Photo: Ewen Bell / Wine Australia
Photo: Ewen Bell / Wine Australia
05 Oct 2018
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Just as alcohol tolerance labelling differs between markets (which we’ve previously written about), winemakers and exporters need to be aware that the prescribed limit for sulphites present in wine differs too. In many markets, there isn’t just a simple limit for total sulphites either.

Knowing sulphite limits (as with all analytical parameters) for your destination market is vital. While compliance with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (ANZFSC) is a contributing requirement for product approval (i.e. to export your wine from Australia), you’ll need to ensure it also complies with destination market requirements for it to be successfully imported.

The Australian limit for sulphites in wine is found within ANZFSC Standard 4.5.1 and is relatively simple as it only changes based on one factor – residual sugar. Wine, sparkling wine and fortifieds containing under 35g/L residual sugar are permitted up to 250mg/L total sulphites, while wines with sugars higher than 35g/L are permitted a slightly increased level of 300mg/L total sulphites.

However, some export markets are more complicated, and the prescribed limit may vary depending on a variety of factors. These include the wine type/style (e.g. red, white, rosé or sparkling), whether a wine is organic, its sugar content (as is the case for Australia), or a combination of these factors.

In several markets, there’s a limit for both free and total sulphites too. It’s also important to note that while ANZFSC presents the limit for sulphites in mg/L (i.e. ‘parts per million’ or ‘ppm’ as it’s often referred to), the units may vary for other markets.

While there are several sulphites that are permitted additives under the ANZFSC, in Australia – and in many export markets – sulphites are measured as residual sulphur dioxide (SO2).

The summary below has been compiled using Wine Australia’s regularly updated Export Market Guides. These guides are an essential reference tool for the Australian wine community and contain market-specific details on other wine standards, duties and taxes, labelling requirements, and import and certification requirements.

For further details on export requirements, consult the relevant Export Market Guide and get in touch with Regulatory Services via audit@wineaustralia.com or (08) 8228 2000 if you need further assistance.

Market

Free SO2 (ppm)

Total SO2 (ppm)

Notes

Australia

 

250

Wines with < 35 g/L sugars

 

 

300

Wines with > 35 g/L sugars

Argentina

 

130

Red wines with < 4 g/L sugars

 

 

180

Red wines with > 4 g/L sugars

 

 

180

White and pink wines with < 4 g/L sugars

 

 

210

White and pink wines with > 4 g/L sugars

Brazil

 

300

 

Cambodia

 

350

Expressed in mg/kg

Canada

70

350

Federal standard; Provincial Liquor Control Boards may set their own overriding limits

 

70

420

Quebec (SAQ)

 

30

100

For Quebec, organic products with < 50 g/L sugar

 

35

150

For Quebec, organic products with > 50 but < 100 g/L sugar

 

45

250

For Quebec, organic products with 100 g/L or more sugar

 

50

300

For Ontario, wines with < 35 g/L sugar

 

70

400

For Ontario, wines with >35g/L sugar

 

30

100

For Ontario, organic wines with < 50 g/L sugar

 

35

150

For Ontario, organic wines with 50–99 g/L sugar

 

45

250

For Ontario, organic wines with > 99 g/L sugar

Chile

75

250

Red, rosé, white and sparkling wine

 

100

400

Sweet wines with < 30 g/L total sugars

China

 

250

Wines with < 45 g/L sugars

 

 

400

Wines with > 45 g/L sugars

European Union (EU)

 

150mg/L

Red wine, liqueur wine

 

 

200mg/L

White wine, rosé wine

 

 

235 mg/L

Sparkling wine

 

 

300 mg/L

Botrytis/late harvest wine

 

 

100 mg/L

Organic red wine

 

 

150 mg/L

Organic white wine, organic rosé wine

 

 

205 mg/L

Organic sparkling wine

 

 

120 mg/L

Organic liqueur wine

 

 

270 mg/L

Organic botrytis/late harvest wine

 

 

200 mg/L

Red wine, liqueur wine (with at least 5 g/L sugar expressed as glucose + fructose)

 

 

250 mg/L

White wine, rose wine (with at least 5 g/L sugar expressed as glucose + fructose)

 

 

130 mg/L

Organic red wine (with at least 2 g/L sugar expressed as glucose + fructose)

 

 

180 mg/L

Organic white wine, organic rose wine (with at least   2 g/L sugar expressed as glucose + fructose)

Fiji

 

 

No specific wine standards – check with your importer

Hong Kong

 

350

‘Grape wines’

 

 

400

White wines

 

 

70

‘Aromatised wines’

India

 

350

Expressed in mg/kg

Indonesia

 

50

 

Japan

 

350

Expressed in mg/kg

Kenya

70

350

Still table wine, expressed in mg/kg

 

50

250

Sparkling wine, expressed in mg/kg

 

30

250

Fortified wine, expressed in mg/kg

Korea

 

350

 

Malaysia

 

450

 

Mexico

 

350

 

Myanmar

 

350

Expressed in mg/kg

New Caledonia

 

 

Refer to EU limits

New Zealand

 

250

Wines with < 35 g/L residual sugar, expressed in mg/kg

 

 

400

Wines with > 35 g/L residual sugar, expressed in mg/kg

Nigeria

 

350

Expressed in mg/kg

Norway

 

 

Refer to EU limits

Papua New Guinea

 

200

Wines with < 35 g/L residual sugar, expressed in mg/kg

 

 

400

Wines with > 35 g/L residual sugar, expressed in mg/kg

Peru

 

350

Expressed in mg/kg

Philippines

 

350

Expressed in mg/kg

Qatar

 

350

Expressed in mg/kg

Russia

 

200

Dry wines, grape wine drinks, sparkling wine, superior sparkling wine, liqueur wine, aromatised wine drinks

 

 

300

Semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet wines

Singapore

 

300

 

South Africa

 

150

Red wine < 5 g/L sugar

 

 

160

Dry wines < 5 g/L sugar

 

 

200

‘Natural wines’ > 5 g/L sugar. (Defined as wines with at least 4.5% ABV but less than 16.5% ABV)

 

 

300

Noble late harvest

Sri Lanka

 

450

Expressed in mg/kg. This limit is set to be reduced to 250 in the draft Food (Preservatives) Regulations

Switzerland

 

150

Red wine and Liqueur wines < 5 g/L residual sugar

 

 

200

White and rosé wines with < 5 g/L residual sugar

 

 

200

Red wine and liqueur wines with > 5 g/L residual sugar

 

 

250

White and rosé wines with < 5 g/L residual sugar

 

 

235

Sparkling wines

Taiwan

 

400

Alcohol products containing more than 250 ppm of SO2 are required to be labelled ‘this product contains less than 400 ppm of sulphur dioxide’

Tanzania

50

350

Still table wine, expressed in mg/kg

 

30

250

Fortified wine, expressed in mg/kg

 

50

250

Sparkling wine, expressed in mg/kg

 

50

200

Dry fruit wine, expressed in mg/L

 

35

300

Sweet fruit wine, expressed in mg/L

Thailand

 

300

Expressed in mg/dm3

Turkey

 

200

Red wine > 5 g/L sugar

 

 

150

Red wine < 5 g/L sugar

 

 

235

Sparkling wine

 

 

250

White and rosé > 5g/L sugar

 

 

200

White and rosé < 5g/L sugar

 

 

200

Liqueur wines with > 5 g/L residual sugar

 

 

150

Liqueur wines with < 5 g/L residual sugar

United Arab Emirates

 

 

Check with your importer

United Kingdom

 

 

See EU limits

United States of America

 

350

 

Uruguay

 

250

 

Vietnam

 

150

Red wine

 

 

200

Red wine with > 5 g/L sugar (glucose + fructose)

 

 

200

White wine, rosé wine

 

 

250

White wine, rosé wine with > 5 g/L sugar (glucose + fructose)

 

 

150

Liqueur wine with > 5 g/L sugar

 

 

200

Mixed wine with > 5 g/L sugar

 

 

185

Quality sparkling wine

 

 

235

Sparkling wine (other than ‘quality’)

 

 

400

Other wine products


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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.