The addition of sulfite to wine flattens aromas, reduces bright notes, and bleaches color. There is also a negative consumer perception due to the required “contains sulfites” label. Yet, wineries use this preservative extensively, deeming it necessary to protect wine from microbial spoilage and oxidation during storage. Why?
Dr Vijay Singh, the inventor behind the GOfermentor, says “ sulfite is a vestige of older winemaking techniques. It was added mainly to sanitize wood barrels. These are essentially impossible to clean and are the major source of contamination. Additionally, the use of open processing and rigid storage containers causes oxidation, and sulfite addition was a way to soak up the oxygen to protect the wine. The GOfermentor winemaking technology, derived from modern biopharmaceutical processing, utilizes single-use flexible liners, eliminating sources of microbial contamination. The SmartBarrel closed system minimizing oxidation by storing the wine with no headspace. Barrels, and the ineffective cleaning of barrels is eliminated by using sustainable wood products such as chips in the liners. These are used new and are free of brettanomyces and other contaminating organisms…”
The GOfermentor is able to eliminate the need for sulfite additions by taking a holistic approach to the winemaking process with meticulous attention to contamination and oxidation at every step. Firstly, no sulfite is added at crush. Grapes are destemmed and pumped through closed pipe into a new fermentation liner. Fermentation is initiated as soon as possible with a suitable yeast strain. This minimizes the potential for undesirable microbes to get established. The fermentation itself is performed in this closed liner, eliminating environmental microbial contamination and accidental oxidation. Next, the fermented must is pressed inside the bag, eliminating oxidation during pressing. It is now well known that important substances such as glutathione are oxidized during pressing. Sulfites, necessary to prevent this, are not required in the GOfermentor process. All the racking is then done in SmartBarrel single-use liners. This eliminates possibility of contamination, either due to improper cleaning, or environmental contamination. Microoxygenation is easily performed using variable oxygen permeability liners. Oaking is done by adding clean oak products. Liners are vacuumed to have no headspace and partial volumes can be stored for years without the need to top off.
Our R&D winery – Sky Acres Winery – exclusively uses the GOfermentor+SmartBarrel system and has been making wines without sulfite additions since 2014. These wines have won numerous awards and some of them have been stored for over 5 years and are still in perfect condition.