Critics Doubt Authenticity of New Blue-Colored Wine

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. skepticism / ˈskɛptəˌsɪzəm / (n) – the act or state of not believing something

    The survey results were met with skepticism because of the limited number of respondents.

  2. artificial / ˌɑɚtəˈfɪʃl̟ / (adj) – unnatural

    The product uses artificial sweeteners instead of sugar.

  3. additive / ˈædətɪv / (n) – something that is added to change or improve something else

    The juice has color additives that make the drink green.

  4. clamor / ˈklæmɚ / (v) – to demand something

    Many customers are clamoring for a taste of the new wine.

  5. sell like hotcakes / sɛl laɪk ˈhɑːtˌkeɪks / (idiom) – to be sold easily and in large amounts

    The new designer bag was so popular that it sold like hotcakes.


Read the text below.

A new blue-tinted wine has been launched in France, much to the skepticism of experts.

The wine, called Vindigo, is produced in Andalucia, Southern Spain. René Le Bail [reh-NEY luh BAHY], the creator of Vindigo, claims that the drink is naturally blue.

To produce the blue-tinted wine, fermenting chardonnay /ˌʃɑɚdn̩ˈeɪ /—a green-skinned grape—is filtered through the pulp of red grape skin. Grape skin naturally has the pigment called anthocyanin [an-thuhSAHYuh-nin], which gives the wine its blue color after the filtering process.

However, a research director at the National Institute for Agricultural Research in France suspects that Vindigo’s color is artificial. This is because anthocyanin appears only in small amounts in grape skin pulp. Also, anthocyanin is red in acidic solutions and becomes blue only in non-acidic solutions. Because wines are acidic, Vindigo’s blue color is likely unnatural and is probably caused by color additives.

If it is proven to use artificial color additives, Vindigo may be considered “wine-based.” International wine labeling laws require wines to have no artificial color additives. If a product includes food coloring, the beverage needs to be labeled as “wine-based” instead of “wine.”

Despite criticisms, Vindigo’s sales are doing well as customers from several countries, including France, Belgium, and Germany, clamor for the blue-tinted beverage. Le Bail reported in August that the first 35,000 bottles, costing €12 each, were all bought by online customers. He also expects the next 600,000 bottles to continuously sell like hotcakes.

Additionally, Le Bail stated that he refuses to sell Vindigo in big supermarkets in France. Instead, he wants to make Vindigo available through small-scale retailers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If Vindigo were sold in your country, do you think it would be popular? Why or why not?
• How do you think people would react if Vindigo turned out to be “wine-based” (e.g. people will stop buying it)?

Discussion B

• What is the importance of having labeling laws for food and beverages? Explain.
• In your opinion, what are some factors that should be considered when making food labeling laws (e.g. ingredients used)? Discuss.

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