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Sulphur or not in the bottle? Just like the oil, it disappears magically!

>> Monday, September 20, 2010

There is a (very small) trend today among certain wine makers not to use any sulphur at all during the winemaking. Sulphur is used by virtually all wine producers, for example to stabilise the wine at bottling. Sulphur is simply a conservation agent. However, some producers want to stop using it but this can be very difficult since it can lead to problems with the wine once in the bottle. The consumers, on their side, may think that sulphur in the wine sounds (or is) unpleasant. Since a few years back it is compulsory to have a warning text on the label if the wine contains sulphur. In practice this means that all wines carry this warning text, since sulphur can also be produced naturally during the vinification process.

Domaine Montirius (who is an organic and biodynamic producer) in the Rhone Valley wondered how much of the sulphur they added at bottling remained in the bottle? So they had bottles analysed at various intervals after bottling. It turned out that two years after bottling there was virtually no free sulphur left at all in the wine! In other word, when the bottle is opened and drunk, there is no sulphur left for the consumer to worry about. You can (could) read more about their discovery in their latest newsletter, but unfortunately they don’t have an archive online. But if you subscribe to their newsletter perhaps you will have the opportunity to read other interesting things in the future.


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