Regarding the story that CBS reported on last week, regarding high levels of arsenic:

Very high levels of arsenic” in top-selling wines

With a title about high levels of arsenic, it’s enough to scare anyone… And, sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines are looking better all of the time… unless you know the producer and its practices well.

It appeared on Facebook, and I shared it. One of my East Coast friends (not in the wine business) shared my share.

Mary (not her real name) wrote the following with her forward, which I believe this is a typical, average consumer reaction:

MARY:

this is important. careful what you’re drinking. I stay away from USA wines unless I visit a winery

Well, I couldn’t let that teachable opportunity go

SUSAN:

aw crap

Jo Diaz:

It’s more price, MARY. Commodity wines… Produced by some of our wine giants, many in the Central Valley, are at least suspect… Unless they come from a sustainable or organic vineyard.

MARY:

yeah I figure it is about price. But when I’m buying the 10 bottle to have with dinner I go with Italy or France or maybe Chile or New Zealand… I can tell the difference though, I don’t know how the standards are different exactly.

MICHELLE:

Thanks for the heads up Robin.

Jo Diaz:

I’m happy to have shared this piece with you, so you’d be careful about that commodity stuff…

Having lived and worked in the wine business in California for the last 22+ years, I’ve got an important inside edge. I’ve even worked for one of the companies that’s in this law suit, so I’m not surprised on that account. The bigger they are, the harder they’ll fall, and the less they care about the human element (like all corporations).

Read your back labels, if a “family” name or their commitment to quality is there, that’s a dead give away of being GENUINE. A cutesie stories tells you it’s a marketing department making it up. A commitment to quality tells you that someone really does care. I’ve got one brand that I work for that’s about a $9 bottle of wine and the wine is excellent. The grapes come from a sustainable farm from the Central Coast. (It’s the “house” wine at the White House. If it’s good enough for past and the present president and their guests to enjoy at their huge functions, it’s good enough for us all. I know the family who grows it. They’d call it organic, but to do so says, if there is ever a hard rain, they will have to dust with a bit of sulfur (which is on grapes naturally, too). They’d lose their entire crop, if they didn’t. So, they call their wines sustainable.

Many of your European wines dust with sulfur CONTINUALLY, or they’d lose their crops EVERY year (always rains there, where it doesn’t here). So, I wouldn’t recommend completely dissing the American wine industry, I would just suggest being well informed. Your imports are every bit as suspect as are US wines. Like knowing a great astrologer you can trust, it’s awesome… But, I wouldn’t put down the entire profession, because of a few disreputable ones, right… Says she, who has inspired a few good ones in that department, right?

MARY:

you’re awesome. all my wine friends thank you too Jo Diaz. It’s def not easy to discern for most of us buying a bottle. Give me a few recommendations sometime. Pinot Noir & Sauvignon Blanc are my go-to’s, and a malbec or rioja as well

Jo Diaz:

Pinot… Russian River Valley Pinots, you can’t go wrong. Sauvignon Blanc… I have one I’m enjoying right now from Concha y Toro. It’s Chilean. I love their wines. Rioja… just Spain, it’s an import. Pick up Oak Grove Wines, when you don’t want to spend a lot, but will always have great wines. Malbec… Argentina. They’re affordable and luscious. (My palate is of the world, now that I’ve been in it for so long. No one place exclusively..). Experiment, just don’t drink jug wines. I’ve never seen a healthy looking wino.

JILL:

They are taking everything away from us!

Jo Diaz:

No, we’re actually giving everything to you. This is a wake up call for knowing what you’re putting into your bodies. Just read the back labels and avoid inexpensive wines, which have just a marketing spin on the back of them. There are some great wines coming from the US.

JILL:

Oh I read labels! I’m just saying that every day it’s something else…

BARBARA:

Wow! Thank you for the information.

Jo Diaz:

Yes, it is “something else every day” What I’m learning is the bigger they are, the less they care about humans, and only care about the bottom line. I now have credo: If they can afford to advertise, I can’t afford to put it into my body… That simple, Jill.

JILL:

I like that:)