“Contains Sulfites” – I am sure you have seen these small words on the back or bottom of a wine label too often. Do you need to be concerned? How much sulfites are in wine and how do they affect you? Do you think your headache is caused by sulfites? And ultimately Are sulfites in wine bad?
About 5-10% of people with asthma have severe sulfite sensitivity and thus the US requires labeling for sulfites above 10 parts per million (PPM). Sulfur is on the rise as a concern among humans as a cause of health problems (from migraines to body swelling) because of its prevalence in processed foods.
Sulfur in Wine vs. other foods?
Depending on the production method, style and the color of the wine, sulfites in wine range from no-added sulfur (10-40 PPM) to about 350 PPM. If you compare wine to other foods, it’s placed far lower on the spectrum. For example, many dry red wines have around 50 PPM.
- lower acid = more sulfur
- more color (red) = less sulfur than white wines.
- higher sugar = more sulfur —> secondary fermentation of sugar
- higher Temperature = more release of sulfur
Why we need sulfites in wines?
SULFITES = PRESERVATIVE
Should I be concerned about sulfites in wine?
If you have sensitivity to foods, you should absolutely try to eliminate sulfites from your diet. Eliminating wine could be necessary. Perhaps start your sulfur witch hunt with the obvious culprits (like processed foods) before you write-off wine.