Wine is one of the oldest and most beloved alcoholic beverages in the world. It has been enjoyed by people for thousands of years and is considered a staple at social gatherings and celebrations.
However, over time, the production process of wine has changed, with many winemakers using preservatives to improve the taste and extend the wine’s shelf life. While these preservatives may seem harmless, they can have a negative impact on the environment and our health. That's why many people are turning to preservative-free or natural wine, which offers a host of benefits.
What Are Preservatives in Wine?
Preservatives are chemicals that are added to wine to prevent spoilage and maintain freshness. The most common preservatives used in wine are sulphites, which are compounds that contain sulphur dioxide. Sulphites are used to prevent oxidation, inhibit the growth of bacteria and yeast, and preserve the wine's flavour and aroma. They are also used to sterilise equipment and barrels during the winemaking process.
While sulphites are generally considered safe for consumption, they can cause adverse reactions in some people, particularly those with asthma or sulphite sensitivity. In rare cases, sulphites can also cause anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
Why Drink Preservative-Free Wine?
Here’s why buying preservative-free wine is well worth it:
- Better For Your Health:
Preservative-free wines are made without the use of any synthetic additives, which means they are free from sulphites and other harmful chemicals. This makes them a healthier choice for people with asthma, sulphite sensitivity, or other health conditions. Studies have shown that preservatives can cause headaches, respiratory problems, and other health issues, so choosing a preservative-free wine can help you avoid these risks.
- Better for the Environment:
Preservative-free wines are also better for the environment. Sulphites and other preservatives can have a negative impact on the environment when they are released into the air or water. By choosing a preservative-free wine, you are reducing your carbon footprint and helping to protect the planet.
- More Natural Taste:
A preservative-free wine has a more natural taste, as they are made without any synthetic additives. These wines are made using organic grapes and natural fermentation methods. As a result, the wine tastes more natural and has a more distinct flavour profile. If you are a wine enthusiast who enjoys exploring the nuances of different wines, preservative-free wines are an excellent choice.
- More Affordable:
Preservative-free wines are often more affordable than traditional wines, as they are made with fewer additives and are often produced on a smaller scale. This makes them a great choice for wine enthusiasts who want to enjoy high-quality wine without breaking the bank.
- Supports Small Winemakers:
Choosing preservative-free wines is also a great way to support small winemakers who are passionate about producing high-quality wines. These winemakers often use traditional winemaking techniques and are committed to using only the best ingredients, resulting in a superior product.
How to Choose Preservative-Free Wines
Here are some tips to help you choose the right preservative-free wine for your tastes:
- Look for Organic Wines: As mentioned earlier, natural wine is made from grapes that are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilisers. So, look for wines that are certified organic by a recognised certification body.
- Check the Label: Wines that are labelled as "natural" or "minimal intervention" are often preservative-free. Look for wines that have a short list of ingredients and no added sulphites.
- Know Your Grapes: Certain grape varieties are more resistant to disease and require fewer chemicals to grow. Look for wines made from grapes, like Saperavi, which are less likely to have been treated with synthetic chemicals.
- Research the Winery: Many small, independent wineries produce preservative-free wines. Look for wineries that are committed to sustainable and organic farming practices, and that use natural fermentation methods to produce their wines.
- Read Reviews: Read reviews from other wine enthusiasts who have tried preservative-free wines. Look for reviews that describe the wine's flavour profile, body, and acidity.