True Cellular Formulas Team - May 13, 2024

California Wines

Glyphosate Contamination Sparks Concerns


California wines are celebrated worldwide for their quality and variety. However, recent studies have raised concerns that may dampen the enthusiasm of even the most ardent wine lovers. Research conducted in 2016 and followed up in 2019 has indicated that many California wines contain glyphosate, a widely used herbicide that has been deemed potentially toxic.[1,2] These findings suggest that the issue of contamination is not isolated but rather widespread, affecting numerous vineyards across the state.

What is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is a chemical found commonly in herbicides, especially in products used widely in agriculture to control weeds. It has been under scrutiny due to potential health risks and environmental impacts. In the context of viticulture, glyphosate is used to maintain the vineyards by controlling the growth of undesired plants around the grapevines. The presence of this chemical in wine can occur when vines absorb glyphosate through treated soil, leading to its incorporation into the grapes and, subsequently, into the wines produced from them.

The Impact of Glyphosate on Health

Glyphosate’s main area of concern when it comes to human health is its potential effect on the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is crucial for many bodily functions, including digestion, immunity, and even mental health. Studies suggest that even low levels of glyphosate exposure can disrupt the microbiome, leading to a plethora of health issues. Beyond the microbiome, glyphosate has been linked to various chronic conditions, raising alarms about its safety for regular consumption.[3,4]

Organic vs. Non-Organic Wines

The term "organic" often reassures consumers about the quality and safety of food products, including wine. However, the discovery of glyphosate in some wines labeled as "organic" complicates this assumption. For a wine to be certified organic in the U.S., it must meet stringent guidelines that include the prohibition of synthetic pesticide use. Yet, the contamination can occur through means such as drift from non-organic neighboring farms or residues in the soil from before an area was converted to organic farming. This makes testing for glyphosate crucial to ensure the integrity of organic wines.

Alternatives and Safe Choices

For those concerned about glyphosate contamination, there are several ways to choose safer wine options. Firstly, consumers can look for wines imported from countries where glyphosate is banned. Countries such as Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands have taken strong stances against the herbicide, and wines from these regions are less likely to contain it.[5] In the U.S., some winemakers not only follow organic practices but also actively test their products to ensure they are glyphosate-free. These producers often label their wines clearly, providing an additional layer of assurance for consumers.


The presence of glyphosate in California wines is an issue that demands attention from both consumers and industry stakeholders. While the implications for health are concerning, the availability of glyphosate-free wines offers a path forward for those who wish to enjoy wine without the risk. By staying informed and choosing wines wisely, consumers can contribute to a shift in industry standards and enjoy their favorite beverage with peace of mind.

  1. Honeycutt, Zen. “Widespread Contamination of Glyphosate Weedkiller in California Wine.” Moms Across America, 
  2. “Organic Research.” The Dirt Doctor, you pop open a,awareness group, Moms Across America. Accessed 10 May 2024. 
  3. Walsh, Lauren et al. “Impact of glyphosate (RoundupTM) on the composition and functionality of the gut microbiome.” Gut microbes vol. 15,2 (2023): 2263935. doi:10.1080/19490976.2023.2263935
  4. Puigbò, Pere et al. “Does Glyphosate Affect the Human Microbiota?.” Life (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 12,5 707. 9 May. 2022, doi:10.3390/life12050707
  5. Fogliatto, Silvia, et al. “Current and Future Scenarios of Glyphosate Use in Europe: Are There Alternatives?” Advances in Agronomy, 2020, pp. 219–278, doi:10.1016/bs.agron.2020.05.005.

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