You might have seen them on your favourite independent retailer's shelves, with their white labels and signature On The Grapevine artwork. But you probably didn’t know that they also win awards. Our ‘Preservative Free’ range has been around for some time, so if you are not quite sure what these lovely wines have to offer, here’s something to refresh our memories.
Sulphur dioxide (SO2 – also shown on wine labels as additives 220, 223 or 224) is added to wines by winemakers as a preservative but is also naturally present in wine. Tiny amounts of sulphur are created during the fermentation of the grapes. Winemakers may choose to add additional sulphur at harvest to preserve the grapes, or throughout the winemaking process. Adding sulphur prevents the oxidation and spoilage of wine. It was discovered as a means to keep the wines fresh when shipping them overseas (so your favourite drop doesn’t turn brown-red under the sun).
Some consumers (around 1% according to a recent study) react to sulphur at different levels, experiencing skin irritation, migraine and/or ‘hangover’ symptoms. 1 in 100 people is quite a lot!
Non-organic winemaking in Australia allows between 250mg/L up to 300mg/L of sulphur dioxide. Organic standards only allow half of these levels, between 100mg/L and 180mg/L. Our contemporary practices in the vineyard and the winery (see Contemporary Organics article) allows wines to be made entirely without the addition of sulphur. And they taste just as good!
These wines are able to push the concept of modern winemaking, creating structured, balanced wines, truly capable of expressing their vineyard and their “terroir”.