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

How many gallons of wine are in a ton of grapes?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how many barrels, gallons, cases and bottles of …

Apr 12, 2021

Does wine age the same under synthetic and natural corks?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the pros and cons of a variety of wine closures, …

Apr 5, 2021

Does Champagne age well?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what happens to sparkling wine as it ages.

Mar 29, 2021

Is there a word for sparkling wine that starts with the letter “P”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny's bubbly crossword puzzle suggestions include pétillant, …

Mar 22, 2021

Is there another name for “red Burgundy”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the Pinot Noir grape's relationship with …

Mar 15, 2021

Should red wines be stored at a different temperature than white wines?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for how to take advantage of a dual-zone wine …

Mar 8, 2021