This local winery is using green tea extract to make its organic wines

In a bid to keep sulphur and other additives out of wine, green tea leaf extract is being used as a natural alternative by this Marlborough vineyard.

Loveblock founder Erica Crawford has developed their latest Sauvignon Blanc with green tea extract, believed to be the first in the world to use it in this way.

Here she discusses alternative antioxidants and the rise of vegan and organic wines.

How did you and the team come up with the idea to use green tea as a natural preservative in replacement of sulphur?

In an effort to protect the wine, while complying with organic certification requirements, we wanted to find a natural and effective alternative – and we found it in green tea.

Alongside this, we’re always looking to discover new ways of innovating with our winemaking processes and had been watching South African winemakers with interest, who have been experimenting with Rooibos (red bush tea) and honeybush teas. It piqued our curiosity, and when we found out that a green tea leaf extract was already registered as a wine additive in New Zealand, we jumped straight in.

How did you use a green tea additive in the winemaking process?

Oxygen is both a friend and foe to wine at various stages and phases of the winemaking process. Wine may need a little oxygen initially but mostly, protection from its plundering effects is needed as the wine can oxidise in its presence (i.e. turn brown and taste “off”, like bad sherry). Therefore, at every stage where the wine is exposed to oxygen (that is, every time the wine is moved) we add green tea in the form of high-grade leaf extract powder to protect the wine from oxidation.

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