by Fred McMillin
for February 5, 1997

Last Rites for Sulfites

Prologue: Most winemakers add sulfites to help preserve their wines. Without the additive, there is a greater risk that the wine will change color, lose flavor and spoil.

The Rest of The Story: So it's risky business to make wine without sulfites but the Frey (pronounced "fry") Winery knows a thing or two about sanitation. Founder/owners Paul and Marguerite Frey are both physicians. They keep the bacteria on the run by steam- cleaning their stainless steel fermentation tanks, using only flawlessly healthy, high-acid grapes, etc. Fine, but does this really reduce sulfite levels, since sulfites occur naturally in wine and many foods (egg white test showed six parts per million)? Well, your typical wine will contain 25 to 150 ppm sulfites.

In contrast, the last three vintages of Frey Cabernet Sauvignon have shown 0 ppm, 1 ppm, and 0 ppm. CASE CLOSED.

1992 Cabernet Sauvignon, Redwood Valley, Mendocino County
Frey Vineyards
14000 Tomki Road, Redwood Valley, CA
Phone: (800) 760-3739; FAX & Phone: (707) 485-5177
Tasting Notes On '92 Cab: Mature vines and French oak show nicely.
in this medium-body, berry-flavored Cabernet.
$10 (good buy)

Postscript: How can a family-operated winery conduct labor-intensive organic winemaking? That's easy. The Freys have TWELVE children, now grown, most of whom make the 25,000 case operation hum.

Category: Recommended

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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