Additives and processing aids

Wine composition and labelling compliance under the Food Standards Code is regulated domestically by the State Health Authorities in accordance with the various State Food Acts.

Wine Australia is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Food Standards Code at the point of export. Exporters can apply to Wine Australia for permission to export a product that does not comply with the Food Standards in circumstances where the product complies with the importing country’s requirements.

Food Standard 4.5.1

Australian wine production is governed by Standard 4.5.1 of the Food Standards Code. Standard 4.5.1 applies only to the production of wine in Australia.

Definitions

Wine means the product of the complete or partial fermentation of fresh grapes, or a mixture of that product and products derived solely from grapes.

Sparkling wine means the product consisting of wine that by complete or partial fermentation of contained sugars has become surcharged with carbon dioxide. Sparkling wine:

  • may contain grape spirit, brandy and sugars provided that their addition does not increase the alcohol content by more than 25 mL/L at 20°C.
  • must contain no less than 5 g/L of carbon dioxide at 20°C.

Fortified wine means the product consisting of wine to which has been added grape spirit, brandy or both. Fortified wine may also contain caramel.

Grape spirit means the spirit obtained from the distillation of wine or the by-products of winemaking or the fermented liquor of a mash of dried grapes and contains methanol in a proportion not exceeding 3 g/L at 20°C of the ethanol content.

Brandy means the spirit obtained by the distillation of wine in such a manner as to ensure that the spirit possesses the taste, aroma and other characteristics generally attributed to brandy, in accordance with the following requirements:

a)    must be matured in wooden containers for no less than 2 years;

b)    must contain no less than 250 mL/L of the spirit distilled at a strength of no more than 830 mL/L at 20°C of ethanol;

c)    may contain:

i)      water
ii)     caramel
iii)   sugars
iv)   grape juice and grape juice concentrates
v)    wine
vi)   prune juice
vii)  honey
viii) flavourings; and

d)    must not contain methanol in a proportion exceeding 3 g/L at 20°C of the ethanol content thereof.

Wine product means a food containing no less than 700 mL/L (70 per cent) of wine, which has been formulated, processed, modified or mixed with other foods such that it is not wine.

Wine composition

Analytical parameter

Specification

 

Minimum

Maximum

Alcohol by volume @ 20oC

·         Still and Sparkling Wine

·         Fortified Wine

 

4.5%

15%

 

-

22%

Sodium chloride

 

1 g/L

Potassium sulphate

 

2 g/L

Phosphorus

 

400 mg/L

Volatile acidity

 

1.5 g/L

Cyanides

 

0.1 mg/L

Additives

A food additive is any substance not normally consumed as a food in itself and not normally used as an ingredient of food, but which is intentionally added to a food to achieve a technological function (e.g. antioxidant, preservative). It or its by-products may remain in the food. Food Standard 4.5.1 lists the approved additives for the production of wine, sparkling wine and fortified wine.

Additives

Specification maximum

Ascorbic acid

GMP

Carbon dioxide

GMP

Citric acid

GMP

Erythorbic acid

GMP

Grape juice including concentrate grape juice

GMP

Grape skin extract

GMP

Gum arabic

GMP

Lactic acid

GMP

Malic acid

GMP

Metatartaric acid

GMP

Mistelle1

GMP

Potassium polyaspartate

100 mg/L

Potassium sorbate

See sorbic acid

Potassium sulphites

See sulphur dioxide

Sodium carboxymethylcellulose

GMP

Sorbic acid

200 mg/L

Sulphur dioxide:

< 35 g/L sugars

> 35 g/L sugars

 

250 mg/L

300 mg/L

Tannins

GMP

Tartaric acid

GMP

Yeast mannoproteins

GMP

1 Mistelle means grape must or grape juice prepared from fresh grapes to which grape spirit has been added to prevent fermentation and which has an ethanol content between 120 mL/L and 150 mL/L at 20°C.

Processing aids

Processing aids are substances used in the processing of raw materials, foods or ingredients, to fulfil a technological purpose relating to treatment or processing but does not perform a technological function in the final food. The substance is used in the course of manufacture of a food at the lowest level necessary to achieve a function in the processing of that food, irrespective of any maximum permitted level specified.

Clause 4 of Standard 4.5.1 lists the approved processing aids for the production of wine, sparkling wine and fortified wine.

Processing aid

Specification maximum

Activated carbon

GMP

Agar

GMP

Alginates, calcium and potassium salts

GMP

Ammonium bisulphite

GMP

Ammonium phosphates

GMP

Argon

GMP

Bentonite

GMP

Calcium carbonate

GMP

Calcium tartrate

GMP

Carbon dioxide

GMP

Carrageenan

GMP

Cellulose 

GMP

Chitin-glucan

GMP

Chitosan sourced from Aspergillus niger

GMP

Collagen

GMP

Copper sulphate

GMP

Cultures of micro-organisms2

GMP

Cupric citrate

GMP

Diatomaceous earth

GMP

Dimethyl dicarbonate

200 mg/L

Dimethylpolysiloxane

GMP

Egg white

GMP

Enzymes

GMP

Gelatin

GMP

Hydrogen peroxide

5 mg/kg

Ion exchange resins

GMP

Isinglass

GMP

Lysozyme

GMP

Milk and milk products

GMP

Nitrogen

GMP

Oak

GMP

Oxygen

GMP

Pectins

GMP

Perlite

GMP

Phytates

GMP

Plant proteins permitted as processing aids under clause 3(a) to Standard 1.3.3 (which permits the use of foods, including water as processing aids)

GMP

Polyvinyl polypyrrolidone (PVPP)

GMP

Polyvinyllimidazole-polyvinylpyrrolidone co-polymers (PVI/PVP)

GMP

Potassium carbonate

GMP

Potassium ferrocyanide3

0.1 mg/kg

Potassium hydrogen carbonate

GMP

Potassium hydrogen tartrate

GMP

Silicon dioxide

GMP

Thiamin chloride4

GMP

Thiamin hydrochloride4

GMP

2 Cultures of microorganisms means yeasts or bacteria (including yeast ghosts) used in wine manufacture with or without the addition of any one or more of thiamine hydrochloride, niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, biotin and inositol.

3 If potassium ferrocyanide has been used as a processing aid in the manufacture of a wine, sparkling wine or fortified wine, the final product must have residual iron present.

4 Thiamin chloride and thiamin hydrochloride may only be added to wine, sparkling wine and fortified wine to facilitate the growth of microorganisms.

Water additions

Wine, sparkling wine and fortified wine may only contain water that is:

  • necessary to incorporate any additive or processing aid specified in Standard 4.5.1 (above); or
  • necessary to facilitate fermentation; or
  • incidental to the winemaking process. 

Where water is added for the purposes of incorporating processing aids and additives, or where the addition is incidental to the winemaking process, the wine, sparkling wine or fortified wine may not contain more than 70 mL/L water (7 per cent) as a result. 

Where water is required to facilitate fermentation, water may only be added to wine, sparkling wine and fortified wine if the water is added to dilute the high sugar grape must prior to fermentation and does not dilute the must below 13.5 degrees Bé.

Wine must not contain more added water than is consistent with Good Manufacturing Practice.

Note that in some import markets it is not lawful to sell if water has been incorporated throughout the winemaking process to facilitate fermentation.

Read more about water additions here.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.