typically has about 6-7 g per 100 grams of total sugars per bottle, nearly all of it, if not all of it, is fructose. So how does it taste so sweet? Simple, fructose is 2.2 times sweeter in taste than glucose and 1.72 times sweeter by taste than sucrose, or table sugar. Glucose and Sucrose have 4 calories per gram and Fructose has 3 calories per gram. So what do these numbers mean? Total sugars per bottle of wine: 46.12. Per glass 9.22 for 5 glasses per bottle. Calories: 138.36 per bottle, and 27.66 per glass. Alcohol calories: 273.64 in alcohol per bottle, or 54.73 per glass in alcohol. Add in the fructose, total calories per glass should be around 82.39 calories. If we were to sweeten wine with sugar instead of using arrested fermentation, alcohol total calories would jump from 273 to 380 or per bottle. Sugars would jump up from 138 to 310 for a total of 690 per bottle or 137 per glass. And I am trying to be conservative on the sugars. Basically at 3 calories per gram versus 4 for glucose and sucrose, you have a 25% calorie savings if in solution all you have is fructose. At 2.2 / 1.72 times sweeter, a winery adding sugar has to basically double the sugar grams to achieve the same sweetness level as arrested fermentation. Therefore, it’s easy to get to a 60% less carb calories via arrested fermentation even though my calculations above are less than 60%. Again, I am being generous to a wine with added sugar. If you are trying to avoid any sugar calories, dry wine would be the way to go. If you are trying to avoid glucose and sucrose, which are the worst for us sugars, then purchasing European or Turtle Run sweeter wines are the way to go. Here is another thought, speaking of dieting. I absolutely dispise glucose and sucrose. You can point to these two sugars and see most of the diseases that humans suffer from, including cancer. From 2009 to 2014 we studied how yeast ferment sugars and discovered that they really enjoy converting glucose into alcohols first before all other sugars. Sucrose is broken down by the yeast into one part glucose and one part fructose, then of course, glucose is devoured first. Glucose, in the solution of high fructose corn syrup and sucrose are used a lot by our food and beverage industries in their final products. Glucose and sucrose (because of the glucose within sucrose) are addictive sugars, triggering the same endorphin response as cocaine. To my knowledge, fructose does not trigger endorphin responses. Does this help? Thanks, Jim

Taste Bud Count leads the way to what you enjoy eating & drinking and can guide your personality type

If you some time on your hand, I am involved in a study on how taste bud count can not only affect your personal likes and dislikes in foods and beverages, but can have an effect on what type of career best fits you. And taste bud count may be tied to birth order. If you have time, can you please take this survey for us? Many thanks, Jim

Could Sugar, specifically Glucose, be worse for you than smoking? Sugars, the new Joe’s Jammin Red and White Chambourcin

Joe’s Jammin’ Red! White Chambourcin 2013 & Glucose VS Smoking!

Typing this while absolutely enjoying a glass of our newly bottled Joe’s Jammin’ Red in my right hand and a glass of newly bottled White Chambourcin in the other. Wait, I’m typing, so neither is in my hand, but both are right here on my desk.

And there’s a common thread between them.

First the Joe’s. After reading about Joe’s Jammin’ Red, I’ll give you the Turtle Run history on sugar. I want to give this to you partly out of hubris. We spent a whole lot of time on sugar years ago, before sugar became anti-cool. I simply just want folks to know we broke ground on a lot of this and were the first winery, to my knowledge to figure out that yeasts prefer to consume glucose to fructose. As a quick aside, there are other wineries that use the processes we use, and have done so for years. It’s the why behind it and what is chemically different about the wines which is our unique discovery.

Joe’s Jammin’ Red was the last, the very final wine to go to our sweet process called arrested fermentation, where we literally stop fermentation in its tracks. For the entire 13 years of making Joe’s Jammin’ Red, the wine has never had a granule of sugar added to sweeten it. Rather, we have relied on a combination of arrested fermentation and Suisse Reserve, or back-adding juice or concentrate.

Lab test after lab test has shown that arresting fermentation severely limits the amount of glucose in the wines. Many of our wines either have a trace amount or no glucose remaining in the wines — which is why our sweet wines do not have a sugary, syrupy aftertaste (that’s what glucose provides—sugary, syrupy aftertaste). Our lab results on Suisse Reserve provide us very erratic results, but always more fructose than glucose but not to the ratio that our sweetest wines, the “My Mind” wines have. For instance, a “My Mind” wine typically 90% – 95% – 100% fructose to glucose ratio, whereas Joe’s has been around 70% / 30%. We have always limited the amount of juice added to Joe’s for two reasons. One of them would be we wanted the wine to not be as sweet as a “My Mind” wine. Second, we know that 40% of the US Population is either diabetic or pre-diabetic, and diabetes (type 2) is directly linked to overconsumption of glucose. We want to limit glucose, so we have limited the sweetness of Joe’s Jammin’ Red simply to keep the glucose numbers in check. Here is a great, great article concerning the overconsumption of glucose:
And here is one concerning the US diabetes rate.

To give you an idea, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and another 86 million are pre-diabetic. That’s 34.5% of the American population. And the other epidemic in the United States, cancer, is directly related to the over consumption of glucose.


To shed another light on it, and the gravity of overconsumption of glucose, there are 42 million regular smokers in the US. And each year, there are 224,210 new cases of lung cancer. Do the math, and lung cancer affects 0.533% of smokers each year. Could the overconsumption of glucose be actually worse than smoking? Uh oh…..don’t go there, Jim. Switch to tea. Get rid of this wine. Nope. Staying there. The overconsumption of glucose causes inflammation. If the body is living with constant inflammation, the immune system can be compromised which will allow cancer to take hold and grow. So how many smokers who get lung cancer, could have avoided it if their diet contained less glucose? Oh, here’s the smoking statistic website.

We kept the Joe’s Jammin’ Red at the same sweetness level as before, about 2% residual sugar, simply because our customers like that number.

I know I have mentioned this before, but as a refresher, fructose has 3 calories per gram, sucrose 4, and glucose 4. Fructose to human taste is 2.2 times sweeter than glucose and 1.72 times sweeter by taste than sugar. Do the math, and we can make a 4% residual sugar wine like Red My Mind if we arrest fermentation. To make a dry concord taste as sweet as Red My Mind, a winery would need to add 1.72 times the amount of sugar to get the same sweetness and their sugars would contain 25% more calories to boot. Do that math, and let’s say we had a glass of wine with 10 grams of fructose in it or 30 calories. Their calorie equivalent would be 68.8. And because we arrest fermentation we have fewer alcohol calories too.

Here are some benefits of fructose:, And here too.

So can we just consume fructose with impunity? No, not at all. Everything should be consumed in moderation. But check this link out.

I think that after looking at this research, you’ll come to the same conclusion I have. Fructose is much more natural sugar in our natural food environment. Our bodies are designed to slowly process fructose. Glucose just isn’t available very much in a free form in natural foods without fiber to slow down its digestion. So our bodies, which need glucose in minimal amounts, set up the equivalent of High-Speed Internet over dial-up by allowing it to pass straight from the small intestine right into the blood system since it isn’t readily available in a free form in nature.


By the way, as grapes ripen, glucose is converted into fructose in the fruit. Depending upon when the grapes are harvested depends upon how much initial glucose is in the juice, which is why those grape juice concentrates have been very erratic in their glucose/fructose ratio. However, with arrested fermentation, it really doesn’t matter how much initial glucose exists in the juice solution because yeast prefer to consume glucose at a faster rate than fructose. At about 8.75% alcohol concentration we generally get down to under 3 grams of glucose per bottle. As we get into the 9% or better, the glucose number goes down. Over the years, customers have told me what we are doing is right. I’ve had numerous customers tell me our sweeter wines, including all previous bottlings of Joe’s Jammin’ Red haven’t affected their sugar levels. Now if you have diabetes, will our wines not affect you like other customers? I don’t know.

Until now. I always thought that Blue My Mind (Steuben grape) held the key to taking Joe’s Jammin’ Red to arrested fermentation wine. But we sold it so fast that we never had a shot to blend with it. We quadrupled our production this year, and I had enough wine to play with in Joe’s blend. In our last Joe’s Jammin’ Red, we introduced White Chambourcin to smooth it out. Bingo! It sold out in half the time as the last blend. We also slipped in a little Blue too. We knew we were on course.

Joe’s has always been our sweet, but not very sweet red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is the base. We blended equal parts of concord wine (Red My Mind), Steuben wine (Blue My Mind), and White Chambourcin (dry blush), and left our juice concentrate in the barn. Today, Joe’s Jammin’ Red joins the arrested fermentation clan of the rest of our wines!

By the way, when adding sugar to wine, sugar breaks down into one part glucose and one part fructose. This is a banned practice nearly everywhere outside the US. So why does the US allow it? Literally, I’ve never been able to figure it out. I can say that I have attended wine conferences in the US in which the speakers talk about making sweet wine by adding sugar.

Our last version of White Chambourcin was a good, but not a big seller at Turtle Run. See how drinking wine while typing creates full disclosure? Even I, when working in the tasting room, have not promoted this wine enough. But I do enjoy a glass of wine immensely.

To make Joe’s Jammin Red, we have regularly added some White Chambourcin into the blend. Both the last version and our new one had a 25% addition.

Sorry, wine can kick up my ADD. Back to White Chambourcin. Again, not been a great seller over the years. We have changed up how we make it, but the wine has still been a “cult” wine with its mighty but mini fan base

So when we finally ran low, it was time for an adjustment. Perhaps the problem was the wine was 100% Chambourcin. Perhaps it needed something else blended in.

What about back adding some new fruity Joe’s? Whoa?!!! How about bottling Joe’s and White Chambourcin on the same day, bottle Joe’s first, then use the Joe filter pads, which will have a little Joe’s in them, to filter the White Chambourcin? Game On! After 10 minutes of circulating the White Chambourcin tank through Joe’s filters, we would thoroughly cross-contaminate the White Chambourcin with Joe.s. The next step was figuring out how many, if any, Joe’s bottles would be opened and poured back into the White Chambourcin. After the staff tasted and tasted, we chose to leave the wine as it is. The wine from the filter became the perfect addition.

So if you liked our old version of White Chambourcin, I have squirreled away a few bottles for you. But if you have tried it in the past and weren’t overly impressed, give it a try again. Chances are during our summer concert series, I am enjoying a glass of the new White Chambourcin.

From a taste perspective, both wines are super smooth and super fruity. White Chambourcin hits me with incredible intensity whereas Joe’s Jammin’ Red is light and super fruity.

Other new wines since our last email include Forever More 2014, a dry blush vineyard blend of Diamond, Catawba, Corot Noir, and Noiret, Chardonel 2013 (longer in oak than our last version), Chardonnay 2014, Mammatus #4 (which may remind fans of the original Summer Solstice, a blend of chardonel and traminette, Traminette NV (we blended the 13 and 14 to make a magnificent traminette, Max’s Small Batch Red #43 (cab sauv, cab franc, and syrah), Cabernet Franc 2014, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Rhapsody in Red 2013, and soon to be released the next version of Syrah 2014 and Sangiovese 2014.

So come on out and try some new wines or newer versions of established Turtle Run wines!

European Winemaking Techniques and How They May Benefit You

From the April 2015 Newsletter. Looking at how a seemingly small amount of wine consumed can cause a headache, not a hangover, and how sweeter wines using arrested fermentation instead of back adding sugar results in wine with little to no glucose and a lot fewer calories:

But back to the Max’s Small Batch Red #42 and the Turtle Run Winery philosophy on winemaking. Too many folks wake up today with headaches from drinking too much wine the day before, or so they think. Perhaps, they think that maybe they are now allergic to wine, or a wine type in general. I don’t think it’s from too much wine, and I don’t think it’s from a newfound allergy. I think the headache and other maladies are caused by the explosion of additives that have crept into the wine industry. I’ve had too many conversations with too many consumers over the years (such as “I can go over to Europe, drink their wines and feel fine the next day”), that philosophically, I have become more and more entrenched in relying on winemaking techniques not chemistry books to make our wines. Our 2013 Pinot Noir, for instance, got a tannin and structure boost by taking the pressed cabernet sauvignon skins and adding them to the pinot noir tank, then re-pressing the pinot noir 6 weeks later. This technique of double use of skins is something we developed here after learning that wineries in the south of France used this idea well over 100 years ago, before powdered tannins came into vogue.

Our challenge for the Max’s Small Batch Red #42 was realized a year ago at this time. We simply didn’t have the red wine inventory in barrels to provide us with well-aged wines for the spring of 2015. But how would I soften reds from the 2014 harvest? Naturally? I think the root of the red wine headache comes from a common practice in today’s modern winemaking – additives and fining agents, none of which I have an inherent aversion to using, but the combination of added tannins, Gum Arabic products, and fining agents, to me, has to be at the root as to why these headaches and other maladies have become more commonplace. Nothing else has changed in the past 15 years or so except for more additives available for winemaking.

The reds in Max’s 42 are Sangiovese, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc, all reds with a pop of tannin that typically takes aging to soften. Over the past 15 years, we have intently studied every facet of red winemaking that affects the final flavors and structures in our red wines – temperature, pump-over versus pressing, pump-over intensity and duration, bacteria, yeast strains, skin contact weeks, press intensity, and press fracturing to name a few. What we discovered was an adaptation from white wine making – sur lees, or stirring the lees or spent yeast cells, but with a twist – all done with red wine while the wine remained in contact with the skins. It is well known that some contact with spent yeast cells for white wine will soften whites and add a silky mouth feel to the wine. The cost for doing this process is the scouring of some fruitfulness in the wines. So timing is everything in determining what the proper length of time is to keep the wines on the yeast. We also use this exact same technique to build body and mouth feel with our “My Mind” wines, sweeter reds, and blushes made from American grape varieties.

Speaking of those “My Mind” wines (Red My Mind, Lost, Crossed, Blue, and Slip) we start “My Mind” fermentations at room temperature, then promptly “freeze” them at 6% alcohol and let them very, very slowly ferment over the next 8 weeks with some of the spent yeast cells breaking down into the wines to enhance body and mouth feel without a spike in alcohol. The “My Mind” wines have a silky full mouth feel structure of wines with 14% alcohol but are only at 10% thanks to old yeast cells decomposing into the wines while fermentation is slowly inching along. We thus avoid Gum Arabic and all other smoothing additives.

This process for the “My Mind” wines, is high risk winemaking. Leaving sweet wine on yeast for an extended period of time runs the risk of potentially having the wine finish with not enough residual sugar – you see, the yeast want to eat all of that sugar, glucose first, then fructose last. And we want to keep some of that sugar – we only want fructose though and the yeast are very respectful of what we want. We want the yeast to do so many things for us to make the “My Mind” what they are: sweet wines with a clean refreshing finish, no sugary aftertaste, fruit forward with a nice full flavored expression that is much lower in calories than the typical American sweet wine. We need yeast to consume sugar to make alcohol, and we want them to consume the health challenged sugar first, glucose (glucose is what cancer feeds on, it’s the sugar of diabetes, etc), and impart body and mouth feel which can only be done with extended time of the yeast in the wine. Cold fermentation is the way to do this. This idea dawned on me back in 2004 while teaching a wine appreciation class. We had a German Riesling at 8% alcohol, slightly sweet that had body and mouth feel of a wine with a much higher alcohol percentage. Because it was a highly rated QMT wine, it couldn’t have any added juice to sweeten it. Historically, German white wines have always been sweet and low alcohol. As an aside, yeasts can naturally ferment juice up to and slightly above 17% alcohol. Due to their latitude and continental location, German wineries traditionally have picked their grapes well into October to get the fruit as ripe as possible. As fermentation begins, winter sets in, and since no central heating existed for many centuries, fermentation typically started then stopped, frozen in time due to the cold climate. Over several weeks, some yeast de-compose back into the wines, adding luscious mouth feel and complexity. Then by spring, the clean wine on the top of the tanks was / is racked, siphoned or pumped leaving the yeast behind. So all we do to make the “My Mind” wines is following that approach — duplicating traditional German winemaking processes through the use of extended cold temperatures in the vats. As another quick aside, we discovered EMSL labs in New Jersey several years ago. Having them test what sugars existed in juice and the final wines gave us an idea that yeast are preference based organisms. If my math is correct, if given a blended liquid of glucose and fructose, yeasts will consume glucose over fructose at well over a 90% rate.

Understanding this softening affect of yeasts with German wines and the “My Mind” wines, and already having done research on tannin reduction through extended skin contact, which seems counterintuitive, the fall of 2014 we set about to make bold, dry red wines, which were ready to drink early, but would have no fining agents or any other additives put into play.

All 3 wines aged 7-8 weeks on the skins. All were rigorously pumped over during the first week of fermentation twice to three times a day for 45 minutes each session. All tanks were sealed with 2% residual sugar remaining to build a carbon dioxide head in the skins to add complexity to the wines. Afterwards, the wines were sub circulated every 3 days under the skin cap to speed up the yeast integration process. All were pressed at slightly heavier press settings than in previous years. After another 6 weeks passed, each wine was lightly filtered to remove particulates including yeast. The result, very fruit forward, full bodied red wines with nice tannin structure that lack any harsh astringency and with only one additive – sulfur dioxide.

One more thought on the “My Mind” wines. After exhaustive research and extensive lab tests, we unlocked several positive attributes to how the German Riesling and the Turtle Run sweeter wines are made, a process known as “arrested fermentation.” We discovered that yeasts are highly selective organisms, choosing to ferment glucose before fructose. No wonder bees make their honey into fructose – so yeasts won’t break it down. Arrested fermented wines contain just over 60% less calories than sugar added wines. For instance, fructose has 3 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram in glucose and sucrose, and with a taste that is 2.2 times sweeter than glucose and 1.72 times sweeter to taste than sucrose, fructose is the best natural sugar option. Add up the calorie difference per gram with the fact that the perceived sweetness of fructose is far greater than any other sugar, and the result is we can greatly drop our percentage of residual sugars over sugar sweetened wines. Add in the alcohol calories, and a wine which starts with the same grapes as us, but is fermented dry then has sugar back-added to create sweetness to the perception level of our wines, will have 62% more calories than our wine – a benefit for everyone! But there is another benefit. Diabetes is ravaging our country, and the sugars which cause diabetics problems are sucrose and glucose. Arrested fermented wines have very little to no glucose left behind. Thank you, yeasts!!

Some of this is re-iteration, but here is part of an email I sent to some other winery owners I’ve gotten to know in the US. I attached our lab results to this email, but I can’t figure out how to get them attached to this blog.

I wanted to send this information along to you so you could see that yeasts are very selective when it comes to fermenting sugars. While fermentation is ongoing, yeast will consume all types of sugars concurrently, however, it’s looking very conclusive that they have an extremely strong preference towards metabolizing glucose before fructose.

I’ve submitted wines over the years to EMSL to gather data about yeast activity, but I was especially curious about some wines from this year.

We chaptalized, or added sugar, before fermentation for all three of these wines. For vignoles, we chaptalized by adding cane sugar by 5 degrees brix. For the other two wines, we chaptalized by a gaudy 10 degrees brix. We arrested fermentation via filtration, leaving vignoles much drier than the other two.

There is no trace of glucose left in vignoles, which I knew would be the result due to the 5 degree addition and the percent of R/S I was leaving behind. Too many previous lab tests over the years told me vignoles would be devoid of glucose. However, there is very little glucose left in the other two, especially compared to fructose. The yeasts really attacked the glucose and with the sugar addition, there was a lot of glucose to start with.

I’ve done the math. If Winery A starts with a juice at 23 degrees brix and arrests fermentation at 3-4% residual sugar, and Winery B completes fermentation then back-adds sugar to the same sweetness by taste level as the Winery A wine, if the same ounces are poured, the Winery A wine will have approximately 38 calories, and Winery B will have approximately 100 calories. Half of Winery B’s sugar calories will come in the form of glucose, which is the sugar that causes more health related problems than fructose such as Type 2 Diabetes.

I am not marketing this information. But there are too many sick people these days, taking pills, seeing physicians, etc.

I pretty well knew what would happen when chaptalizing by 5 degrees as we have run that test in previous years. However, I thought the yeast would have a tough selective problem on their hands with so much sucrose added to the juices when we chaptalized by 10 degrees. Nope. Glucose first. And “mother nature” already had the pathway established. Bees figured it out many years ago. Make honey into fructose and not glucose and the honey would be yeast resistant. Of course degrees brix plays a role, but the bees figured that out too.

My conclusion from running this test is very simple. I’m just not a fan of adding sugar at bottling. It’s a banned practice in Europe and the back-adding of juice is either banned for some wines or is severely frowned upon. Aside from making wines that are much more tolerable to our diabetic society (new stat: over 40% of the US adult population over 35 years old are diabetic or pre-diabetic) due to much lower calorie content, low to no glucose remaining, which is the sugar that affects diabetics the most, they taste better with arrested fermentation. The sugary aftertaste seems to be more associated with glucose and not fructose. Try diluting honey which is fructose in water and comparing it to sugar water. We have actually been able to monitor fermentations without lab equipment just through the residual sugar aftertaste. Once that sugary aftertaste is gone, then we know it’s time to test for alcohol concentration and sugar levels. Consistently, that number at first testing is 8.25% – 8.75% alcohol.

I thought you would be interested in this information. It costs me a decent amount of money to do these lab tests, but it’s good information. Customers love the clean taste which is the number 1 reason we only do arrested fermentation. But knowing we are making wines in the healthiest way possible allows me sleep well. We can’t market much about it, but that’s okay.

The philosophies of Turtle Run Winery are simple: First, make exceptional quality wine enjoyed with food and friends. Second, make it in the most health conscious way. Make it beneficial to the consumer in more ways than one.

We just gave away a ton of secrets on how Turtle Run Winery wines are made. We sincerely hope you, the consumer, appreciate our health conscious approach. Too many people are feeling the effects of today’s modern winemaking in the morning. Perhaps, many folks are deciding they can no longer drink wine or a certain style of wine. I’m saying not all wines are made equally, and if you have been having problems with wines, please give ours a try.

Health Benefits of Wine

Every single article I’ve read about wine and health say not to over-consume.  You will have to be the judge as to what your personal limit is, but the ceiling seems to be around two glasses per person per day.  But if you are thinking of adding wine to your diet for health reasons, yes, these are some neat studies, but check with your physician first.

From the site:

The Benefit: Promotes Longevity: Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.

The Benefit: Reduces Heart-Attack Risk: Moderate drinkers suffering from high blood pressure are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack than nondrinkers. Source: a 16-year Harvard School of Public Health study of 11,711 men, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007.

The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Heart Disease:  Red-wine tannins contain procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France have more procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.

The Benefit: Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Moderate drinkers have 30 percent less risk than nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes. Source: research on 369,862 individuals studied over an average of 12 years each, at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center, published in Diabetes Care, 2005.

The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Stroke:  The possibility of suffering a blood clot–related stroke drops by about 50 percent in people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Source: a Columbia University study of 3,176 individuals over an eight-year period, published in Stroke, 2006.

The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Cataracts: Moderate drinkers are 32 percent less likely to get cataracts than nondrinkers; those who consume wine are 43 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those drinking mainly beer. Source: a study of 1,379 individuals in Iceland, published in Nature, 2003.

The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer: Moderate consumption of wine (especially red) cuts the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. Source: a Stony Brook University study of 2,291 individuals over a four-year period, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005.

The Benefit: Slows Brain Decline: Brain function declines at a markedly faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers. Source: a Columbia University study of 1,416 people, published in Neuroepidemiology, 2006.

From the November 2014 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine.

The Heart: Wines contain quercetin, a blood pressure lowering flavonoid found in red wines.  A Spanish study showed drinking a little red wine daily lowers blood pressure by several points in four weeks

Sulfites in Wine:  Sulfite sufferers are rare—less than .005% of humans according to a study in Journal of the American College of Nutrition.  The law came about in the 1980’s when diners became sick after consuming foods from salad bars in which sulfur was used as a preservative.  Sulfites occur naturally in plants, including many fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, asparagus, and dried fruit such as apricots.

Bones:  Over-consumption disallows the body to absorb calcium and vitamin D.  Men over the age of 50 who drink wine regularly increased bone density.  For women, regularly drinking wine reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Cholesterol: Wine increases HDL, the good cholesterol and reduces LDL, the bad cholesterol.  This helps to keep your arteries clean, thus reducing the risk of a heart attack.   In a Denmark study, people who drank two glasses of wine daily for a month increased their HDL levels by 16%.

Brain:  Alcohol does not kill brain cells.  And a Norwegian study proves it.  Over 5000 people tested showed that those who consumed wine outscored their non-drinking buddies on cognitive function tests.

Your Waistline:  A Purdue University study showed that a compound in wine called piceatannol, a chemical very similar to the antioxidant resveratrol, slows fat cell growth by 20%.

Sex Drive:  Do I have your attention?  Researchers at USC found regular red wine drinkers have higher levels of testosterone, which boosts libido for both sexes.  As an aside, I have seen a study that shows an increase in testosterone helps reduce the good ‘ol waistline.

Liver:  Drinking to excess will destroy your liver.  In moderation, red wine can protect it.  According to researchers in Portugal, the antioxidant resveratrol, helps fight fat buildup in the liver.

Digestive System:  Tannins aid good digestive bacteria, and they help prevent colon cancer.  In a Spanish study, folks who drank a glass of Merlot every day for 20 days showed an increase in the bacteria that helps increase the cancer fighting power of any type of antioxidant.

The biggest organ – The Skin:  The anti-inflammatory properties of flavonoids and phenols in red and white wine can increase collagen, which helps delay wrinkles.  Cool, huh?

Jim’s conclusion: Drink a moderate amount of wine and you’ll look younger by having nicer skin, and less of a belly.  Your partner will think you’re witty and smart on your feet, and of course, more physically attractive, and he or she will be able to see you better.  A great sex life will ensue, and you’ll have longer lives together…or something like that. J

From the site:
Nearly one thousand components have up to now been identified.

The mineral composition of wine is special as it contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, sulfates, phosphoruses, all of which necessary to cover daily needs of human beings.

Wine contains vitamins of the group B, and, above all vitamin P which reinforces the cell-wall of capillary vessels, lessening the risks of hemorrhage and oedema.

Wine also comprises more specific components which give it its personality (aroma components) such as phenolic components. The phenolic component is an element whose molecule incorporates several phenolic functions among which are phenolic acids, anthocyanes and tannin.
During the TV broadcast “60 minutes” presented in November, 1991 on CBS, Doctor Serge Renaud gave several millions Americans the opportunity of discovering the “French Paradox”.

He showed that in most countries, a high consumption of saturated grease is largely correlated to an important number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases.

It is not the case in France, and in particular in the Toulouse region (South West), famous for its Cassoulet (baked beans with fat duck or goose, pork…) where death due to coronary disease is low.
After the talk about “French Paradox” on American TV Doctor Klasky decided to review his study.

Among the patients of “Kaiser Permanente” medical center, the analyses showed that wine-drinkers presented less risk of death due to cardiovascular disease than non-drinkers.

In fact, according to Professor Masquelier of Bordeaux University (France) wine present in blood accelerates the elimination of cholesterol.

Can wine help cure cancer ?

Laboratory-mice genetically inclined to develop carcinoma received food containing solid red wine extracts.

The result was that it took much longer than normal for those mice to develop cancer and their life expectation increased by 40% in comparison with that of mice normally fed.

This surprising study was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Davis – California.

Researchers attribute this result to the presence in red wine of polyphenols, in particular to catechine, and to their antioxidizing properties (see composition of wine).

The same protection exists in tea and in a great number of fruits and vegetables.

A recent article in the New York Times said that it seems that resveratol, present in the skin of grapes, inhibits the action of agents favourising cancer. It is the case in leukaeamious cells.

An Essay on Prohibition

Prohibition—The Inconvenient Truth!

This year, we have delved into some of the more intricate aspects of wine.  From sugar to the subconscious, we are trying to empty our brains and give you, our customers, incredible insight into wine.

So now, we’re going to bring you the inconvenient truth about prohibition. First, let me preface this:  The way we act and think today is exactly how people acted and thought 100 years ago and 200 years ago… 300 years ago, and so forth.  History books are written altruistically and not realistically.  History is written with a political purpose in mind, and history is written by the winners, and not the losers, at the time.  Additionally, demonization of the other side has always been done to alter the thoughts of the masses.  If you look at wars for the past 1000 years, economics is the primary determinant cause, with religion a distant second.  Are history books written this way?  Not really.  Think of today’s politics.  They’re vile.  But are they really more vile than 20 years ago?  Seriously!?!  History books are seemingly written about people that appear to have higher, altruistic meanings, but in reality, self-preservation through the satisfaction of others who support them is the driving force for behavior, with economic stability and growth being the key force behind nearly every strategic motive.  Boy, the Max’s Small Batch Red produces some deep thoughts.  Now, how does this tie into Prohibition?  Simple.  To get to Prohibition, one needs to learn a little bit about wine and history.

Honeymoon.  Did you go on one?  The name is based on wine!!!  In Persia, 4000 years ago, it was a tradition for the bride’s parents to provide the newlyweds a month’s supply of mead, or honey wine.  They timed the amount of wine off the lunar cycle, so “honeymoon” literally means “mead lunar cycle”.  Essentially, we have been drinking wine for centuries.  Now for the economics.  It was believed that components within honey helped produce more boys than girls.  And, as we all know, alcohol consumption has produced plenty of babies over thousands of years. The Greeks figured out that multiple people living in the same area created dysentery issues.  Dysentery issues lead to diarrhea.  Diarrhea, if left uncontrolled leads to dehydration.  Dehydration leads to death.  Death leads to a lack of population.  Lack of population leads to no civilization.

The Greeks figured out that no known human pathogen can live in wine.  Therefore, if everyone drank wine, dysentery issues were eliminated. Wine, blended 10% to 25% with water, purifies water, which leads to the growth of both Athens and Sparta. The Romans learned very quickly about the purification processes of wine.  The Greeks, who didn’t take too fondly of being conquered, decided to add pine resin to their wines, in order to keep their wines from being plundered by Rome.  If you ever have a chance to taste Retsina, the Greek wine in which pine resin has been added to wine, you’ll realize it’s an acquired taste, and once you taste it, you will realize why the Romans wouldn’t want it.

I was always puzzled in high school as to why the Roman Empire was the size it was.  Why wasn’t it bigger, and why, from its base in Italy, did it not expand into Germany?  Certainly, it expanded into current-day France and Spain, and for a while, it expanded into Great Britain.  Since everyone needs to drink liquid on a daily basis, and since everyone needs to drink a safe liquid every day, I decided to overlay various Roman Empire expansion and contraction maps, climate maps, and vineyard maps.  Bingo!  It became very easy for me to see that the Romans only conquered lands in which they could grow grapes, and would contract when the climate got too cold in areas to grow grapes.  Since they didn’t have our current Interstate system we enjoy today, and since they didn’t have nice large glass, plastic, and stainless steel containers, it became simple to see that wine was created locally to serve the needs of the local areas.  When grapes no longer were viable, the Romans moved on. Take a close look at the 100 Years’ War between France and England.  Wine is directly tied to it.  Look at some of the Port Houses of Portugal and you’ll see names such as Cockburn and Dows.  Great Portuguese names, right?  Yeah, right…..they’re English.  Take a look at the early writings of Thomas Jefferson.  Why did he keep going over to France?  Why did he try so hard to set up vineyards in the United States?  Basically, the US struggled to grow wine commercially.  That’s why we have dandelions.  They were imported for the express purpose of making wine.

If you still don’t believe me, take a look at various city water records in the United States, and the concern of water-borne diseases.  Today, you’ve heard if you go to Mexico, “don’t drink the water.”  The same could be said of the US water supply until the early 1900s.  More on this topic later.

Let’s go back in time for a moment.  The Mayflower wandered endlessly while crossing the Atlantic.  They broke their charter by landing at Plymouth Rock.  And they knew they broke their charter by doing so.  However, the boat’s passengers were in great peril as they were running out of beer and wine.  Simply put, the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock to build a brewery.

Which brings me to this salient point, how long does it take a sailboat to cross the Atlantic from Europe or Africa?  Several weeks or several months, certainly.  Let me ask you a question since you have to drink every day, exactly what did the passengers consume?  Dasani or Evian bottled water?  Let me ask you this.  If you were to pour a barrel full of perfectly clean tap water, would you be willing to drink out of it for a month or two while you were traversing the Atlantic?  Do you think you might get sick by the second week?  Think you might want some wine or beer?  I thought so.  By the way, they didn’t have perfectly clean tap water back then.  More on that later too. This brings me to pregnant women and children, and what they drank.   Certainly, they had to drink liquid on a daily basis, correct?  Remember, the Greeks taught the world that blending 10% to 25% wine with water, removes all human pathogens.  If a bottle of wine contains 12% alcohol, what is 10% of 12%?  Isn’t it 1.2%?  Could a child or pregnant mother become inebriated off of drinking such little alcohol?  Not really.  Is anyone uncomfortable yet?  Is anyone uncomfortable with your history books yet?  If you’re comfortable with what I just wrote, can you see a mother on a boat, getting “Johnny” a glass of water, only to see him try to spike it with a little more alcohol?  Upon seeing this, good ol’ Johnny gets a great verbal lashing.  Mothers would have easily controlled how much alcohol to put in the beverages their children were consuming.  By the way, there are other comparative items to alcohol and safe consumption.  Silverware was made from silver due to the metallurgical properties of silver.  Simply put, bacteria cannot live on silver.  Wipe it, share it, and re-use it.  Gross thought today, huh?  No Dawn detergent?  No problem!!

With our continents separated by many millions of years, our ecosystem developed much more differently than that of Europe.  The settlers knew we had good land for growing grapes, but when they planted the grapes brought over from Europe, they all died.   European vines simply had no resistance to American diseases like Downey mildew, powdery mildew, anthracnose, black rot, and the root louse phylloxera.  Also, when the Europeans came to America, they saw plenty of Elm and Chestnut trees. Thanks to diseases they brought here, specifically Dutch Elm disease and Chestnut blight, those original American trees are nearly extinct.  Today, our Ash trees are suffering from an Asian import, the Emerald Ash Borer, and our Great Lakes could soon be in peril if the Asian Carp gets through.

So how did the Indians survive without alcohol?  I had to figure someone was thinking of this.  Simple!  They always located their settlements along fast-flowing rivers thereby assuring themselves of not mixing human or other animal waste into their drinking supply.

So what caused Prohibition?  Economics, of course!  Because we needed to consume alcohol on a daily basis until the water supply was cleaned up, Bourbon was the first economically viable alcohol in the US that tasted good and its taste and subsequent potency would lead to massive overconsumption and the temperance movement.  Please keep in mind what the definition of “temperance” is:  “moderation in action, thought, or feeling; restraint,” with the key word being “moderation”.  The root cause of Prohibition was that an employer could expect between 10% and 30% of their employees to show up drunk or not show up at all.  Worker safety, specifically fully trained employees getting injured on the job, along with absenteeism, lead to economic instability at companies.  Spousal abuse ran high due to alcoholism as well.  In looking closely at Prohibition, I have easily come to the strong hypothesis that had the US been suitable for growing grapes, we would not have endured the scourge that early Bourbon consumers wrought upon the US, and Prohibition would not have occurred.

Between 1857 and 1870, Louis Pasteur discovered microbiology, and with his discoveries and subsequent other scientists seeing molecules and bacteria they had never seen before, water-borne illnesses were discovered.  Additionally, by 1870, all of those nasty little diseases in the US vineyards were exported to Europe and subsequently set about to destroy the European vines as well.  With some seriously dumb luck, a blend of copper, lime, and sulfur, subsequently named “Bordeaux Blend” was discovered and its discovery became the catalyst for the development of fungicides.  Additionally, the root louse could be vexed through the hybridization of European vines with American vines.  And, through grafting, European vines could still grow if they were grafted onto American rootstock.  All of this new knowledge was developed prior to and during Prohibition. The US Army, 1910, discovered how to liquefy chlorine, and it was that discovery that ultimately allowed US cities to clean up their water supply.  Cleaning up the water supply eliminated the need for alcohol in liquids.  Prior to this, only good-sourced well water and spring water were clean enough to drink without treatment.  And, how many abundantly good sources of wells and springs exist in cities?  Are you getting a picture of the inconvenient truth yet?

With clean water supplies, the Prohibition movement could pick up steam.  However, the US Treasury was in the way.  Alcohol was a primary source of revenue for the US government.  I ask you this.  When in your life has the government reduced spending?  It never has and it only will when the government gets overthrown, which occurs everywhere, every couple 100 years or so.  So in order for Prohibition to be ratified a new tax had to take the alcohol tax’s place.  Ready for a big lie in your history books?  The Income Tax is labeled as the tax to pay for World War 1.  Do the math, look at the dates, and you will clearly see that it was implemented to replace the alcohol tax.

The original legislation for Prohibition targeted hard alcohol only and excluded beer and wine ( again, for purifying water).  But with the water supplies now clean, it was modified to include all alcohols.

Demonization, the act of “to represent as evil or diabolic” is a time-honored tradition in politics and is the single most used method to position one group of people against another.  If you look at alcohol consumption after Prohibition was repealed, the demonization efforts were well underway.  However, it wasn’t nearly to the degree as it is today.  In order for demonization to really take hold, all you have to do is wait for a generation or two, and with the newer generations having never personally experienced what the past generation experienced, then whatever is said about the past must be true.  Think of the hatred wars of the Balkans in Europe or the Congo in Africa.  Disagreements from 500 years ago are being fought today.  Why?  It doesn’t make sense.  But it does with disinformation and when disinformation becomes the truth, then real problems arise.

What I wrote about above has been widely researched, but our history books do not discuss it because it doesn’t fit the mold of today’s culture.  Seriously, ask anyone who thinks their ancestors didn’t drink what their ancestors drank on those long voyages when they immigrated from Europe or Africa.  Typhoid and cholera were rampant problems in the United States in the early to mid-1800s, especially in cities.   Louisville was actually known as “the graveyard of the West” due to polluted waters containing typhoid and cholera bacteria.

In summary, I believe we needed a temperance movement due to the severe overconsumption of alcohol in the 1800s.  People needed drying out.  Alcohol was widely available during Prohibition, but a decent number of people either couldn’t get it or couldn’t get enough.  Society changed.  Yes, it got more dangerous, but when Prohibition ended, we did not go back to the same drunkard ways before Prohibition.  I believe had we been able to grow grapes commercially then, Prohibition would not have occurred because wine would have been economically viable and not just for the elite class.  With a lower percentage of alcohol, we wouldn’t have had the drunkard times that the 1800s were.

I think the agenda of a certain segment of the population has done and will continue to do an excellent job of labeling the evils of alcohol.  I also think they are accidentally uneducated in the subject matter.  Demonization is such a lovely tool.  In February, when I wrote about sugar, and its inherent dangers, I clearly stated the role that processed foods and beverages spiked with simple glucose in the form of sugar and corn syrup are causing society today.  It’s funny, as we look more closely at those European diets and the lack of health problems they have, it’s their complex diets of fibrous foods and wine, which contains up to 1500 natural chemical compounds which contribute greatly to their success.  The nutrition of complex chemicals in wine can help the US population become increasingly healthy if consumed in moderation.  Instead, something that can help nearly everyone, wine, is demonized by some, yet products that contribute to health problems, such as the epidemic of avoidable type 2 diabetes, aren’t looked upon this way.

Fun Wine Facts Including Calories!

Fun Facts About Wine
By Jim Pfeifer
One Bottle of WineOne Case of Wine
750ml fluid12-750ml bottles/24 half bottles
2.4 pounds grapes (39 oz.)30 lbs. grapes
25.6 oz wine (4/5 quart)307.2 oz wine
4 glasses wine 48 glasses win
One Barrel of Wine One Acre of Land Averages
740 lbs. grapes – 59 gallons2.5 tons grapes = 5000 lbs.
24.6 cases (12-750ml bottles)6.755 barrels at 59 gals. each
295 bottles398.5 gallons wine
295 bottles1979 bottles at 25.6 oz each
7916 glasses wine at 6.4 oz each

Because Inquiring Minds Want to Know

  • Humans originally consumed wine for the express purpose of purifying water? Yep! Blend 10% to 25% wine with water and let it sit for 30 minutes and you can drink that creek water!!!Before 1900 immigrants drank beer and wine on the way over to the United States. They drank beer and wine. Pregnant women and children too. Wouldn’t it be fun to go back 100 years and ask the people responsible for the prohibition movement exactly what their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents drank while crossing the Atlantic…
  • The printing on corks is done “Because We’ve Always Done It That Way”. It was done as a first brand identifier and pre-dates the use of labels. Cool, huh?Did you know that your preference for sweet wine or dry wine could be due to the number of taste buds on your tongue? People who prefer sweeter wines generally have more taste buds than those who prefer dry wines. It’s true!!! At Turtle Run, you will learn the concepts behind this radical science. Visit and check it out.
  • This whole notion of there being red wine and white wine glasses. Heck, that there are Cabernet Sauvignon glasses, Merlot glasses, Chardonnay glasses, and Riesling glasses – well, pure bonk!Jim at Turtle Run has done some incredible work on how the volumetric pressure and vapor pressure of glasses affect the overall flavor perceived by the consumer and takes a critical eye towards steering the shape of glass away from a grape variety and towards your taste bud count. This is a radical new science that only comes from Turtle Run.Jim goes so deep with glasses that if you catch him and ask him about glass shape, he’ll probably demonstrate how your subconscious views glass through different lenses and how the subconscious can affect flavor experienced from different shaped glasses.A visit to Turtle Run Winery is unlike like any other wine experience you’ll ever have.


  • Wine is a mild natural tranquilizer, serving to reduce anxiety, and relieve tension. Wine acts as a mild euphoric agent for the convalescent and especially the elderly. Additionally, wine might even preserve cognitive function in this group as well.
  • Wine helps aid in the digestive process.
  • With 1500 natural chemical compounds, most of the vitamins and minerals your body needs exist in wine in some trace amount, including the valuable “P” Vitamins. Thus, wine helps restore nutritional balance.
  • Moderate wine drinkers have 50% fewer deaths from coronary disease than non-drinkers. Studies in Europe discovered the occurrence of coronary disease to be significantly greater in heavy or binge drinkers and even higher in abstainers.
  • Regular moderate consumption of red wine may act as a preventative against some types of cancer and coronary heart disease as wine dilates the small blood vessels and helps to prevent angina and clotting.
  • Alcohol in wine additionally helps balance cholesterol towards the beneficial type.
  • Several European studies have shown the prophylactic effects of how light to moderate alcohol consumption has a positive effect on diminishing dementia, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Regular consumption of wine or beer has decreased the risk of peptic ulcers and may help to flush the body of bacteria thought to cause them. Don’t over-consume though! That increases the risk!
  • Diabetes: One to two glasses of wine per day could lower reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes by 58%. However hard spirits increased the risk by 150%!
  • Stroke risk is lower for those who drink wine moderately and regularly.
  • Colo-rectal tumors occur less frequently for those who drink moderately and regularly. Throw skin cancer in there too, and the common cold as well!
  • There is no fat or cholesterol in wine. Though there is no dietary fiber in wine, wine does aid in maintaining a healthy GI/GU system.


Body – The weight and fullness of wine in your mouth. Think of it in comparison to milk. Skim milk is light-bodied, whole milk is medium-bodied, and heavy cream is full-bodied.

Fruitiness – Of course, wine is made from grapes, but the magic of fermentation gives most wines subtle aromas of other fruits as well. Some people just sense a general fruity quality while others can identify more specific aromas, like apple or pear in white wines, raspberries, or cherries in reds.

Dry, Off-Dry, or Sweet – A dry wine is one in which there is no sugar remaining after fermentation. An off-dry wine is slightly sweet, but not so sugary that you couldn’t happily enjoy it with a savory meal. Sweet wines are usually considered dessert wines and are usually enjoyed with sweet desserts, or by themselves at the end of a meal. White wines are most likely to be off-dry or sweet; red wines are almost always dry. But even dry wines can have intensely fruity aromas.

Tannin – A quality found almost exclusively in red wines; tannin plays an important part in the texture of the wine. At low levels, tannin can give a wine a slightly rough or scratchy feeling in your mouth; at high levels, it can make a wine astringent, making you feel as if all the moisture had been wrung out of your mouth. A strong cup of black tea gives a very similar sensation.

Many people say they don’t like “dry” wines when what they’re trying to say is that they don’t like rough, astringent wines. Remember, dry refers only to the sweetness level of a wine.

Acidity – Somewhat simple to understand – just imagine a sip of lemon juice. Acidity is the lip-smacker factor that gives a wine its zing. When a wine drinker likes the acidity in wine, they might describe it as zesty or crisp. Wines that are perceived as too acidic are often described as tart or even sour.

All wines contain some acidity, but it usually tastes stronger in white wines than red, in dry wines than in off-dry or sweet wines.

Sweet Wines – There are many ways in which sweet wines are made throughout the world. At Turtle Run Winery, we subscribe to the European way, with no added sugar. Our method for making sweet wine is “Arrested Fermentation”.


Several years ago, we funded a study on whether yeasts are selective regarding sugar consumption. Put simply, if yeasts were provided a mixture of sucrose (sugar), fructose, and glucose, would they be preference-based. And sure enough, they are.

 For instance, if you give a dog two meal options, dog food on the left and a juicy steak on the right, the dog’s going to choose the steak first! Yeast happens to prefer glucose first at a 92% to 95% rate.

Additionally, sucrose will be broken down during fermentation into one part glucose and one part fructose and the glucose will be eliminated first. Fructose happens to be 2.2 times sweeter by taste to humans than glucose and 1.72 times sweeter by taste than sugar. Also, fructose provides a very clean refreshing finish whereas glucose and sucrose leave behind a sugary aftertaste. Some call that a syrupy aftertaste too! Fructose: clean and refreshing. Glucose and sucrose: not so much.

Making wine this way is less caloric than adding sugar and because fructose tastes so much sweeter we don’t need as high a residual sugar as wines containing sugar. The bonus is with less alcohol the fruit flavors explode out of the wine. This method of arrested fermentation is much more diabetic friendly too!

 Calories, Carbs, and Wine – We receive a lot of questions on calories and carb counts in wine. Most wines containing Traminette, Vignoles, Riesling, Chardonnay, Chardonel, and Colombard usually have 0% to 2-1/2% residual sugar. Our “American” variety wines, such as Catawba, Concord, Diamond, Stueben, Niagara, and Edelweis are typically sweeter; up to 3-1/2% residual sugar. This also includes our “My Mind” series of wines. Interestingly, all our sweet wines contain only fructose with perhaps a very small trace of glucose.


 From 2009-2012 we did a disruptive study and discovered yeast is preferential in fermentation and will ferment glucose before fructose if both sugars are in solution. Our results showed that sucrose breaks apart into 1 part glucose and 1 part fructose in acidic solutions with fructose having 3 calories per gram while glucose and sucrose have 4.

Fructose and high fructose corn syrup are completely different products. High fructose corn syrup is a blend of glucose and fructose. I will explain its purpose in a minute. Fructose is 2.2 times sweeter in taste than glucose and 1.72 times sweeter in taste than sucrose. That’s important because if our wine sweetness comes from fructose, it takes substantially less to achieve the “same sweetness” as sucrose and glucose.

Now follow the math. A fructose-only wine at 3% would need to be sweetened with sugar to just under or just over 6%. But right now, I have just given you percentages and calories per gram which, without grams means nothing so I need to convert the percentages into grams.

Still with me? Good. Take, for instance, a 3% residual sugar wine would have 12 grams of total sugars in a bottle. With 12 grams x 3 calories you get roughly 36 total calories of fructose per bottle. Conversely, if sugar was added you would start with 24 grams x 4 calories per gram or 96 calories of sugar per bottle at the same sweetness levels. So, 36 versus 96? You be the judge.

Sucrose is simply 1 part glucose and 1 part fructose. High fructose corn syrup is normally a 45% blend of one and a 55% blend of the other. Consumption of free-form glucose and sucrose is our number 1 health problem in the US.

Glucose, when consumed is the single highest efficient energy source for the body. It is absorbed from the small intestine into the blood system and at that time the pancreas releases insulin in the blood system to make it a usable energy source. The problem is, if you don’t use it, it will cause all sorts of body issues including the production of fat and inflammation.

Fructose, on the other hand, does have some health issues but not too near the degree that glucose does. Not even close. Type 2 diabetes? Glucose. Cancer? Glucose. Heck, even sunburn is associated with glucose.

I know, I am repeating myself, but I want to word it a little differently and emphasize it too. In a study we conducted and funded from 2009-2012 we discovered “sequential fermentation.” Yeast loves glucose, and well, they like fructose, but they LOVE GLUCOSE.

From our research, we were able to determine, that if a solution has a mixture of glucose and fructose in it, the yeast will convert nearly all the glucose into alcohol, heat, and carbon dioxide before going after fructose.

But back to the calories. Again, 36 calories fructose at Turtle Run for a 3% residual sugar wine and nearly everyone else, minimum of 96 calories. So, let’s look at alcohol. If you do the math, there are 1.75 calories of alcohol at 1% solution in 1 oz of liquid.

There are 750 milliliters in a bottle or 25.36 ounces per bottle of wine. At 1% there would be 44.38 calories of alcohol. Our “MY MIND” wines come in at 9% so x 9 you get 399 calories of alcohol per bottle plus 36 in fructose which gives you 435 total calories per bottle. Divide that by 5 and you get 87 calories per glass of nice, sweet wine.

Perhaps that’s an okay number, perhaps not is what you are thinking. Let me add one little fact that very few people talk about, perhaps due to lack of knowledge.

Not all calories are the same. Alcohol calories are 100% respired as carbon dioxide by our bodies. You cannot, no matter what, gain one single fat cell from alcohol. So really you are back to 36 versus 96.

However, can alcohol cause weight gain? Certainly. If you stop paying close attention, chances are you’ll eat more food while consuming alcohol versus drinking water. It’s an enjoyable drink and food is enjoyable too, so we tend to over-eat a bit when we drink.

Let me call attention to another way in which more calories can be added to many American wines. People who prefer sweet wines generally have more taste buds than the average person, a lot more.

As Tim Hanni’s research at points out, we the people can have as few as 500 taste buds to more than 12,000. The folks on the high end have a lot more which means that flavors are amplified or, more intense. The single disruptive intense flavor they do not like in high-intensity amounts is bitters.

As it turns out, sweet and salt are bitter suppressants, so people with a high taste bud count tend to have sweetness and salt around for a variety of foods and beverages: coffee with sugar and creme for instance.

Alcohol is bitter! Uh oh. Wine has alcohol. Though we won’t give the proprietary number away, we know exactly what the percentage of alcohol is for which a high taste bud count person can detect alcohol in a solution, be it water or wine.

I can tell you that it is no accident that our “My Mind” wines are between 9% and 9-1/2% alcohol and at 3% or so residual sugar. This ratio provides me with the lowest-calorie sweet wine I can make.

If a winery allows their wine to ferment to dryness and that dryness is near 12% alcohol, they may want to add close to 12% sugar to achieve the same sweetness level and enjoyment of flavors that our “My Mind” wines have. The result is that wine at 12% alcohol and 12% residual sugar, has a whole lot more calories.

The Moral of the Story