Techniques to Reduce Sulfite Additions

In spite of their long history as wine preservatives dating to the days of the Romans, sulfites can receive a bad rap. Many suspect that sulfites cause headaches or believe that any preservative is harmful, and so, there is a strong push to eliminate — or at least reduce — the use of sulfites and any additives perceived not to be “natural.” Can more natural wines be made without sulfites and additives, and such mechanical interventions as filtration? Yes, if grapes are harvested and delivered in perfect condition without rot and at perfect pH, TA and Brix, though one would still need to contend with indigenous yeasts that will get to work in earnest to cause flaws or spoilage if uncontrolled. Grapes and fresh juice are never perfect and therefore require special handling to minimize the risks of oxidation, microbial spoilage and instabilities due to naturally occurring substances that can wreak havoc under favorable conditions. Here, we will propose a list of additives, processing aids and techniques for crafting superior wines with more aromatic complexity, more flavor and with longer