This article claims the following:

The second limitation of potassium sorbate is the length of time it is effective. Once added to wine it stays in the desireable form of sorbic acid only for a short time. Over time it breaks down into ethyl sorbate which can add notes of pineapple or celery to your wine. The change into ethyl sorbate is not preventable. By using potassium sorbate winemakers are putting a definite shelf life on their wines before they pick up these off flavors.

I wasn't able to find any more articles that verified that potassium sorbate causes off flavors over time, and, more importantly, how long it takes for potassium sorbate to degrade into ethyl sorbate.

2 Answers 2


I've used Potassium Sorbate in a few wine recipes and haven't noticed any issues with off taste. Commercial wineries use it too and I doubt they'd be doing it if it would change the flavor profiles of cellerable wines.

  • This seems like a reasonable thought to me though I would be interested to hear the perspective of a commercial wine maker. This could just be an issue that they work around by carefully choosing a quantity, process, and set of other additives that balance out the potential effects. Without having any knowledge of how this is done it seems like a possibility, if potentially an unlikely one.
    – thesquaregroot
    Apr 21, 2017 at 23:07

I have never noticed it causing off flavours in any of my country wines.

Some have been in the cellar for 2-3 years.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.