By Boyd Champness

ONE of Australias largest and leading wineries, Kingston Estate, has had its export licence suspended over alleged technical breaches of the wine-making practices.

According to a report in The Weekly Times newspaper, The Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation said the suspension followed an audit of the winerys manufacturing operations, which confirmed that some warranted further investigation.

Kingston Estate made nationwide headlines last week for all the wrong reasons when two US work-exchange students alleged that the winery was using red liquid tannin to color sultana grape juice.

Winemakers are allowed to use tannin to improve wine structure, but not as a colorant.

The students are also believed to have claimed that silver nitrate was added to wine to remove sulphur-type smells.

Corporation general manager Sam Tolley said his inspectors were satisfied that the issues were of a technical nature and did not present any risk to public health.

“Nevertheless we take any allegation very seriously,” he told newspapers.

“We need to act quickly in circumstances such as this to ensure that any products which are exported are of the highest quality.”

Kingston Estate is one of South Australias largest wineries, crushing about 16,000 tonnes, buying grapes from about 180 growers and exporting between 35 and 50% of total production.