Blog Post Series: Crafting a Healthier Wine - Redefining Winemaking Standards
Part 5: The Mold Dilemma: Navigating the Impact on Health
A Holistic Perspective on Health and Winemaking
The discussion on molds in viticulture and agricultural settings within winemaking emphasizes the need for a holistic perspective. It's not just about crafting exceptional wines but also about prioritizing the health and well-being of those who savor them. This requires a proactive stance in addressing potential health risks associated with molds. Below is an overview/outline of how we think about mold in regard to winemaking.
1. The Natural Presence of Molds in Viticulture
In the realm of viticulture and agricultural settings, molds are an intrinsic part of the ecosystem. Their presence is natural, and they play roles in various ecological processes. However, the acknowledgment of their natural existence also comes with the awareness of potential threats they pose to human health.
2. Understanding the Risks: Gut Biome, mycotoxins and allergic reactions
Molds can have far-reaching consequences on health. One significant concern is their potential to damage the gut biome. The intricate balance of microorganisms in the gut, crucial for digestion and overall well-being, can be disrupted by certain molds. If gut biome is disrupted, inflammation occurs which becomes a physiological "chink-in-the-armor" resulting in reduced capacity biologically. Additionally, some molds produce mycotoxins, which, when ingested, can have adverse effects on human health. These commonly are recognized as "allergies". Symptoms can include: Runny nose or nasal congestion, wheezing, itchy eyes and/or throat, coughing and sneezing, headaches or migraines, and skin rash. For those with chronic asthma it could trigger an attack. If you or someone you know experiences any of these as a result of drinking red wine, it is VERY likley that mold is a contributing factor. I would be remiss not to mention alcohol also disrupts gut biome to some degree. Our bodies are however pretty good at metabolizing it (that's not a hall pass to over-consume!).
On a personal note, as a business owner/winemaker, I an have increased exposure to wine and I need to function both cognitively and physically at the best level I can. I very much enjoy wine, its flavor, color, aromas and the fascinating process of grape to glass. However I have some sensitivities to the environment, so when I choose to have wine, I choose one (mine usually) I know will affect me the least.
The Call for Attention in Winemaking
This section highlights the importance of recognizing and addressing the mold-related challenges specifically in the context of winemaking. While the natural environment of vineyards can expose grapes to molds, winemakers need to navigate this aspect carefully to ensure the end product is not only delicious but also safe for consumption.
1. Mold Exposure & Mitigating Risks in Winemaking
Our exploration of the mold dilemma extends beyond mere acknowledgment of the issue. Navigating the impact of molds involves understanding the complexities associated with their exposure. Factors such as climate, vineyard management practices, and grape varieties can all influence the prevalence of molds. These intricate variables require a comprehensive approach to mold management in viticulture. For us, this means delving into strategies which potentially eliminate all molds throughout the winemaking process. These include implementing stringent quality control measures, sourcing from organic and sustainable farms that have historically reduced mold exposure, employing advanced techniques for mold prevention, and independent labratory testing for detection.
2. Balancing Quality and Safety
The biggest challenge lies in striking a balance between maintaining the quality of the wine and ensuring its safety for consumers. Our approach involves a meticulous evaluation of viticultural practices, fermentation processes(Our Roadmap), and storage conditions to minimize the presence of molds without compromising the unique characteristics of the wine.
In conclusion, this outline underscores the multifaceted nature of mold challenges in winemaking. Hopefully this will help us understand that considering biological safety when selecting a wine can make a big difference in the overall experience and the following days. Additionally, we hope it prompts other winemakers to go beyond the surface-level appreciation of their craft and consider the intricate interplay between natural elements, health considerations, and the pursuit of producing wines that stand the test of both taste and safety.