From the New York Times:
It’s always entertaining to read the back label on a wine bottle. In France, where the front usually displays the name of the producer and the wine’s place of origin, the back sometimes details the varietal blend. Some winemakers print a biography, others a poem.
What if the label actually listed the ingredients? There might not be room for them all. Well, maybe on a magnum.
No, wine isn’t just fermented grape juice. The European Union permits 59 things to be added to it, some of them seemingly innocuous (water), others icky (“lactic bacteria,” “edible gelatine”), still others downright scary-sounding (“ferrous sulfate,” “polyvinylpolypyrrolidone”). The United States permits many of these things, plus a few dozen more.
Yet unlike makers of, say, yogurt or soft drinks, winemakers are required to disclose only one additive, sulfur dioxide, via that nearly ubiquitous footnote that reads, “contains sulfites.”
For more, see: The Lack of Veritas in Vino