An Australian winemaker has patented a method of removing sulphur dioxide from wine immediately prior to consumption.
James Pennington, of Rivendell Wines in western Australia, patented his PEWA (Preservative Elimination in Wine At consumption) system earlier this year.
The system consists of a levered plastic stopper which is placed on the top of the recently-opened bottle of wine. When the lever is raised and dropped, a small amount of hydrogen peroxide is released. The hydrogen peroxide neutralises the sulphites and the stopper can be removed.
According to Pennington, once the proceedure has been performed the wine is almost completely sulphur free.
Sulphur dioxide is regularly used in winemaking, and many winemakers add up to 250ppm to wine bottles prior to prevent oxidation and development of ‘off flavours’.
In some cases, however, the sulpur dioxide can give off a very unpleasant smell and, in large quantities, can provoke severe asthma attacks. In November 2003, European supermarket chain Lidl had to recall a line of Australian Cabernet Shiraz, found to have massive amounts of sulphur dioxide – in some cases 17 times the permitted level.
Written by Frank Smith