Wine & Mycotoxins Thread

ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
edited March 2014 in The 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



  • Maybe a Biodynamic produced red wine:


    "Biodynamic© wines and viticultural practices go above and beyond organic farming protocol and maintain a laser focus on soil sustainability and viability via crop rotation, composting, non-chemical interventions for pest management and astronomical cycles to provide continual vineyard input. With such stringent attention to the vineyard's management, it is little wonder that Biodynamic© wines often put forth a wine that speaks of balance, soil and surroundings with more clarity and depth of both aromas and flavors than their conventional counterparts".



  • StevoStevo Upgrade in Progress ✭✭

    Here's an article that presents an interesting workaround:


    Specifically, the study where wine tasters were given white wine that had been dyed red. They didn't realise and were able to "taste" red wine.

    If red has the most toxins, it would be a good hack to find a low-toxin white wine and drink that instead. If a wine expert can't tell the difference, everyday people should be relatively happy with it!

  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭

    Good stuff. I looked into biodynamic wines a bit and it seems like they would be a slightly safer bet - but the skeptic in me suspects correlation over causation. 


    Biodynamics has strict practices that go beyond organic. I suspect it's the organic aspects as well as the level of attention to detail that are likely to make it safer. 


    - Organic won't use glycophosate / Roundup, which we know from Dave's "molding of the world" article can stimulate fusaria mold species, and generally imbalances the soil bacteria, possibly allowing more mold to grow. 

    - Biodynamics pays attention to the soil health, which again, should keep mold more in-check. 

    - Wikipedia says biodynamic wine crops have better disease management, but the source isn't cited. 

    - Anyone who's willing to shove yarrow flowers into a stag's bladder, hang it in the summer sun, bury it in the winter, then dig it up to use as fertilizer probably has strong attention to detail. They'd probably also notice and remove moldy grapes.


    But all the weird preparations like putting manure in a cow's horn and burying it come off as BS to me. BS shoved in a cow's horn and buried.


    So I'll trust biodynamic wines like I'll trust a hippy vegan restaurant: not because I agree with the thinking, but because I know they pay extra attention to the product quality. 


    I'm going to update the main post to reflect the organic stuff, which should have been there in the first place, and biodynamics. But skeptically. 

  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
    edited March 2014

    Here's an article that presents an interesting workaround:


    Specifically, the study where wine tasters were given white wine that had been dyed red. They didn't realise and were able to "taste" red wine.

    If red has the most toxins, it would be a good hack to find a low-toxin white wine and drink that instead. If a wine expert can't tell the difference, everyday people should be relatively happy with it!




    When I was 12 I went to a theme park and some people from Pepsi were there running an actual Pepsi challenge. I successfully picked Coke. Somewhere in my parents' house there is a plush Pepsi keychain to commemorate my participation.


    I've seen a lot of those studies, and I could point out that there may be various biases in the experiment design, not the least of which is groupthink - try getting a bunch of "experts" together and expect one or more to say "this is crap!" when the rest are nodding their heads in approval. 


    The point is well-taken, but I guess if you subscribe to that type of thinking, just removing wine from your diet shouldn't be undue hardship. Or you could take clean liquor like gin and try to mix it into something that resembles wine. 


    I'm pretty sure I can tell a difference between different reds, and certainly whites and reds. 


    Unrelated, a fun wine hack from Tim Ferriss: take your fancy wine that needs to aerate, and blend the shit out of it with an immersion blender or in a real blender. Serve to horrified wine snob guests. I've tasted blended and unblended wine side-by-side from the same freshly uncorked bottle, and the taste is dramatically different. You do not need to be a wine person to taste the difference (though this works best with high-tannin reds.) 3 hours of aeration in a decanter bottle, or 15 seconds on high. The choice is clear. 

  • Great post! I am also a wine lover -- reds, whites, rose', sparkling... I do try to use the BP alcohol protocol, including activated charcoal. I don't drink excessively, maybe a couple glasses a week on average, although my husband and I enjoy wine tasting with friends periodically.

    I like to buy locally, wines from WA State specifically. But I always welcome ideas for how to obtain the best quality product, or in this case, the least harmful. Thanks for the good info :)


  • John BrissonJohn Brisson The Legend Formerly Known as Ron Swanson ✭✭✭

    I would be more worried about the sulfite / histamine content in wine for most people then I would mycotoxins any day.

    My book Fix Your Gut, is offered on Amazon for $9.99.


    I also offer coaching:


    Please join or like the Fix your Gut Facebook. Also please add me on twitter @FixYourGutJB.



  • NickatNickat
    edited March 2014

    Sure is a shame suffering from hangovers and headaches. Agreed. The more sulfites, the greater the hangover.

    The allergies are always going to be there for some just like some sensitvities from food and drink.


    I would be more worried about the sulfite / histamine content in wine for most people then I would mycotoxins any day.

  • NickatNickat
    edited May 2014
    Anyone have or tried the Zazzol Wine Aerator? Hmmmm.....looks like a nifty gadget to have laying around in the kitchen.

    Might invest in one of these for a quick hack of a Biodynamic wine on special occasions.

    Wonder what aerated vodka would taste like? Something along the lines of a California Martini.

    Certainly blast the tannins out of the wine and put some fizz into the vodka.

    BP Blitz Martini

    3oz vodka

    1/2 oz red wine

    4 dashes of bitters (angostura, campari and amer picon)

    Pour the vodka, red wine and orange bitters together and blitz over aerator for 10 mins.

    Half-fill with cracked ice, shaken (not stirred) and then garnish with an orange twist. Serve.

    Even Bond needs a villan so this could be ours.
  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭

    Anyone have or tried the Zazzol Wine Aerator?




    I've used the Vinturi aerator, which works on the same principle (uh the venturi effect) but supposedly the Zazzol has more than one stage and is better. The Vinturi works, but it's not a full aeration like decanting and leaving it out for 3 hours. 


    But you know what does work really well that you already have? A freakin' blender. 

  • NickatNickat
    edited May 2014
    Okay lets just hack the BP Blitz Martini with a high speed blender and not over an aerator. We can then put it under the shake part of the menu instead.
  • RekaReka ✭✭✭
    edited May 2014

    Wow. So first we blend coffee, MCT and butter for optimal performance and stuff.

    Now we can blend vodka and wine.

    I have to think what the next step in this evolution should be.


    The answer to a potential "what have you learned at BP" is getting funnier each day. :D

    It doesn't get easier... It's you who gets better.


    Is your social worker in that horse?


    Success has a price, not a secret.

  • Anyone tried using a product called Purewine? Ben Greenfield has mentioned that he's a big wine guy and always uses it to eliminate any preservatives. Here's the site
  • So has Dave published the information?


    re: Dave recently said he was going to publish some information on mycotoxins and wine

  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭

    ^^ I started the thread after that podcast came out. I haven't seen anything come out yet. 


    Maybe my post was just so complete there's no point in posting more info.  :cool:


    Or he's just been busy with the book. 

  • Cruiser42Cruiser42 Want to look like this again - or BETTER!

    Thanks for the info!  Esp about the Pure Wine product.  I started Dec 7th, and I've been missing my wine.  I'll probably not drink any for a while yet, but I like the idea of being able to reduce the sulfites!  For those keeping track, I drink RED.

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