Can you recommend a wine without arsenic?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Can you recommend a wine without arsenic?

—Violeta, Midway City, Calif.

Dear Violeta,

A couple of years ago a lawsuit was brought against a handful of producers alleging dangerous arsenic levels in their wines. That lawsuit was dismissed, but unfortunately, a lot of confusion and fear about wine was left in its wake. I imagine this is where your question comes from.

Arsenic naturally occurs in the water we drink and in some of the foods and beverages we consume, including rice, shellfish and fruit juice. If you measured arsenic in wines you might find tiny levels, described in parts per billion. This doesn’t mean that the wine was poisoned, but rather that the arsenic naturally occurring in the soil, water and grapevines ended up in the wine.

Isn’t arsenic dangerous? Sure, too much arsenic is toxic, and there are regulations in place dictating how much trace arsenic is safe and permissible in food and beverages. The aforementioned lawsuit was dismissed because there was no evidence that the trace levels of arsenic posed a health risk.

—Dr. Vinny

Health Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

What is the benefit of “keeping wine on the dregs”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what a wine's "dregs" are and why some wines …

Jan 30, 2023

How do you soften a hard cork?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what happens after a wine bottle is opened, and …

Jan 24, 2023

How long can Champagne be stored in a wine cooler?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what happens as sparkling wine ages, how long it …

Jan 17, 2023

I shook a bottle of wine with sediment and now it's cloudy. Is it ruined?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains where sediment comes from, and what to do if …

Jan 9, 2023

Can a cork-tainted bottle of wine cross-contaminate other bottles in my cellar?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how and when cork taint or TCA contamination …

Jan 3, 2023

Dr. Vinny’s Wine Care Clinic: Top Tips for Safekeeping Your Wine Bottles

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny answers all your wine storage and serving questions!

Dec 27, 2022