Saturday, November 14, 2009


Good Afternoon, I enjoy my wine as much as the next person, unfortunately I suffer from a yeast allergy. Do you currently have any wines that are yeast free?

Hi Lucy,

Have you had problems while drinking wines in the past? And if so was it really possible to link them to the presence of yeasts?

The reason I am asking is that yeasts, while necessary to the making of wine itself, fall at the bottom of the vats and are raked when transferring wine to different containers. After that there is a process of fining which grabs every particle in suspension, followed by a tight filtration. Another filtration is performed right before bottling. Given the size of a yeast cell it is virtually impossible to find one left in a wine bottle unless the wine has been purposefully kept and bottled without these processes, a rare occurrence that is advertised on the label since it is considered a plus by a certain public.

With allergy however it is conceivable that minute parts of a broken down yeast cell wall be present in the wine and that its protein constituents would be enough to trigger some response. When it comes down to such sizes it is simply impossible to be affirmative. There are a thousand elements in a wine though and if one has a bad reaction while drinking a glass it is pretty challenging to know what he is responding to. Regarding yeasts organically grown wines will not fare any better than conventional since their presence and work is central to the transformation of grape juice into wine. But experience shows that in most cases adverse reactions are caused by chemical residues (herbicides, pesticides) that should not be there or at least can be avoided by drinking organic products. In all our years of experience we found very few people who were not happy with the level of integrity achieved by the wines we selected. However the ultimate judge will be your own physiology when you try one of them yourself.

Dr Mic

Friday, October 02, 2009

How much sulfites does the average wine bottle contain that you would buy at a retail store? I tend to have a hit or miss on wines...if it has a high sulfite content I have a severe allergic reaction. I have started writing down the wines that I dont have a reaction to. I havent had a NSA or organic wine yet.

That is a very good question but one pretty hard to answer! We do know that our wines and organically grown in general MUST be under 100ppm. Our analysis shows levels of 30 to 60 for the reds, 50 to 80 for the whites. Commercial wines (conventional) can have up to 160 but it’s entirely dependant on the winery’s habits. Given the tens of thousands of different labels giving an average has really no useful significance. Moreover the main problem is that nobody knows if you are responding to sulfites or other things or any combinations of the 1,000 chemical components of a wine!! Certainly the residues of chemicals used in conventional viticulture has a big role to play but guess what? Nobody is interested in finding out! Finally the chemically active part of the sulfites present is never measured since it is constantly changing however that would be the only significant measurement. The total sulfites level reported can then have no bearing with the actual active part!

As you can see when you start digging into the matter it is very complex. Naturally everybody in particular the consumer would love a simple yes/no answer but you won’t get it!

What we can say with a certain level of assurance is that the vast majority of people who have ever had any problem whatsoever drinking wine has been extremely satisfied with organically grown wines. Maybe 1% of those with sensitivities still respond to something in organic wines but what is it really (tannins, histamine, anthocyans, sulfites, pesticides residues, etc…) is anyone’s guess!

Dr Mic

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Dear Michel,

We have been traveling quite a bit lately and leave for France next week but I have been intending to write to let you know that I've tried only the Janiny Merlot 2004. I opened it at home one evening last week, poured out a glass and then put the cork back in and enjoyed very much the one glass. Then two days later we went to our friends' house for dinner and I took my opened bottle. Wow! It was very good when I first opened it but after the two days it was truly quite special. It rounded out beautifully with a rich fullness it had gained from, I'm surmising, being opened and doing some breathing during those couple of days?? Anyway, I absolutely loved it. This time I'm going to keep a record of the wines I really like so when it comes time to re-order, I'll get my favorites.

When we go through all of the other wines (which is quite a challenge), I would love to fill the wine room with plenty of organic wines to be able to introduce my friends to how delicious they are.

Kindest regards,

Hi Sherrill,

I am sure glad that you had a more positive experience with the second wine, the way it should be! Indeed it is quite interesting to see how a wine holds and evolves over a couple of days. Surprisingly, organic wines are much sturdier than one might expect and actually oftentimes outlive their conventional counterparts! It is quite exciting to hear that kind of experience and I hope you'll have more like that!

Best regards and happy French travel!

Dr Michel Ginoulhac

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Michel - at the end of June we purchased a case of wines on sale. We
have loved each and every one of them with one exception... the Mas de
Janiny Syrah, 2005. We have really enjoyed this wine in the past and
included 3 bottles in our case. The first bottle was just fine but
the both of the last two have been not even drinkable - the cork was
very colored and the wine actually fizzed upon pouring. Needless to
say we were really disappointed! Not sure what your refund policy is
but I see you have a Barbera still on clearance.... we also had two
bottles of that in our order which have been wonderful and some
chardonnay would also be an acceptable substitute. Thanks for
bringing great organic wines to the world!

- Anna
Hello Anna,

Happy to hear about your satisfaction! Unfortunately your experience with this vintage of Janiny Syrah has been common. This wine has encountered a sad fate which we nor the producer can understand. Since we are always trying to put a minimum of sulfites it is probable that the level was just too low this time and that the wine did not stabilize and refermented in the bottle. It is an illustration of the difficulty of bringing low sulfites wines to market. A problem like that can be devastating to both the producer and the distributor.
Therefore we pulled the '05 out of the Catalog as soon as we understood there was a problem. In the meantime the '06 has just arrived in the warehouse.
We can refund you or send you the 2 bottles you mentioned. Usually we don't do that because of the shipping costs. Would you consider taking a credit for a next order to be more (eco)logical/nomical?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good morning Dr. Michel,

Just to let you know that I have a copy of your brochure, it was included with my first order of organic wines from you. It also includes information on “Storing Wines.”
Although my dwelling/condo is an apartment-type building, my place is air-conditioned. I have the wine stored on its side and will let it rest from at least 5 to 10 days. It was an excellent buy and I am glad to have had a chance to purchase and have it sent and delivered in excellent condition.

Thanks again for the opportunity,

Ciao, Pauline

Can you help me? I am most definitely not a wine expert. However I love the organic wines you offer. I would like to take advantage of the 'angel' discount for the Bousquette wines but I will not be using them until November (Thanksgiving). Can I keep them that long? I do not have a wine cellar/frig/etc.
thank you
Hi Denise,
Don’t worry about these wines, they will last probably several more years! The Rosé is the only one you would want to drink earlier as it would simply lose the quality of freshness typical to these wines. But even this one will be fine in a year (we’re still selling the 07). Actually the Veronique 07 is probably a bit young and will only be better in a few months. 4 to 6 years after harvest year is the average optimum time for these wines. Provided the temperature of your cupboard does not jump up and down you are taking no risk!



Monday, August 10, 2009


Hi Michel,

I read your article on sulfites with interest.
I recently drank a brand of white wine (Pinot Grigio) that I had never tried before (though I have tried several others). I had a severe allergic reaction - my tongue swelled and I had to be rushed to the emergency room.

There was no other change in my diet and I have never had an allergic reaction to anything before. Is it possible that brand has an unusually high sulfite content?

Hi John,

White wines in general contain more sulfites than reds because of the need to preserve color and freshness. Even organically grown contain around 80ppm (max 100 by law). However conventional wines have less restrictions and could go up to 160. It all depends on the bottling conditions and nothing except a chemical analysis will tell you the exact content. Also aside from the total sulfites content, it is the active part that is important because it is the one responsible for the chemical activity and therefore your own reaction. This is never mentioned so you could conceivably with the same amount of total sulfites for instance 100ppm have an active level of a few ppm up to 30 or 40ppm which would explain why one wine would not create any problem and an apparently similar one trigger a big reaction!
Not very reassuring for you I guess. However when one is sensitive to sulfites a high content is generally easy to spot thanks to the smell or by tasting a very tiny amount. Have you been aware of that?

Generally speaking if you have been able to drink most wines you should be completely safe with organically grown wines which have a maximum allowed content of 100ppm. For the past 30 years we have had countless customers satisfied with our products. Only extreme allergy sufferers need to stay away from anything having touched the allergen they are sensitive to.

Hi Dr. Mic,

Thanks for the information.
I *did* notice that the wine tasted "funny."

I never had a reaction before and I never had that wine before, so I didn't know strange/different = danger. Now I do.


Sunday, July 26, 2009


I have a severe seafood allergy (fish and shellfish) and was wondering which of your wines are vegan. Also do your vegan wines contain carrageenan? Or are there any other wines I can drink other then the vegan ones?

Thanks in advance
Hi Criss:

You can easily find the Vegan section in our General Wine Catalog.
Fish byproducts are used very rarely as fining agents and only on white wines. Therefore all red/rose wines even non vegan should be fine for you and I am not aware of any of my white wines fined with fish products at the moment.

Carrageenans are food additives that have no usage in wines and would be banned in organic wines anyway.

You should be safe with our line of wines!

Dr Mic