Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

lead, one of the familiar and widely dispersed heavy metals, which occurs naturally in trace amounts in all plants, therefore in grapes, and therefore, usually in microgram per litre quantities only, in wines. This ubiquitous element, which has no known biological function in plants or animals, is now known to be a neural toxin of particular danger to children. This has resulted in the reformulation of many products, particularly petroleum products, so as to exclude lead.

A.D.W. & J.R.

  1. Accum, F., Treatise on Adulteration of Food, and Culinary Poisons (London, 1820).
  2. Eisinger, J., ‘Early consumer protection legislation: a 17th century law prohibiting lead adulteration of wines’, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 16/1 (1991), 61–8.
  3. Gulson, B. L., et al., ‘Contribution of lead in wine to the total dietary intake of lead in humans with and without a meal: a pilot study’, Journal of Wine Research, 9/1 (1998), 5–14.
  4. Pliny the Elder, Natural History, trans. H. Rackham (London, 1938), book 14.