Debunking Facts and Myths Regarding Sulfites

Debunking Facts and Myths Regarding Sulfites

Sep 30th 2020

Sulfites are present in most of the food and beverages out there. It’s almost impossible not to have them included since naturally, sulfites are present in food such as grapes during the fermentation process. It creates controversy among wine enthusiasts since they know that there are adverse effects that may occur from consuming sulfites. If you are sensitive to them, sulfites can cause headaches, hives, or upset your stomach. However, sulfites cannot cause harmful effects as long as you only consume the recommended amount.

Understanding Sulfites

Sulfite is the common term used to describe the presence of sulfur dioxide or SO2. It’s a type of food preservative that is commonly used when making wine and other alcoholic beverages. It can preserve the wine better because of its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. The use of sulfites can maintain the flavor as well as the freshness of the wine. It has been used for a very long time dating back to ancient Rome. Winemakers burn sulfur candles from the wine containers to sore the wine. It’s the method used to prevent wine from turning into vinegar during the process.

How Many Sulfites Are There in Wine?

There is no such thing as sulfite-free wine. From the fermentation process, grapes can naturally create sulfites as part of the process. It will produce about 6 to 40 ppm already. A dry wine usually has around 50 milligrams per liter of sulfites. By law, if the wine contains ten parts per million of sulfur dioxide, they have to add them to the label.

Myths About Sulfites in Wine

  1. Should You Avoid Wine Because It Has Sulfites?
    Avoiding wine will not make you avoid consuming sulfites, if that’s what you’re trying to achieve. Even dried fruits contain tons of sulfides. if you usually eat those varieties. Since the sulfites that you can find from drinking wine are safe for human consumption, there’s no reason why you should avoid it. However, since wine can cause intoxication like other alcoholic beverages, you should drink it in moderation.
  2. Do the Sulfites in Wines Cause Headaches?
    It’s not precisely the sulfites in wines that can cause headaches. There are other components in wine, such as histamines and tannins, that may be the cause of your headache. Not to mention drinking a lot of wine can affect your body the same way as drinking any other alcoholic beverages.
  3. Are Sulfites Unnatural?
    Sulfites are the natural chemicals that formed during the fermentation process. Some winemakers may add more sulfites in the process to ensure that they will achieve the best quality of the wine. However, it doesn’t mean that it is unnatural since sulfites are the byproduct of yeast during the fermentation process.

Should You Worry Your Wine Has Sulfites?

Wines contain sulfites right from the start since it’s part of the fermentation process. It makes the wine taste better as it aged and protects it from bacteria and germs so it’s a good thing that the wine contains sulfites. However, if you are sensitive to sulfites, you may want to try wines that have lower sulfites content.