Wine & Mycotoxins Thread

ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
edited March 2014 in Bulletproof Diet

OK, so Dave recently said he was going to publish some information on mycotoxins and wine.


But I'm sure some of us winos can't wait around for Dave to go live with his data, so I thought I'd get the ball rolling. If you have any data to add, post it and I'll try to edit this post to keep it up to date.


Since I cannot link to specific parts of studies, you will see sources cited multiple times using the same numbers. 


Mycotoxins in Wine


- So far everything I found only talks about Ochratoxin A (OTA)

- According to one study, as of May 2006, the European Union has an upper limit of 2 parts per billion OTA for all wine produced in Europe or imported to Europe1

- According to another study, the EU limit is 2 mcg/L2 (PDF download)

- OTA tends to be more prevalent in humid regions or unsound fruit1

- There does not seem to be a difference in OTA contents for organic vs. conventionally produced wine2 (PDF download)

- CAUTION: the EU limit is not applicable to liquor or dessert wines >15% alcohol3

- OTA may be reduced using charcoal in the wine-making process4


More OTA in Red Wine?


- When present, OTA content tends to be higher in red wine, because the mold is on the outside of the fruit, and more skin contact is required to extract the pigments and tannins in red wine1

- However, OTA concentrations are highest after maceration of the fruit, and are reduced somewhat during fermentation,1


Less OTA in Red Wine?


- Conversely, the type of fermentation that reduces OTA is malolactic fermentation,4 which is standard for most red wines and only used for some white wineswikipedia

- A dutch study found significantly lower levels of OTA in reds, middle levels in rose wine, and the highest levels in white wine, all below the 2ppb level2 (PDF download)


Conflicting/Confusing Information:


-A Romanian study basically found only a very weak correlation between humidity and rainfall on OTA levels (the abstract says there was a correlation, the text says it was weak)5

- The same study mentions that white wines are sometimes clarified with clay, including bentonite and zeolite, which could absorb OTA levels5

- A Brazillian study showed really low OTA levels for tropical wines, and interestingly, no OTA in the grape juice produced in the same regions.6 I don't think I trust this study. It was published here, "where science meets business."

- Do your best to make sense of this twisted language:


Grape products originating from south Europe and north Africa are more affected than those from the temperate regions of central Europe, following a trend of decreased prevalence and concentration in wines from southern regions compared with northern regions and in red compared to white wine. In the Mediterranean basin the proportion of wine in which OTA is detected is very high (>50%) in some countries, but only a few wines contained concentrations exceeding the legal limit fixed by the EC.3




- Choose wines made in Europe, imported into Europe, or exported from Europe

- Do not drink dessert wines or sweet wines with >15% alcohol, as EU OTA limits don't apply to these

- Avoid wines from humid places / choose wines from dryer regions

- If you want to get hardcore, avoid specific year vintages with heavy rainfall in the vineyard region

- Choose higher quality wines (to avoid use of unsound fruit)

- Consider using charcoal or bentonite or zeolite clay while drinking wine (since these can reduce OTA in the wine-making process, hopefully it works in your gut too)

- Red, white? I'm not sure. Red starts with more OTA, but the malolactic fermentation reduces it. White might have some OTA filtered out with bentonite or zeolite clay. But red tends to have lower sugar content and I like it more.

- Vineyards using organic farming practices could be safer - they won't use glycophosate / Roundup, which according to Dave's "Molding of the World" article can stimulate fusaria mold species. It stands to reason that vineyards with normal soil bacteria are more likely to have mold under control. You could look at biodynamic wines too (discussed in posts below)

- I could really use a drink




1. From Bud to Bottle, Wine Export Spotlight: Mycotoxins

2. (PDF download) Ochratoxin A Contents in Wine: Comparison of Conventionally and Organically Produced Products

3. Managing Wine Quality: Viticulture and Wine Quality

4. Effects of Wine-making on OTA Content 

5. Correlation of Ochratoxin A Level in Wine with Vine Environment

6. Detection of Ochratoxin A in Tropical Wine and Grape Juice from Brazil


Dave's "Molding of the World" article


Wikipedia articles: malolactic fermentation


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