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Channel 4 programme says some wine like "alcoholic cola"

Published:  15 September, 2008

Channel 4's 'Dispatches' programme will tonight claim that some wines are little better than "alcoholic cola."

Channel 4's 'Dispatches' programme will tonight claim that some wines are little better than "alcoholic cola."

The 'What's in your wine?' programme is expected to reveal that some wine producers add additives to wine to enhance the flavour and fail to list all of the ingredients on labels. One expert will suggest that 70% of the 1.5 million bottles consumed in Britain each year is not worth the premium price it is sold at.

The programme is also expected to suggest that only 30% of the champagne sold in this country is worth the high price tag its given by French producers. Tests for the programme found traces of two fungicides in the champagne brands Moet, Veuve Clicquot and Lanson.

Drinks industry bodies have already hit back at the programme's claims ahead of its airing. Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), said: "The winemaking process is governed by strict regulations designed to ensure products meet stringent health and safety standards. Winemaking has always involved the use of certain additives to ensure consumers enjoy a consistent high quality product.

"The precise combination of ingredients used in the winemaking process varies because no two batches of grapes are the same. This variance and the need to translate materials into 27 languages to satisfy EU single market requirements mean precise labelling for wine covering full ingredients would be massively expensive.

"In fact the cost is estimated at one billion Euros over three years. This cost would have to be borne by consumers or by producers. The reality is that many smaller producers would stop selling products in smaller markets. Consumer choice would be diminished.

"That is why the WSTA and other European bodies representing the wine industry argue that wine makers be excluded from listing full ingredients on labels."

Supermarkets will also come under fire on the programme for offering misleading discounts by artifically inflating the price of bottles, only to "discount" them back down to what they are really worth.

Dispatches airs tonight on Channel 4 at 8pm.

Did you watch the programme? Do you think the report by Dispatches was accurate? Have your say below or in our forum area.