Gray, soft heavy metal or element (Pb = plumbum), which occurs mostly in nature as galena. It is contained in the smallest amounts in all plants and also in wine, but has no biological function and is dangerous as a nerve poison. in the antique Rome used lead to sweeten and preserve the wine and fatally from Pliny also recommended for the elderly (23-79).
In the Roman Empire it was common to prepare food and cook wine in lead vessels; for example, the grape syrup defrutum manufactured. That the Romans were slowly poisoning themselves and that lead was ultimately the reason for the fall of the Roman Empire is only a fairytale. Adding lead acetate or lead oxide (lead sugar) to wine was common throughout Europe until the 19th century, as it was sweet tastes good and is readily soluble in water. The danger was recognized only late. Depending on the applicable wine law, this was already considered to be the case in individual countries wine adulteration and was severely punished.
However, it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that the use of the toxic metal was prohibited in all countries by corresponding laws. The use of leaded is now used in viticulture insecticides prohibited and also the use of lead-containing foils or capsules forbidden. It accumulates in the soil (like all heavy metals) and is very difficult to break down. Most of the traces contained in the grapes (for example, from exhaust gases from motor vehicles in vineyards near the road) are used in the fermentation and at beautiful dismantled and then with the lees excreted. The legally permitted maximum limit of lead in wine is 0.3 mg / l, which is, however, well below most wines. See a list of all toxic substances in wine under ADI (acceptable daily intake).