Jar of grape juice concentrate with wooden spoon
Food - Drink
What Is The Mega Purple Additive In Wine?
As much as we’d like to believe that wine is no more than aged grape juice, the truth is a bit more complicated, and both artificial and natural additives are quite common in wine.
Since grapes are vulnerable to seasonal changes, some harvests grow with less concentrated color and flavor, leading winemakers to turn to color additives like Mega Purple.
Mega Purple is just the industry name for a rich, syrupy grape juice concentrate that winemakers commonly use to bump up a wine’s color, texture, and sweetness.
Unlike other chemical additives such as Yellow No. 5, cochineal extract, and carmine, Mega Purple doesn’t have to be disclosed on a wine’s label since it is made from grapes.
The concern over “artificial” wines and Mega Purple is complicated, because although it’s an additive, it’s naturally derived, unlike common artificial colorings and flavorings.
In practice, using Mega Purple is more like blending wines rather than incorporating additives, but connoisseurs scoff at the practice, claiming it can homogenize wines.
In high quantities, Mega Purple can make a bottle from Oakville look and even taste the same as one from Calistoga, or make a $12 bottle appear more robust than it actually is.
Although Mega Purple is most common in cheap wines, its use goes beyond this category, and unless you ask the winery, you’re unlikely to know if it’s been used in a bottle.