Why online wine may become sulphite-free

Sulphite free wineView larger image

Sulphites play an important part in preserving wine until it is ready to be consumed - something that is especially crucial to ensure online wine purchases are in perfect condition when they reach their final destination.

But some people suffer from an allergy to sulphites, so an alternative method of preserving online wine would be more than welcomed by many producers.

An international EU-funded project, PreserveWine-DEMO, has now devised a possible way to achieve this, taking their inspiration from the cold pasteurisation technique applied to some fruit juice.

In a pilot plant at the Fraunhofer IGB in Germany, 120 litres of wine per hour can be treated, never reaching more than 40 degrees Celsius - and as intensive filtration is not required, this means the flavour of the wine is not impaired.

Dr Ana Lucia Vasquez-Caicedo, food technologist and group manager at the Fraunhofer IGB, says: "Unwanted oxidising enzymes are inactivated, while neither temperature-sensitive ingredients nor colour and taste are altered by the treatment."

For those who are not allergic to them, sulphites are no cause for concern, and are important to preserve wine until consumption; but for those with a sensitivity to them, alternative methods such as cold pasteurisation may represent a way forwards in the coming years.