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Preservative free wine is wine that does not contain any sulphur (or sulfur) dioxide (SO₂) which is the preservative used in wine. Sulphur dioxide helps to protect wine from spoilage by bacteria and oxidation.
Are all organic and biodynamic wines preservative free?
A number of organic and biodynamic wines are preservative free but not all organic and biodynamic wines are preservative free. However, in Australia, organic and biodynamic wine does contain minimal sulphur dioxide to comply with Australian organic standards.
How do I know if a wine is preservative free?
Look for ‘Contains sulphites’ or ‘Preservative 220’ on the label – this indicates the use of sulphur dioxide.
Though a conventional wine (i.e. a wine that is not organic or biodynamic) may be preservative free, it is likely that it still contains harmful chemical pesticides, fungicides or herbicides.
Sulphur dioxide is evident in the bouquet and palette of a wine, especially if the winemaker has been a little heavy handed with it. This is not a good thing. Sulphur dioxide does not have a pleasant smell or taste!
Is preservative free better for you?
No. However, exposure to sulphur dioxide could be a problem if you are sensitive to it i.e. if you have asthma, sulfite sensitivity or a sulfite allergy.
I heard you don’t get a hangover if you drink preservative free wine. Is that true?
That sounds like something a dodgy salesman peddled. There’s no scientific evidence to verify that claim. If you are drinking wine in volumes that may result in a hangover then you would be well advised to drink less! However, many people do say that they get a headache when they drink even one glass of conventional wine but that they don’t get a headache when they drink organic wine. This is most likely explained by the absence of harmful chemical pesticides, fungicides or herbicides.
At The Organic Wine Cellar we have an amazing array of premium organic and biodynamic wines, some of which are preservative free. You can shop by preservative free by expanding the Shop menu at the top of our Home Page and clicking ‘PRESERVATIVE FREE’ on the right.
First published 20/9/2014