The Dark Truth About How Italian Wine Is Made

Wine makes for a great pairing with a lot of delicious things like a decadent charcuterie board, dark chocolate, or even a juicy steak. There's also a variety of options to choose from whether you pick red or white wine, from pinot grigio to merlot. While white wine tends to be sweeter, red wine can also have incredible health benefits. The resveratrol found in the grapes that produce red variations have been associated with lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer, per Healthline

With all the ways we can enjoy wine and its potential health perks, it's no wonder that the wine industry can rake in a lot of money each year. According to Statista, the global wine market is valued at a staggering $354 billion. Unfortunately, with a lot of money on the line, shady business practices can also sometimes be found. The New York Times reported that an investigation into Italian vineyards found that laborers were forced to work under cruel conditions that's being called modern-day slavery.

Brutal conditions for laborers at Italian vineyards

The business practices were looked into after a 49-year-old woman, Paola Clemente, died of a heart attack while working at an Italian vineyard in 2015 (via New York Times). The investigation found that poor women, who were desperate for work were being transported to the wineries and had to pick grapes in brutal heat. Many of them were scared to ask for water or go to the bathroom because they were afraid it would be seen as complaining and they wouldn't call you anymore to work. "Another woman can take your place," one laborer was told. 

The women were also paid poorly, with many just earning $1.50 for an hour's worth of backbreaking work, according to the Independent. While investigators are trying to help with this issue and bring a sense of justice to families, it's not always easy. "On the phenomenon of illegal hiring there is a wall of silence," said Carlo Maria Capristo, chief prosecutor of Trani. "People prefer to earn a little money instead of collaborating with our inquiries aimed at eradicating the problem."