Frankenvines are here! Are you Drinking Frankenwine?

What exactly is a Frankenvine? Did you know that there are over 150 legal chemicals that are added to wine to do everything from creating taste, texture and sight to preserving and speeding up the fermentation process? Did you know that these chemicals do not have to be labeled?

vineyard 3Food Integrity Now spoke with Gary Conway, artist, former actor and a three-decade viticulturist, farmer and owner of Carmody McKight Winery.  So what exactly is Conway talking about when he talks about Frankenvines? Conway explained how when the grapevines are grafted and hybridized, the nutrients from the soil are blocked and thus create a nutrient-deplete beverage that no longer remotely resembles the wines of our ancestors. He compares this process to that of our GMO foods–which are also nutrient deplete! He speaks about the history of wine making, which is as old as 10,000 years and how it has been forgotten. Conway claims that the wines of today have been so industrialized and the soils have been chemically fertilized, that wine really isn’t wine–it is more of a wine-like beverage. He explains how the quality of the mass-produced wine has little to none of the health benefits that most of us associate with wine.

Conway’s winery has invited studies as to the nutrient density of his soil from prestigious universities such as UC Davis and Cal Poly. His claims about the quality of his wines and the quality of his soil are documented at his winery and on his website. He calls it the “blood test” which he feels is so important when talking about quality wine. He challenges any winemaker to disprove his claim that his winery is the “only winery in the world” making truly natural wines.

Click on the link below to hear this fascinating and controversial interview:

SHOW NOTES:

Carmody McNight Winery
The Studies

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BioLumina Spirulina www.newphoenixrising.com\beingwell  and www.wilddolphinswimadventures.com

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About Carol Grieve'

Carol Grieve' is the host of Food Integrity Now. She is awellness coach, food educator, speaker, writer, visionary and artist. To find out more about Carol's wellness coaching and public speaking, contact her at carol@foodintegritynow.org. Phone and Skype sessions are available for coaching!

Comments

  1. We can still make our own wines, it is not very hard, just takes a little planning. A basic wine made from real fruit juice is a wine in about a month. It may not be as fantastic as a bottle worth $100 but it will have some healthy wine value.

  2. I can understand that chemical-laden soils create an inferior wine, but I doubt that Conway said “when the grapevines are grafted and hybridized, the nutrients from the soil are blocked.” That is just not accurate.

    • Carol Grieve' says:

      What Conway said was this: Grafting of two species hybrid together… where the graft occurs it is very difficult for the uptake of minerals. The wine therefore doesn’t have the nutrients. These stunted hybrids don’t even allow the nutrients to come up. Carol

      • If Iggy has scientific evidence that grafted hybrids of different species do not restrict the uptake of nutrients I would love to become aware of the studies as he declares my statement is “just not accurate.” The negative effect of grafting has been thoroughly researched in the rootstock comparison trials undertaken by the Roseworthy Grape and Wine Research in the 1990’s. I have 100 acres (planted 30 years ago) of vineplants on their own root and also grafted hybrids of different species as well as the same species.

        I am one of the first people to plant vitis vinifera in Paso Robles. I am also connected with one of the largest grapes growers in California who farms 3.2 million vines and has had a lifetime of dealing directly with this issue and in conjunction with U.C. Davis. In years of experiments he experienced the unfortunate consequences of graft hybrids side by side with grafted plants within the same species. The same species rootstock and scion performed perfectly well. The grafted hybrids (different species) were eventually all torn out, and his entire vineyard is now on its own root – no grafted hybrids of any kind.

        Link to the charts, http://carmodymcknight.com/more-information/4/ prepared by the Soil Science Department of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA, which contrast nutrients in Chardonnay grape-must found in our vineyards (top chart and un-grafted plants) with the most nutrients previously found in grapes, depicted in the bottom chart (Winkler et al, 1974). The chart on the bottom, keep in mind, depicts the MOST nutrients found in Napa grapes which are mainly all grafted hybrids. The average wine grape in Napa as a result of grafting has almost no nutrients whatsoever except the spike you see as a result of chemical fertilization. Napa is a disaster in this regard and is now going through its second replanting in a just a few years thanks to grafted vines. One can go on and on about this, but again love to have Iggy’s studies that can support his statement “just not accurate.”

  3. Would you please inform your readers as you find out more regarding the issue of organic wines possibly having chemicals added to them? He stated that he is “not aware” of any other wine, even organic, that doesnt’ have chemical additives. We make a point to only drink organic wines…is this in vain and we are still being scammed? And what about wines from foreign countries? We, for example, love reds from Australia, Argentina, Chile… do they have these same dastardly practices? And are their soils depleted of micronutrients as ours have notably become in America? Please continue with this topic since the “can of worms” has been opened!

    • Carol Grieve' says:

      It is my understanding that there is a difference between organically grown grapes and 100% organic wine. The organically grown grapes mean that the grapes were grown organically but then the chemicals, i.e. sulfites and others, can be added. I think that 100% organic means just that. However, I think when Conway was talking about nutrient density, that would depend on the soil. Hope that helps. Also, we did a show with Alice Feiring, author of Naked Wines, and she has much to offer regarding wines and love biodynamic wines. You can search our posts and find that podcast to listen to for further information. Thanks for listening! Carol

      • PK first of all I refer you to my answer above, especially the issue of nutrients in the last paragraph. I also support fully the following:”Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.” Louis Pasteur. Why did Pasteur say this… the most renowned of all food chemists? Because A BOTTLE OF WINE CONTAINS THREE POUNDS OF GRAPES. Just think about that! You don’t eat the seeds of the grapes when you eat the whole grape, but the seed extract is in the wine — the wine is better than eating the actual grapes.
        There are two powerful antioxidants in grapes: grape seed extract and resveratrol. The first is obviously found in the seeds of the grape, which most of us don’t consume when we eat fresh grapes. The second, resveratrol, is found in the skin of red grapes, mainly. Grape seed extract improves blood pressure, reduces inflammation, increases circulation, and reduces the effects of free-radicals in the cardiovascular system. The antioxidants in grape seed extract are 50 times more powerful than Vitamin C and Vitamin E respectively.

        Resveratrol is sounding more and more like a miracle and being intensely studied for its anti-aging properties. 60 Minutes aired a program devoted to resveratrol as the key to the “Mediterranean Diet.” Both grape seed extract and resveratrol are foundation blocks for health and longevity and if consumed every day would be a health insurance policy to defend us against the “American” diet which contains almost no natural nutrients at all – how could it… at 85% GMO? And remember the alcohol preserves the nutrients.

        “Organic” as far as wine goes means almost nothing to me. Organic basically is wine made from grapes grown excluding the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. It usually doesn’t say that much about chemicals used during the processing of wine. We have had a garden and orchard for over 30 years. We have never, never used any of the above. Why? Because our soils are abundant in minerals. What “organic’ will never say is that they are grown in mineral-rich soils… and the most important part – prove the statement.

        Without minerals in the soils there are no minerals in the plant (or finally the human being). Without micronutrients in abundance… neither the human body nor the plant has any defense – no immune system — and all of the above are required… yes, artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are necessary. Unless you know exactly where those “organic” grapes are grown and by whom you have no idea. Unless they produce a “blood test” you have no clue about what is going on in the soils. When you go to a doctor he doesn’t guess about your condition or have his nurses give an opinion on your health – he orders a “blood test.” And a blood test is given by a reputable lab. I would never trust anyone who promotes “organic” without a test of the soils to see if indeed they are rich and balanced in nutrients. It is too easy to cheat about “organic.” You can’t cheat about what is in the soils.

        Carmody Mcknight for instance has had hundreds of such “blood tests.” http://carmodymcknight.com/more-information/7 These were studies conducted by the following team: Cal Poly Earth and Soil Sciences & Food Chemistry, Food Science, Nutrition, & Statistical Departments, John Deere Global Ag. Services, State of California, Earth Information Technologies Inc., Motorola.

        Our soils are like the “backyard” soils of my Sicilian Grandfather and all of his grandfathers for three thousand years. The never added one chemical to their wine. They wouldn’t understand the concept. They didn’t add artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides to their backyard of neighborhood soils. They didn’t have those poisons then.

        Why would you go to Australia, Argentina, and Chile for wines? I will guarantee they are chemical soups. The vast majority of imported wines are “cheap” wines, and cheap wines use the most chemicals in order to be cheap – just like food. Most of those wine areas are also very humid and poisonous fungicides are sprayed around the clock. I have seen that with my own eyes. Stick with the Central Coast of California – Westside of Paso Robles – the scientists have determined that is the Premium Wine Growing Area of California and probably the world. It is an area almost impossible to match when it comes to soil and climate attributes for vitis vinifera. When you say you “love” their reds – you are loving their assortment of chemicals that substitute for real wine flavors. I know there are exceptions, but I have not really heard of one… an estate vineyard and wine that can prove they create authentic natural wine.

        For thirty years I have been deeply involved in vineyards – especially my own of course — and have the background to advance these statements. We have had the most profound studies every conducted in a vineyard and that has occurred here for over 20 years. We have been visited by almost every renowned soil scientist and vineyardist in the world. http://carmodymcknight.com/more-information/33

        These are not opinions I give you; these are scientific facts. But science is always subject to adjustment and change. If you have any real science to dispute any of this I would love to have that information.

        The fast-food mega-industrialists with their GMOs have now invaded the world and rely on our ignorance and stupidity so they can replace health-giving food with their worthless junk. Their fools-food is creating ominous health problems, especially in this country. The same can be said about the wine industry. The first step in fighting back is to become informed!

    • Hi PK, I grew up in Australia and I once bought an organic wine there from a very small winery that stated they were 100% organic and used no chemical preservatives. No idea what process he used, but I think that wine was about as natural a wine as you could get. Was a lovely drop, too :-) Edo

  4. Jeannie says:

    How can we find out if the brands of wine we drink do this? I know they won’t overtly advertise but is there any check on this?!

  5. OK, I’m suspect just from the opening paragraph of the McKnight Winery page, of course none of the produce listed tastes like it did once upon a time. It’s not necessarily because of depleted soils, but because they are grown off-season and shipped long distances before their delicious flavors have developed. Wine grape terroir is derived from much more than just the soil, it can be precipitation, slope, sunlight and temperature variability. And most vitis vinifera wine grapes have been grafted to vitis lubresca root stock because the lubresca rootstock is much more resistant to the phylloxera grape louse. I’m not disputing Mr. Conway but I think it’s a much more complicated issue.

    • Carol Grieve' says:

      Thanks for your comment Jeanne. Have you emailed Mr. Conway? He was very open to talking with anyone who wanted to challenge his claims. He gave his email in the interview. Thank you.

  6. Erica Martenson says:

    Conway’s comments and this article are very irresponsible in that they spread misinformation, especially the title, “Frankenwine.” Believe me, I am an anti-GMO activist, and I happen to be from Napa, and I would be the first to be speaking out if their were genetically engineered grapevines, but the fact is that NO GE grapevines have been approved for sale and, therefore, none are on the market. New varieties of fruits created through hybridization are NOT the same as new varieties of plants created through genetic engineering. The author should have gotten the facts straight before publicizing this article and should at this point print a correction.

    • Martenson… maybe you can now get the facts straight, and please don’t tell me you are an anti-GMO activist! God help us if that’s the case! The term GMO, the technical legal term, ‘living modified organism’ is defined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which regulates international trade in living GMOs (specifically, “any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology”). Bio means: life or living organism. Technology means: the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.

      Grafted grapevine hybrids of different species and GMOs have been around not that long. The genetic transformation of our diets in the shortest possible time is now replacing our native diets developed over tens of thousands of years; the same tragically with wine.

      The grafted vine hybrids are a viticultural and wine quality failures and have resulted in mass-produced wines that require chemical manipulation on a major scale to be acceptable.

      Before GMO vine hybrids took over, the finest wine was created using a species of grape vines known as vitis vinifera. Planting and caring for them had continuity for thousands of years. Archeological evidence suggests that vitis vinifera grape vines in some form existed as far back as the Paleocene and Eocene epochs of the Tertiary period, thirty-eight to sixty-five million years ago. By the end of the Tertiary period (1.8 million years ago), numerous species within the genus vitis were distributed throughout the Americas and Eurasia.

      The point to this in regards to wine is that when we plant Cabernet Sauvignon or any varietal on its own root we have thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years of genetic tradition. When we plant grafted hybrids of different species, more often than not, we have a few decades of confused information.

      Since you simply opinionated with no viticultural or soil science background that I can tell… let us define hybrid (as it relates to grafting two species of grape vines).

      A Hybrid Plant and a Graft Hybrid are the cross breeding of two plant species produced through human manipulation, allowing genetic reorganization that gives rise to changing characteristics. Hybrids often create mineral imbalance – especially in grapes – and the inability to access minerals and therefore poor resistance to disease. Hybrid foods are unnatural and devoid of proper mineral balance that all wild foods in native soils contain. GMO food devised in the lab employs molecular biology techniques. It is important to point out that in the case of grape vines if the graft hybrids involve the same species, vitis vinifera as the rootstock and vitis vinifera as the scion, there have been no detrimental results experienced in regards to wine.

      Defining GMO (as it relates to grafting two species of grape vines):
      Genetic changes across the graft union can be induced as a result of the grafting. The effect is evident in grape vine graft hybrids of different species. This genetic transformation is a subject of scientific observation, experimentation, discussion, and debate that goes back to ancient times. Graft ‘‘hybridization’’ which involves the creation of a compound genetic system by uniting two distinct genotypes, as far as grapes and wine grapes are concerned, has been well demonstrated to have unfortunate genetic consequences.

      The graft hybrid grape qualifies as a GMO — or genetically modified organism. It combines two different plant species producing a third modified plant which behaves differently than either parent, especially the vitis vinifera scion. The negative effect was thoroughly researched in the rootstock comparison trials undertaken by the Roseworthy Grape and Wine Research in the 1990’s. The graft hybrid grape vine manifests serious problems with nutrient uptake as concluded in Roseworthy and other studies. The GM hybrid grape is known to lose fruit (and wine) color. The essential shape of the berry and cluster are significantly altered. The “vigor” of the grafted hybrid is well known as a factor that has varying implications. The taste is also markedly changed as well as the resultant structure of the wine. In a natural wine from natural vines, structure is dependent on the availability of abundant minerals.

      Again, it must be noted when the graft union combines the same grape species, vitis vinifera and vitis vinifera, there is no negative effect as the superior qualities of each side of the graft can interchange with their shared wine-superior genetics. But if the interchange includes the profoundly wine-inferior vitis labrusca – known for its pronounced muskey, grapey, foxy qualities – the resultant wine is seriously compromised. This is a common observance if a vineyard – rare – should have both graft hybrids and vines on their own root.

      A prominent grape grower in California well-known for his viticultural knowledge and who farms 3.2 million vines has had a lifetime of dealing directly with this issue. In years of experiments he experienced the unfortunate consequences of graft hybrids side by side with grafted plants within the same species. The same species rootstock and scion performed perfectly with supreme quality. The grafted hybrids were eventually torn out and his entire vineyard is now on its own root.

      Napa is almost all grafted hybrid grapevines of different species, and most of their grape vines according to university studies have few if any natural nutrients which result in the inability to defend against vine plant disease: http://carmodymcknight.com/more-information/4/ They had to almost entirely replant the valley during the 90s and they are replanting again — just a short time later — to the tune of billions of dollars.

      Look friend, my ego doesn’t involve the grafting of vines, believe me. I have starred in several world-renowned, iconic TV series; I have starred in major motion pictures. I have studied music and played the violin in the Hollywood bowl. I am an artist represented in galleries on both coasts. I graduated UCLA with a major in art history. I have written motion picture scripts for major films and a best-selling book. I am an architect. I am presently involved in a TV series and film. I am a viticulturalist and a vintner. This is not a question of ego; it is a question of truth and science and food and wine misinformation. I have discussed this point with the world’s leading scientists and viticulturalists: http://carmodymcknight.com/more-information/33

      I keep asking the question… is there is anyone out there creating a “natural wine” in any “commercial” dimension – meaning “natural” grapes, not Frankenvines… and with sustainable soils that are rich in health-protecting micronutrients? Wine created in a “natural winery” like a cellar or a cave, not an industrial building — and adding no chemicals whatsoever… and can prove all of this? I desperately want to know. I want to get in touch. I have been asking in print, on-line, in blogs, in articles, directly, indirectly – but not a peep. You seem to know so much… maybe you can get back to me with just one scintilla of scientific evidence. If I can find that estate wine I want to pass on my respects and help to tout their wines. Natural wine as just defined is the way wine was made for thousands of years before GMO engulfed us and dumbed us down.

  7. Erica Martenson says:

    “He challenges any winemaker to disprove his claim that his winery is the “only winery in the world” making truly natural wines.” Wow. This Conway has a huge ego!

    Using the term “frankenvines” to most people means GMO and is inflammatory. There are no GE grapevines that have been approved for sale.

  8. Carey Yashon says:

    Is there a list somewhere of the wines that are the safest to consume?

    • Justin Lin says:

      What do you mean by “safest to consume”? Nowhere in the article does it imply that “frankenvines” are unsafe, only that they are supposedly “nutrient-deficient”. Which leads me to my next question: WHY ARE YOU RELYING ON ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AS A SOURCE OF NUTRIENTS??

  9. Carey, consume wines that are healthy. That was the whole point of wine. If you read my reply above you will find this: ”Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.” Louis Pasteur. Why did Pasteur say this… the most renowned of all food chemists? Because A BOTTLE OF WINE CONTAINS THREE POUNDS OF GRAPES. Just think about that! You don’t eat the seeds of the grapes when you eat the whole grape, but the seed extract is in the wine — the wine is better than eating the actual grapes.

    There are two powerful antioxidants in grapes: grape seed extract and resveratrol. The first is obviously found in the seeds of the grape, which most of us don’t consume when we eat fresh grapes. The second, resveratrol, is found in the skin of red grapes, mainly. Grape seed extract improves blood pressure, reduces inflammation, increases circulation, and reduces the effects of free-radicals in the cardiovascular system. The antioxidants in grape seed extract are 50 times more powerful than Vitamin C and Vitamin E respectively.

    Our wine http://www.carmodymcknight.com is healthier than almost any food known (according to the universities) because it may contain up to 57 micronutrients. Spend the time to learn if any other wine is worth drinking by going to their websites or calling directly. Let us not be lazy about what we eat and drink! Let the winery PROVE they are healthy and without chemicals or don’t bother, because it will be then another fast food that we don’t need!

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