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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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additives, as controversial in wine as in any other foodstuff, are mostly hidden from wine drinkers since wine is exempt from ingredient-labelling regulations, although producers must state on the label if their wines contain sulfur dioxide. Other widely used and perfectly legal additives include yeast to carry out fermentation, lactic acid bacteria for malolactic conversion, sugar to increase alcoholic strength (see chaptalization), acid for acidification, oenological tannins for texture and colour stability, süssreserve for sweetness, alcohol for fortification, ascorbic acid as an antioxidant, diammonium phosphate as a yeast nutrient, enzymes to improve juice extraction, and sorbic acid as a preservative. Additions may be allowed only in certain regions or within specific limits but these vary despite the oiv’s attempts at standardization set out in their International Code of Oenological Practices. Instances of the use of illegal additives such as flavourings and oak essence may be more common than we think and prosecutions for adulteration are seemingly rare. Additives should not be confused with processing aids.