Gray, soft heavy metal or element (Pb = plumbum), which occurs in nature mostly as galena. It is contained in all plants and also in the wine in smallest amounts, has however no biological function and is dangerous as nerve poison. in the antique Rome was used to sweeten and preserve the wine's lead and, fatally, from lead Pliny the Senior (23-79) also recommended.
In the Roman Empire, preparing food and cooking wine in lead vessels was common; such was the grape syrup defrutum manufactured. The fact that the Romans had slowly poisoned themselves and that lead ultimately was the reason for the downfall of the Roman Empire is only a fairy tale. Adding lead acetate or lead (lead) to wine was common throughout Europe until the 19th century, as it sweet tastes good and is soluble in water. Only late did one recognize the dangerousness. However, according to the current wine law, that was also true at that time in individual countries wine adulteration and was severely punished.
However, it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that the use of toxic metal was banned by legislation in all countries. In viticulture is meanwhile the use of lead-containing insecticides prohibited and also the use of leaded films or capsules forbidden. It accumulates (like all heavy metals) in the soil and can only be broken down very hard. Most of the traces in the grapes (for example, exhaust gases from motor vehicles in vineyards close to 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 well below that of most wines. See a list of all toxic substances in the wine below ADI (acceptable daily intake).