August 21, 2018 – About 18 months ago a breathless media opined that blue wine was the next big thing for summer 2018. It didn’t happen, at least, not in this country, but blue wine is back causing a stir in France.
Last year Gik from Spain and Blumond from Italy, were in the news. They ran afoul of European Union and French regulations and in the case of Blumond, Italian regulations as well. EU regulations say wine is red or white. There is no blue wine category so it could not be labeled as wine. In Italy, the law says wine must be 10 percent alcohol by volume so Blumond at seven percent did not qualify as wine. Label changes were made but both brands are out of the stores and appear to be available online only.
This year, along comes Vindigo and it has the French seeing red once again. A Frenchman, René Le Bail makes Vindigo in Spain and claims his white wine, made from chardonnay grapes, turns blue after contact with a pulp of red grape skins and that the wine is completely natural. He claims the color is caused by anthocyanin a natural pigment in the red grape skin pulp. Scientists who study these things say there is not enough anthocyanin in the red grape skins to turn the wine blue and furthermore adding red grape skin pulp to white wine is illegal, even for rosé.
About the Natural Color
Vindigo’s makers claim the blue wine color is natural and there are no colorants. Gik made the same claim but it was found to contain indigo carmine colorants, something that was not mentioned on the label.
As the controversy continues to swirl, there are reports that Vindigo is taking France by storm, or at the very least, creating waves. The New York Post reports that in the Mediterranean tourist spot of Sete, France, the pale turquoise wine is the drink du jour. Fans find it pretty, summery and fruity and at 11 percent ABV, light enough to keep sipping. Restaurants and bars have blown through the first 2,000- bottle shipment and Mr. Le Bail, the busy entrepreneur behind the brand, has ordered 35,000 more bottles which he believes will be gone in two months. He also says he is inundated with orders from France, Belgium and Germany and even as far afield as China, Russia and the Caribbean.
Getting Hold of Blue Wine
Gik and Blumond can be ordered online if you are prepared for a long wait and live in a state that allows such brazen behavior. Vindigo, alas, is not prepared to take on the U.S. market just yet.