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What Do We Mean By Additives in Wine?

As we become more aware of what we put in our bodies, it’s natural to take a closer look at what’s in the wine we drink – in particular additives. There’s plenty of chatter out there promoting ‘chemical free’ wines and wines ‘with no added nasties’, however there are no legal guidelines around this avenue of advertising in the Australian wine industry. It’s important to know that many of the wines marketed this way are very much capitalising on a health trend, but it’s not all that it seems. Simply put a chemical is any substance that has a defined composition.  Some chemicals occur in nature, such as water or sulphur, other chemicals are manufactured, for example chlorine.

Read on as our team explore all you need to know about additives in wine.


Are All Additives in Wine Bad?

We love to think about our wine purely as fermented grapes, but the winemaking team often needs to add components into the wine to preserve quality and flavour. It’s worth noting that not all additives/chemicals are bad.

Dihydrogen Monoxide (aka water) and Ethyl Hydroxide (aka ethanol) are the two main chemicals in wine. We can guarantee these so called ‘chemical free’ wines contain both!

For comparison, let’s take a look at the natural chemicals in an apple. In addition to water, an apple is made up of approximately 300 substances and we don’t consider them “nasty”. In fact, they are one of the worlds most cultivated fruits.

Wines don’t contain any “nasty” chemicals.  Anything added to wine must be approved by Food Standards Australia and any sprays utilised on vineyards have strict stipulations in the lead up to harvest.


What do Billy Button add to their wine?

At Billy Button, we’re an open book when it comes to what we add in our wine. We make additions to our wines when we think the product will benefit such as selected yeast, ferment nutrients, pea proteins, tannins, and sulphur dioxide.


You may notice that this list of additives does not contain any animal products, therefore making our wines vegan friendly. Historically, products such as egg whites, milk products and fish bladders have been (and in some cases, are still) utilised as fining products in wine. In lieu of animal products, we utilise natural yeast derived products, pea proteins and tannins to perform the same function.

So, now you know the good from the bad and ugly in the world of wine additives, you’re free to enjoy an informed tipple and drop some impressive knowledge at your next dinner party!

Keen to know more about what’s in your wine? Read on: