Rooibos: an alternative to sulphur?

A winery in Stellenbosch is channelling the antioxidant properties of South Africa’s native rooibos plant to avoid adding sulphur to its wines.



Last year saw Audacia Wines release a red wine, a Merlot, made using this technique, which replaces its usual imported oak staves and chips with rooibos wood, as well as honeybush, which has similar properties.

More commonly associated with tea, rooibos is prized for its high level of antioxidants. As a result, Audacia has been able to avoid using sulphites, which are often associated with headaches and are linked to allergic reactions in a small percentage of the population.

Following successful results, the winery has now added a white expression in the form of a 100-case release of Chenin Blanc that has also been made in this way.

Although Audacia has claimed this development as a “world first”, fellow South African producer KWV also recently released a brand deploying rooibos and honeybush in a similar way. Meanwhile an Italian company has been trialling a preservative derived from grape pips.

For now, Audacia, which is hoping to patent its system, has hailed the discovery as “creating an exciting new wine category”, noting not just the preservative benefits but also the “unique flavours” imparted on the wine by this alternative wood source.

Audacia is not the only wine producer to be experimenting with different types of wood. Bodegas Tobía is looking to create a different profile for its Rioja by experimenting with barrels made from ash, chestnut and acacia.

One Response to “Rooibos: an alternative to sulphur?”

  1. Kent Benson says:

    Sulphites are only associated with headaches by those who are either unaware of, or refuse to acknowledge, the last 20 years of scientific evidence to the contrary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Advisor

The Whisky Exchange
London, UK

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Trading Administrative Assistant

Vin-Exchange Ltd
London, UK

Events Sales Executive

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

On-Trade Regional Sales Manager

Anthony Byrne Fine Wines
West Midlands, UK

Sales Executive

Wine Source
London, UK

Sales – North East England

Liberty Wines
London, UK

Account Manager

Grape Passions Ltd
Hertfordshire, UK

Account Manager Business Development

Gourvid Limited
London, UK

Pink Rosé Festival

7th Feb 2019

Wine Paris

11th Feb 2019
Click to view more

The Global Fortified Masters 2018

Deadline : 25th January 2019

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2019

Deadline : 1st February 2019

Click to view more

Rioja Masters 2018

View Results

The Global Beer Competition

View Results

Click to view more