This study examines the effect of fermenting wine with and without sulfur dioxide. Chardonnay grapes were harvested and pressed into 3 separate tanks. At pressing, one treatment received 3g/hL sulfur dioxide (control), and the other did not receive any sulfur dioxide, and the third did not receive any sulfur dioxide and received Stab Micro M and Tan Blanc at pressing and followed an Enartis no sulfur winemaking protocol. After settling, the juices were racked into barrel and inoculated with CY 3079. The Enartis wine received additions of Claril SP during settling. After completion of malolactic conversion, the control wine was stabilized with sulfur dioxide, and the Enartis treatment had Stab SLI, Tan SLI, and Stab Micro added at the end of malolactic conversion. Both barrels with the Enartis treatment fermented slower than the rest. No major chemistry differences were found between wines except for slightly lower lactic acid in the Enartis wine. The no sulfur wine had slightly higher levels of Lactic Acid Bacteria, slightly less O. oeni, and slightly less S. cerevisiae. The Enartis wine had slightly more S. cerevisiae, and slightly higher diacetyl. In general, judges were able to distinguish between the wine made with and without sulfur dioxide. This may have been due to a perceptible difference in diacetyl between these two wines, likely due to diacetyl binding by sulfur dioxide in the wine produced with sulfur dioxide. The no sulfur wine treatment may have had slight oxidation (but not in a negative respect), and the Enartis no sulfur wine may have had a slight bitterness (although this was not examined statistically). A perceived bitterness in the Enartis wine may be due to the use of sacrificial tannin. Preferences were not strong, but there seemed to be a preference for the wine made with sulfur dioxide, and then perhaps followed by the wine made without sulfur dioxide. However, many more studies are needed to further qualify how no sulfur winemaking impacts wine sensory qualities. Additionally, more studies need to be performed to determine how no sulfur wines age over time.
Chardonnay was fermented using traditional winemaking and sulfur dioxide-free winemaking. The wine produced had no chemical or microbial differences. Sensory differences were distinguished between the wines, and in general the traditional method was preferred.