Its All About the Wine

Turtle Run Winery prides itself on producing top-quality, health-conscious wines with a flair for being consistently exceptional but not necessarily exceptionally consistent.

Allow Jim to explain – Two phrases should pop into that sentence, “Health Conscious” and “Not Necessarily Exceptionally Consistent.”

First on health. Sugar is killing us in so many ways, yet many people prefer sweeter wines due primarily to the number of taste buds on their tongues. American wineries typically take dry wine (wine that has finished fermentation completely) and back-add sugar, juice, or juice concentrate before bottling, thus making a dry wine sweet.

By doing so, the wine’s residual sugar becomes half glucose and half fructose (since sucrose breaks down in acidic solutions into its two component parts, glucose, and fructose). But it’s the glucose that’s problematic for the body (think type 2 diabetes, inflammation, a cancer food source).

The world’s most recognized sweet wines do not have added sugar to sweeten them before bottling. Nor do ours. The world’s most recognized dry red wines are made from the fruit and not from added outside chemicals such as powdered tannins. Our dry red wines ferment and age on the skins from a minimum of three weeks up to two months. On occasion, Jim will use an old French technique of re-using skins to deepen the complexity of his dry reds. And yes, the wines are barrel aged. No powdered oak or chips are ever poured into stainless steel tanks to pick up oak flavors.

At most European wineries and Turtle Run too, sweet wine is obtained via arrested fermentation, a process in which fermentation is carefully monitored and the wines are filtered right when the residual sugar is where the winemaker wants the taste to be.

From 2009-2012, Jim conducted break-through research in which he discovered yeast sequential fermentation: whereby yeast converts sugars into heat, alcohol, and carbon dioxide in a unique order.

If sugar is added, it splits the sugar molecule into one part glucose and one part fructose. Think of glucose as a nice T-bone steak and fructose as overcooked broccoli. I’ll eat the broccoli, but I prefer the steak, so I’ll eat the steak first (glucose) and then the broccoli (fructose) last. As it turns out, fructose has 3 calories per gram, glucose 4, so with arrested fermentation, there’s a 25% savings in calories because, at the end of the day, all that’s left is fructose.

Second, fructose is 2.2 times sweeter than glucose and 1.72 times sweeter than sugar. Translation – Turtle Run’s sweetest wine has about 3.5% residual sugar. For a winery to equal our same sweetness, nearly 7% sugar needs to be added. This is a total win for the consumer since fructose is not nearly as disruptive to the body as glucose, Speaking of grams. Turtle Run wines contain about 12-14 grams of fructose per bottle.


<a href=httpsturtlerunwinerycomproduct categorydry reds><strong>Dry Reds<strong><a>

Jim simply does not like using additives in his dry wines. Modern winemaking today uses plenty of additives that are perfectly legal.

From liquid oak to powdered tannins, to all sorts of fining agents.

So many folks these days no longer drink dry reds because they claim it causes headaches. Turtle Run wines are based on grapes and aging in barrels with no oak or tannin additives. From this, you get pure wine that keeps headaches at bay. Yes, sulfites are added, but only because it is required by law. FYI – sulfites are not the culprit of headaches.

Wines contain upwards of 1500 natural chemical compounds, many of which are leached into the wine from the skins. Long skin contact wines allow everything good to be pulled out of the skin. For dry reds, Turtle Run arguably has the longest skin contact in America, at and after fermentation.

Jim could go the additive way to drive for consistency but that wouldn’t be much fun. He wants the best each vintage can deliver, so that means vintage variation. Fortunate or not, due to yearly weather variations vines are going to produce different fruit every year.

Not changing anything from what is written above, but I (Jim) wrote the following on 8/4/2023 about the red wine headache.  Be ready.


The red wine headache explained. Ever get a headache from just a little bit of red wine? Or a stuffy nose? Or a flushed face? Any other allergic reaction? By the way, what I type here cannot be found on the internet except at our Turtle Run Winery website. Here comes my strong hypothesis. Be ready. I am on my own island on this.

Most people believe that yeast only ferment sugars into heat, co2 and ethyl alcohol. If I were to make black bean wine, yeast would remove the inflammatory protein known as lectin. Now, there are no lectins in wine but I add this paragraph as another useful activity that yeast do when fermenting.

Yeast also remove histamines. And this is where I am heading. Grapes have a small amount of histamines in their skins and we ferment red wines on their skins. But in fermentation yeast will remove the histamines, so how can it be histamines?

Think of the allergic reactions that people have with red wine and all of them align with allergic reactions to histamines.

I rarely, rarely run into anyone who says they have an allergic reaction to our red wines, and I have had hundreds who have sworn off drinking red wines try our red wines and they have no problem. So if it’s indeed histamines and the yeast remove histamines, how are they getting back into the wine?

Think of it this way. If you swore off sugar and I handed you a small packet of sugar and said “eat this sugar,” you would probably do it and realize no negative health outcomes. Now, if I gave you a 64 oz liter of a sugary drink and said, “here, drink this,” you might feel a little woozy afterwards, right?

So if I gave you a bunch of grapes and you ate them, you probably wouldn’t have an allergic reaction because the concentration of histamines in the skins is pretty low.

Our wine industry is allowed to add more than 80 different ingredients into wine and one thing our industry likes is a consistent product. Wines naturally contain upwards of 1500 chemical compounds, so in order for wine to taste and look exactly the same year after year there are fining agents, coloring agents, liquid oak and powdered tannins added to wine to give it the look, feel and taste, the same consistency year after year.

Yeast remove histamines. There are super concentrated coloring agents and powdered tannins available to me to add to wine to fix color and tannins. Let’s think of that 64 oz liter at this point.

Super concentration of color and tannins added to wine to me, is like drinking a 64 oz liter of soda. These product are added after fermentation to fix color, mouthfeel, flavor and texture…when the yeast are no longer there to do their magic. My strong hypothesis is this. When natural grape skin derivatives are super concentrated, like anthocyanin, the color component, naturally the histamines will be concentrated. Added back into the wine after fermentation releases a super concentration of histamines, way more than what the grapes could have possibly delivered in grape juice. With yeast not around to clean up this excess amount of histamines, the human body is exposed to a 64 oz serving, so to speak of histamines.

I seriously don’t think anyone is allergic to red wine. I think there are plenty of people allergic to wine that has been modified though. If you stop by Turtle Run Winery, check out the color of our red wines. Yep, they are lighter in color than a great many that you can buy in the stores. And that is fine with me.


<a href=httpsturtlerunwinerycomproduct categorydry white><strong>Dry Whites<strong><a>

Many of Turtle Runs dry whites are barrel fermented though not oaky. Lactones that are imparted by the barrels are minimalized in such a way as to highlight the fruitfulness of the wines. The barrels used and the temperatures they achieve for making whites because of a process called autolysis positively affect the smoothness and body of their wines.

Some say Jim’s “Chard” is a dead ringer for topflight white burgundies. And Turtle Runs “Serendipity”, a blended white, screams of the aromas and flavors of wines from southern France.

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