What Are Sulfites in Wine?
You’ve finally learned the difference between a Riesling and a Gewürztraminer. You may have even wrapped your head around tannins and are ready to enjoy your wine in peace, feeling like a newly minted wine connoisseur. Unfortunately, wine is a complex beverage with many layers. So before you purchase that next bottle of wine, ask yourself, do you know about sulfites?
Sulfites in Wine
Sulfites are a type of preservative used during wine production to “glue” a wine together. They help wines maintain their full flavor and retain freshness as they travel to bars, homes, and restaurants worldwide. Sulfites have been used since the time of the Romans as a way to preserve wines.
Formally known as sulfur dioxide, the chemical compounds perverse freshness and prevent bacterial growth. The ability to “age like a fine wine” is due, in part, to sulfites.
However, some wine producers are beginning to use a wine drop method to address public concerns over sulfite consumption. Some are even adding drops of hydrogen peroxide to oxidize sulfites and change their chemical make-up. This process helps to reduce the adverse side effects associated with sulfites in wine.
If you’ve ever had a glass too many at dinner of a wine that has a heavy concentration of sulfites, you may have woken up not feeling your best. Sulfites are known for causing headaches and may also cause other issues such as hives, stomach pain, or inflammation. It’s also been reported that people with asthma may irritate the respiratory tract. While this may have you feeling worried, it’s important to note that sulfites exist in many common foods, such as eggs, dried fruits, and french fries.
While it’s important to take health matters seriously, findings from the Food and Drug Administration suggest that only 1% of the population is sensitive to sulfites.
How to Limit Sulfite Consumption
As the general population becomes more aware of the effects of sulfite consumption, wineries have begun to produce wine without added sulfites.
If you’re looking to reduce your sulfite consumption, a general rule is to drink wines with more color. Red wines usually have fewer sulfites than white or clear wines. You can also check the sulfite content of most bottles in the U.S., as it’s required by law for wine bottles to list their sulfite contents. We suggest also opting for natural wines, which don’t contain any sulfites. Browse our selection of locally sourced wine and discover a wide range of wines that have a low sulfite content. Join our wine club to start enjoying our award-winning wines today!