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.

Rooibos

Rooibos

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 to Kent Benson Cancel 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Your email address will not be published.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.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Events & Admin Assistant

The Drinks Business
London SE1, UK

Brand Manager - Key Wine Partners

MMI Dubai
Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Business Development Manager

Bashall Spirits
Lancashire, UK

Territory Manager - London​

Cadrona Distillery
London, UK

Business Development Manager

Lucozade Ribena Suntory
UK

Customer Marketing Manager

Bibendum
London NW1, UK

Export Assistant Co-ordinator - Maternity Cover

Speciality Drinks
Whitby Avenue, London NW10 7SF, UK

Customer Services Administrator - On Trade

Speciality Drinks
Whitby Avenue, London NW10 7SF, UK

Fruit Focus 2019

East Malling,United Kingdom
17th Jul 2019

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show

San Francisco,USA
23rd Jul 2019

The Wine Show Chelsea 2019

London,United Kingdom
18th Oct 2019
Click to view more

The Global Riesling Masters 2018

View Results

Global Chardonnay Masters 2018

View Results

Click to view more