Thrifty drinkers can breath a sigh of relief today now that grocery chain Trader Joe’s and the producers of its dirt-cheap wine label Charles Shaw, aka Two-Buck Chuck, are dispelling rumors of animal blood and insect parts being present in their bottles.
Last week, a seemingly legit blog entry was shared on Huffington Post that claimed the large-scale machine harvesting employed by Charles Shaw parent, Bronco Wine Company, at its vineyards results in rodents, birds and insects, as well as unripe and rotten fruit going into the fermenters along with all the grapes. The article goes on to allege that this is why the wine is so cheap.
The problem is, most of what was written isn’t actually true, CNBC reports. Much worse, the author — who it turns out penned the piece years ago — has since come forward, admitting that the article was “never intended… as a fully qualified, well researched piece of accurate journalism.”
In making those dubious claims, author Chris Know wrote of Bronco Wine Company’s machine harvesters:
Large tractors with huge claws go down the rows of vineyards grabbing the grapes and depositing them in its huge receptacle. And it not only grabs ripe grapes, but unripe and down right rotten ones as well and throws them all together. Add to that leaves, stems and any rodents, birds, or insects that may have made those vines their home — they all get thrown into the bin as well. And guess what? You think there's going to be any sorting when that truck arrives at the winery (or should I say processing facility)? Nope. Everything, and I do mean everything (including all those unripe grapes, rotten grapes, leaves, stems, birds, rodents, and insects) gets tossed into the crusher and transferred to large tanks to ferment.
To clear the air, Bronco Wine Company CEO Fred Franzia came forward to explain what’s really happening in his company’s fields. Mechanized harvesting is indeed employed, just as if is at dozens of other large-scale winemaking operations. But the machines are not equipped with huge mechanical claws. Rather the devices shake the grapes loose from the vines. Sometimes other things like twigs, leaves and the occasional Animal Kingdom representative. However several steps along the way ensure that everything but the fruit gets filtered out before going into the fermenters.
"He didn't know what he was talking about,” Franzia told CNBC. “He's never been in a vineyard, doesn't understand it. You just wonder what other propaganda gets put in the press that you don't know the real facts about.”
Not surprising, of his own piece, Knox cautioned, “lesson learned that we must all be VERY careful about ANYTHING we publish online."
Photo: Flickr user pr1001
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