Posted on by Stew Went

Any assessment or discussion of Preservative Wines revolves nearly entirely around the absence of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) or its wine label alter ego ‘added preservative 220’. It is important to note the use of the term ‘added’ as SO2 can be produced naturally during fermentation. So in this respect, technically speaking, any label proclaiming the wine to be ‘preservative free’ is not entirely accurate.

The Australian maximum legal limit is 300mg/L but it would be usual to find a wine’s content anywhere near this number. Sometimes winemaking notes or the back label may refer to ‘sulfites’. This refers to the presence of Bisulphite and Sulphurous Acid and must be disclosed if the wine contains more than 10mg/L.

The good news is that the use of such additives appears to be on a downward trend. As winemaking and viticulture skills constantly improve the underlying fruit is in better condition and this lessens the need for sulphur dioxide to patch up any weak spots.

The addition of sulphur dioxide nearly always bolsters the wine’s ability to remain ‘fresh’ for an expended period thus it’s always a good to stick to young wines when shopping for a preservative free drop.

For details on Preservative Free wines take a look at the Travelling Corkscrew's excellent overview here.