Is preservative free really the answer to not having that hangover? When people talk about preservatives in wine, they’re actually talking about the addition of sulphur dioxide (preservative 220), which has been used for thousands of years to protect wines from oxygen and spoilage.


Despite alcohol being a natural preservative, most wine has had preservative added as a protection against oxidation and bacterial spoilage. The preservative used is one of a number of forms of sulphur: sulphur salts or sulphur dioxide.


Is it the Preservatives added that gives you the headache?

A lot people complain about headaches as a part of the after effects of wine.  A more likely culprit for creating red wine headaches is phenolic. Phenolic’s are a large compound of chemicals, that attribute to the taste, colour and mouth feel of wine. Phenolic’s come from the skins, stems and seeds of grapes and find their way into wines when the skins are left to ferment.  It’s these things that give the positive antioxidant properties in red wine, yet also can result in those nasty headaches. There are also a small amount of the population who can suffer an allergic reaction to phenolic. They could experience similar symptoms to asthma and hayfever.

White wines can also cause issues as some people react to oak-derived phenolics (the polyphenols that result from the wine fermenting in oak barrels).  This can also cause histamine production and can result in headache.  Failing the sulphites and phenolic’s, there are many other factors that can play a part in the after effects of wine.  Could it have been the fact you necked a bottle of red wine, ate no food and drank no water?  Let’s not forget the alcohol content itself as a primary cause. Most wines are 14% alcohol compared to beer at approximately 5%

They way we choose our wines at Piper is to make sure we have the best fine wine from Australia, which will make sure the likeliness of any effects from preservatives are felt.


2016 PF Shiraz Yangarra Estate

The PF Shiraz is made from grapes grown on our certified biodynamic single-estate vineyard, grown without herbicides, fungicides or synthetic chemicals. It is made without additions of any kind: sulphur (preservative), acid, tannin or finings.

While it’s obviously a healthy, squeaky-clean presentation of young Shiraz, this is also a glass full of joy and laughter. It’s bright and stimulating, but not light in any way other than mood – its tannins will see it cellar longer any other, but as a young wine it’s just as carefree in attitude. It’s intense, dark and perhaps like fresh soft liquorice in a way. This is pure, open-hearted fun.” – Peter Fraser, Winemaker.



2016 PF, Speak No Evil, hilltops shiraz


Made naturally, Bottled scientifically


White pepper that hits your nose, even to the point of sneezing! Purple plum tastes that leaves a warmth on the roof of your mouth, with blackcurrant with a gentle aniseed finish.


Speak No Evil Hilltop Shiraz has been carefully crafted rom parcels of Hilltop fruits. The wine is made naturally with minimal intervention. After cool fermentation the wine is rapidly bottled in an ultra-pristine environments which captures all the flavours and nothing else, eliminating the need to add any preservative.

Not sure if you want PF but want the go easy on the sulphites !

If you’re still keen to avoid or minimise sulphites and preservatives in your wine, here’s a few things you can do:

  1. Ditch those bargain box specials at the big retailers, those specials are exactly where the hangover’s start.
  2. Hunt out wines with ‘minimal sulphites’ or ‘no added sulphites’.  There are many excellent wines that contain only enough added sulphur to let the wine keep its flavour (so it doesn’t taste like vinegar).
  3. Go organic/biodynamic even though they can use sulphites, most organic/biodynamic wines contain a much lower sulphite concentration than typical commercial wine.



NV Stefano Lubiana ‘Reserve’ Brut, Derwent Valley, Tasmania

Steve and Monique run their 25Ha Certified Biodynamic vineyard in Tasmania.

This wine has a wonderful depth of flavour and richness from this tiny producer in the south of Tasmania. Baby champagne, in regards to purity of fruit and lightness on the palate. A blend of 3 vintages and predominantly Chardonnay.



2014 Cullen Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Margaret River, WA

Cullen’s vineyard Biodynamic practices and minimal intervention apply to both vineyard and winery with all wines being naturally fermented.

As time passes, a greater understanding of the vineyard and grapes is gained and this makes possible the creation of a more individual wine style.

As time passes, a greater understanding of the vineyard and grapes is gained and this makes possible the creation of a more individual wine style.

Bouquet: Delightful combination of fresh cut grass, spicy and vanillin oak aromas supported by tropical notes.

Palate: Deep, rich and vibrant fruit lifted by mineral flavours. Very complex already with lovely Chilean guava notes and toasty characteristics.



2014 Cullen ‘Kevin John’ Chardonnay, Margaret River, WA

The top offering from Vanya Cullen’s revered and sine 2003, Bio-Dynamic vineyard in Margaret River. And named after her father Dr Kevin John Cullen.

Dried pear, honeysuckle, spicy vanilla oak, ginger biscuits. Medium to full bodied, flavoursome, creamy and glossy, spicy oak showing as a young wine, smooth glycerol texture with dry flinty acidity and a long dried banana and pear aftertaste. Citrus too, but richer flavours this vintage.


2014 Gemtree ‘Gemstone’  Organic Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Gemstone celebrates simplicity as something that is pure and uncomplicated. That is not to say that we think simplicity is easy, rather that it should be a great idea uncluttered by the need for explanation. The Gemstone range by Gemtree Wines delivers honest flavours at an affordable price. This range provides customers with an introduction to Gemtree’s philosophy and commitment to organic wine growing.

Fantastic natural sweetness and fruit drive through the entire palate. The palate shows richness without being over powering, a medium bodied wine. The back palate is textured and the layered tannins assist with the overall weight and integration. Winery website







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