What is really in our wine?
New research by Malborough Master of Wine Sophie Parker-Thomson “is likely to provoke considerable revision in winemaking practices and in how sulphites are perceived,” according to Jancis Robinson, famed wined writer for The Financial Times.
Wine intolerance affects between 7 and 8 per cent of the population, and despite being the fifth most common element on earth, sulphites are routinely blamed for adverse reactions to wine says Robinson.
Parker-Thomson’s research into “the relationship between the use of sulphur dioxide and biogenic amine levels in wine” may have wide-ranging effects on how wine is made. Her research included testing the effect of different winemaking techniques on the level of biogenic amines in 100 different New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. The key finding was that so long as a small amount, as little as 30mg/l (or 30 parts per million), of sulphur dioxide was added before fermentation, the biogenic amine level in the resultant wine was inconsequential and the different winemaking techniques had little bearing on final concentrations.
Parker-Thomson became New Zealand’s 15th Master of Wine in 2021. After growing up in the wine regions of Gisborne and Central Otago before graduating as a lawyer and being admitted to the bar. Her research on sulphites and wine tolerance/intolerance is further discussed on Jancis Robinson’s website.