The rise and rise of preservative free wine in Australia

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. Note a wine does not have to be preservative free to be certified organic or biodynamic – it just has to be low in sulphur dioxide, to comply with Australian organic standards.

Since we launched The Organic Wine Cellar in 2014, the number and quality of preservative free wines on offer in the Australian market has increased dramatically. In 2014 we had 16 preservative free wines listed on our website and now in 2018 we have 50! Yes, 5-0. We have the largest selection of preservative free wines in Australia.

One in five wines listed on our website are now preservative free. Note all of our preservative free wines are also certified organic or biodynamic. The range has moved on from the likes of Shiraz and Chardonnay, to include varieties like Malbec and Vermentino. We were once frequently asked “Why’s there no preservative free Sauvignon Blanc?” – we now have four listed on our website. We also now have preservative free sparkling wines.

In 2014, prices started at $22.00 per bottle – they now start at $14.00 per bottle. Prices may be going down but quality has been going up and up. As more and more highly talented, experienced wine makers and “5 Star” wineries release high quality preservative free wines, there’s now almost an acceptance throughout a highly skeptical industry, that you don’t need sulphur to make a great wine. OK maybe caveat that by stating you don’t need sulphur to make a great young wine – I concede that preservative free wine is not for the cellar, you should drink them young.

The trend toward “natural wines” is a factor in the rise of preservative free wine. To be considered a natural wine the wine should at the very least be organic or biodynamic and must be preservative free in my opinion. There’s something unmistakably natural about preservative free wines. Raw, lively reds and clean, crisp whites. .My personal picks are the Yangarra Preservative Free 2017 Shiraz and the Tamburlaine Grapevine Preservative Free 2018 Sauvignon Blanc.

With as many as 1 in 100 people now suffering from a sulphur intolerance – and as more and more people discover just how great a preservative free wine can be – we can only see demand for preservative free wine continue to grow.

By the way, don’t expect to see preservative free wine in a cask anytime soon. An iconic Australian invention but only useful for safely transporting bulk wine that’s packed full of sulphur! A preservative free wine wouldn’t last an hour in cask.

Why aren’t we seeing preservative free wines coming from New Zealand? That’s a very good question. Despite some promises we are yet to see a preservative free wine from New Zealand. It’s only a matter of time. We will continue our search…

You can shop by preservative free at The Organic Wine Cellar by clicking on the ‘PRESERVATIVE FREE’ icon on our Home Page.