Making wine

When making wine you need to be aware of enrichment levels, sulphur dioxide limits and sweetening wine.
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Enrichment limits

Enrichment levels (or chaptalization) refers to the amount of sugar added to grape must used to increase alcohol content prior to fermentation. Since Autumn 2009, the allowable enrichment limit is 3% increase in total alcohol – if climatic conditions are unfavourable, an additional 0.5% limit can be applied if approved by the European Commission.

The minimum actual alcohol remains 8.5% volume for wine without geographical designation, in effect the minimum natural alcoholic strength is now 5.5% unless the additional 0.5% enrichment has been allowed. The maximum total alcohol level for enriched wines remains 11.5% for white wine and 12% for red and rosé wine. The maximum level does not apply to Quality Wine (PDO).

If you carry out the enrichment of wine you need to send the enrichment form to winestandards@food.gov.uk 

Sulphur dioxide maximum limits

From 2009 harvest the maximum levels for total sulphur dioxide are:

  • red wines 150mg/litre
  • white and rosé wines 200mg/litre (higher levels for wines with 5+grms/litre residual sugar as set out in Oenological Practices Regulation 606/2009)
  • quality sparkling wine 185mg/litre (unchanged)

Sweetening

There is no differentiation in sweetening provisions between enriched and non-enriched wines. The total (actual + potential) alcoholic strength of wines may not be increased by more than 4% vol. The maximum total alcoholic strength remains 15%, except for Quality Wines (PDO category) which have not been enriched.

Food industry guides

For information on spirits, wine and beers, you can purchase and read the Spirit drinks industry guide to good hygiene practice