Making preservative-free wines is no easy feat says David Lowe »

An organic winemaker from Mudgee shares some insights – with video

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Walking farm tours at Lowe Family Wines in Mudgee

Walking farm tours at Lowe Family Wines in Mudgee

Lowe Wines, Mudgee, NSW
David Lowe, Lowe Wines, Mudgee
Lowe Wines 2013 Tinja Chardonnay Verdelho
Lowe Wines, Mudgee, NSW


"The hardest wine I have ever made." So said Mudgee winemaker David Lowe in May 2009 after bottling the first Preservative-Free Merlot. Here he goes on to explain more:

SO2 or 220 on your label is a preservative added to wine and is used to counter the effects of oxidation or ageing.  It has always been added to wine and until recent times was the only weapon against microbial spoilage.

Wine is ½ way between grape juice and vinegar, so to take away your principal weapon of sulphur, you would have to be crazy or stupid. All my other wines have sulphur, but in low amounts; for the better the grapes and winemaking then the less need there is for its use.

However without added preservatives, the wine does not improve and should be consumed within a day of opening. You can extend it a little by putting the wine in the fridge once opened. If you have a method of purging the air out if the bottle is not full, then this also extends the life.

I am sensitive to sulphur, so this is why I made such a wine.

To make a preservative free wine you are restricted to grapes that are pure, with no damage and hand-harvested. The need for sulphur is only because something is wrong or something might go wrong.  It’s difficult but not impossible with red wine, but harder with white wine as it has no colour and no tannin, which are natural preservatives.

It involves very careful handling, minimal interference and good technical capabilities to ensure that the wine remains pure and is of the highest quality. I pick the grapes at lower sugar levels hence lower alcohol and this gives me the edge.

The Tinja red wine is made from Merlot; organically grown and organically made. The bud logo and certification number are the guarantee that no pesticides or inorganic fertilizers were used in the total production of the wine.

The white is made from a blend of Verdelho from the Rylstone vineyard and Chardonnay from the organic vineyard at Mudgee.

These were not made with maturing in mind. It keeps for ages, which is a surprise, but it doesn’t improve. 

Store the wine below 20 Centigrade.

Lots of people who are worried about preservatives, those who love good wine, and those with allergies would be attracted to this wine.


Hear David speaking about his wine here:


  • Mudgee (NSW)

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February 18th, 2014
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