As wine drinkers we have all heard about “Sulfites” in our beloved wine…..
Sulfites have become a hot topic of debate….. There is a very small percentage of the population that may have an adverse reaction, and experience possible headaches….
However having said this currently there is no definitive medical research the links sulfites in wine to those headaches….. Ok stay with me on this one.
So…… What are Sulfites, what are they do in our beloved wine, and what do we need to know about them……?
Ok let’s start by going back to high school chemistry class for a simple definition of “Sulfites”. According to Wikipedia, “Sulfites/sulphites are compounds that contain the sulfite ion SO2. The sulfite ion is the conjugate base of bisulfite. Although the acid itself is elusive, its salts are widely used.”
Ok now that’s simple right? I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to understand why I didn’t pass high school chemistry class.
Maybe this will help clear up the mystery of “Sulfites” one of the commercial applications of sulfites is as a preservative in food products. Here are some facts that you may not know when it comes to Wine and Sulfites.
- Sulfites are found in every bottle of wine, this chemical compound is a natural by-product of the fermentation process of producing wine.
- Sulfites can also be used by the winemaker at several stages in the winemaking process: to arrest the fermentation, as preservative agent to prevent spoilage and oxidation. Fact grape juice without the introduction of “Sulfites” would turn to vinegar, Not sure I’m ready to raise a glass of vinegar in celebration……….
- Myths, organic wines are not necessary “Sulfite-Free”. In general sweet wines contain more sulfites that dry wines, some sweet whites have more sulfites that dry reds.
Having been a wine consultant for over a decade, I have heard the comment that “I don’t drink red wine because of the sulfites give me headaches…… From the articles I have read on the subject I have come to understand the typically red wines have less sulfites than white wines. Quoting from an online article: Sulfites in Wine: the Myths, the Facts, and the Truth
“Medical research is not definitive on the relationship between sulfites and headaches. There are many other compounds in wine such as histamines and tannins that are more likely connected to the headache effect (not to mention alcohol!).”
Another article I found online indicated that higher concentrations of Sulfites can be found in a lot of commonly consumed food products than in wine including: dried fruits, jams, baked goods, canned vegetables, frozen orange juice, bacon, dried noodles, and pickled foods.
In reading numerous articles on the subject of sulfites and wine, it is really clear to me that we have not heard the last on this topic. Just some food or should I say wine for thought……
If you have any question of any of the topics that I write about please to do not hesitate to contact me here are Mecenat Bistro & Gathering Place or email me at Gregory@mecenatbistro.com
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