Wines no added sulphites: our experience at Les Vignerons de Buzet

Today, we hear more and more about sulphites and wines that do not contain them!

Sulphur compounds, in particular sulphur dioxide, have long been widely used in winemaking due to the many advantages they provide during the winemaking process. Louis Pasteur, a pioneer in microbiology, demonstrated in the 19th century that sulphites had antioxidant and antiseptic properties. The use of SO2 (the chemical formula sulphur dioxide) as a preservative for wine facilitated the export of French wines, which, too unstable at the time, could not withstand the transport (considerable at that time!).

But now we know that, after alcohol, sulphites are the main cause of migraine. Especially for people who are hypersensitive to this adjuvant. Sulphur dioxide, known as "sulphur", is classified as an allergen.

Reducing the use of sulphites in wine is therefore, for us, Les Vignerons de Buzet, a health issue. Today, thanks to experience, innovation and the rediscovery of old practices, We, Les Vignerons de Buzet, can reduce or even eliminate its use.

Why choose to make a wine no added sulphite?

Our wine cooperative offers a range of "sulphur-free wines" or wines no added sulphites. Making wines without using sulphites is not easy because it requires a good dose of patience, method, research and continuous improvement.

We, Les Vignerons de Buzet, committed since 2005 to sustainable development, have done this experimental work because we want everyone to be able to taste our wines.

The first vintage marketed by Les Vignerons de Buzet as a sulphite-free wine is the 2012 vintage of our "Sans" a red AOC Buzet wine no added sulphites. The first vintage of rosé wine no added sulphites AOC Buzet was marketed in 2015. As for the white wine without added sulphites AOC Buzet, first vintage is 2016.

Making wine without sulphite also leads to a greater personality of the wine obtained. Wines no added sulphites have a different taste than other wines and are characterized by very particular olfactory and gustatory nuances. In this sense, it could be said that the production of wines no added sulphites can contribute to making the wine more "unique" and "atypical".

How do we make our wines without sulphite?

It should be remembered that sulphites are used to stabilise, protect and store must first, then wine. Excluding the use of this substance in oenology is therefore a challenge! Without the help of sulphites to preserve the wine, it is necessary to work with care and vigilance so that the wine is "protected" and can evolve positively.

We always start from the land of our winegrowers, the vineyard, where Nature must be pampered, partly guided and partly supported. Since 2005, our cooperative Les Vignerons de Buzet has been committed to sustainable development, in order to ensure that vines and grapes grow in a healthy and preserved environment.

With a very ripe grape in the right place, the foundations for a sulfite-free vinification are laid: for white wines, acidity is important, while for red wines, it is the concentration of polyphenols (especially tannins) that prevails because the tannins act as protection against oxidation.

During the vinification and maturing phases, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the evolution of the wine, but it is only with experience and attempts that we have obtained a beautiful and good result: ranges of AOC Buzet wines without sulphur.

Another "stumbling block" sometimes encountered by wines no added sulphites produced "in a hurry" and to stick to the trend more than by conviction is ageing, or, perhaps better said, longevity in the bottle. At the Vignerons de Buzet, we have taken up the challenge of preserving "sulphur-free" wine by choosing a specific stopper proposed by the manufacturer Nomacorc. This stopper makes it possible to control the oxygen supply after bottling the wine. Precisely controlled thanks to our experience, the oxygen provided allows the wines to express themselves in an optimal way.