The Grapevine

Boxed Wine and Craft Beer Grow, Class-Action Suit: Arsenic in CA Wine

March 23rd, 2015

Some of California’s largest wine companies are in the crosshairs courtesy of a class-action lawsuit claiming that they sell wines with higher levels of arsenic than are allowed in drinking water.[level-members]

According to Shanken News Daily, more than 80 labels were found to have unacceptably  high arsenic levels by a Denver testing lab. Brands include Franzia, Sutter Home, Concannon, Wine Cube, Beringer, Flipflop, Fetzer, Korbel, Almaden, Trapiche, Cupcake, Smoking Loon and Charles Shaw.

Most of these wines retail for less than $10 with many selling for less than $5.

Industry folks claim the suit is spurious, and it does seem unlikely that so pervasive a problem could exist undetected. We hope the legal process will find the truth.

Better news on the box front. Premium boxed wines continue to grow impressively, up over 10% in the past year. Leaders in the category include Black Box and Bota Box, from Constellation and DFV, respectively. Gallo plans to join the party with Vin Vault next month. They’re looking to appeal to “premium drinkers who consume wine regularly.” (That according to a Gallo spokesperson quoted in Shanken News Daily last week.)

It’s also good news for craft brewers, with their share of the market in the US reaching a new high of 11%. Their share of the market in dollar terms is closer to 20% thanks to the premium prices craft beer commands.