Iron is one of the most common metallic elements on earth and is found in a variety of foods. Grapes used for winemaking naturally contain low levels of iron in the 0-5mg/l range. However, these can be increased by unstable levels due to contamination of the grape with soil contamination or the wine coming in contact with steel or iron in the containers.
Levels of iron present in wine can often be increased following contamination with soil that may contain high levels of iron. Another possible cause can be contact with mild steel or cast-iron containers or crusher rollers. At lower levels iron plays an important role in the winemaking process as it favours oxidation and alters the sensory characteristics of the wine including odour, texture and taste. Wines containing more than 6 mg/l iron are at risk of case instability which may require treatment.
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