In a recent laboratory testing of 92 different bottles of French wine, traces of pesticides were found in every single one.
The amount of pesticides in all of the bottles was below the European Union's toxicity limits. However, those limits are only set up for wine grapes before fermentation; while the EU is strict with regulations and has even banned certain pesticides, it has no set limits when it comes to the finished product.
The testing revealed at least one insecticide and a fungicide not allowed in the EU. Wines produced with conventionally grown grapes had four pesticides on average per bottle, while wines made with organically grown grapes had between one and two pesticides. According to the consumer group who performed the tests, Que Choisir, those traces may come from pesticide spraying performed by neighboring wine makers who do not grow organic grapes.
“By drinking a glass of wine, you have every chance of unknowingly swallowing a few micrograms of these pesticide residues. No wine today escapes the pollution by plant-protection products applied to the vines," wrote Que Choisir.
The tests showed that cheaper wines did not necessarily contain more pesticides than more expensive ones. The highest number of pesticides were found in a bottle of 2010 Bordeaux, with 14 different chemicals detected.
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Image: Dominic Lockyer