As mandated by the National Organic Program domestic organic wine must be certified organically grown and in addition contain less that 10ppms of sulfites, i.e. have no sulfites added during the winemaking process. Sulfites are added to conventional wine as a preservative to help the wine age. During the fermentation process, however, sulfites occur naturally at low levels, hence the term No Sulfites Added or NSA.
Years ago, Dr. Gross and winemaker Gilles de Domingo were drinking a 50 year old bottle of Bordeaux. While enjoying the wine, which had aged remarkably, they started discussing the addition of sulfites to wine. They wondered what the current sulfite level of the wine they were enjoying might be. The next day Gilles sent the remaining wine to the lab for analysis on the free So2 levels. The results were spectacular; there was no traceable amount of sulfite left in the wine. This got both Dr. Gross and Gilles thinking. If this wine was aging without sulfites, why couldn’t we produce a NSA (no sulfite added) wine that could age as well? For the past several years Gilles has been working on replacing the role of S02 additions by naturally increasing the level of antioxidants that occur in the grapes. These natural antioxidants essentially become the preservative in the wine and make the reliance on sulfite additions obsolete. Recent analyses have demonstrated the higher level of antioxidants in our current NSA. Gilles believes this is promising for the future of modern winemaking and his ability to create wines that express Cooper Mountain’s terroir.