All Anderson wines are low preservative, but what does that actually mean?
The main preservative used in basically all wines is sulphur dioxide. Without it, a wine will oxidise and spoil, and sulphur dioxide has been used to great effect for hundreds of years. Only a very small percentage of the population is actually allergic to sulphur dioxide itself, and the levels found in wine are much lower than in some other foods, such as dried fruit and some processed foods (baked goods, soups etc). For example, the maximum limit in Australian wine is 250ppm (300ppm for sweet wine). Dried apricots can have 3000ppm or more.
Also, contrary to what many people believe, Organic wine can contain sulphur dioxide in Australia. The limit is lower (120ppm), but it is still there.
Sulphur dioxide can be added to wine in 2 ways – as a pure gas (preservative 220), or as a powdered form (Potassium metabisulfate 223). Most wineries use the powdered form, as it is much easier to add (plus it’s necessary for machine harvested grapes, as gas is impractical in the vineyard). However, we believe that some people (ourselves included), do have a reaction to Potassium metabisulfate, but not pure Sulphur dioxide.
Unfortunately it is not necessary to declare which method of addition has been used on a wine label – it only legally needs to say “Contains sulphites”.
At Anderson winery we only use pure Sulphur dioxide gas (220), and even though we are not certified, we stay within the organic limits of 120ppm.