Sulfites in Wine
If you’ve woken up with a throbbing headache the morning after a night of wine drinking, you’ve likely fallen victim to wine that is heavy on the added sulfites. We know many wine drinkers who have said that the more wine they consume that has added sulfites, the worse their morning-after headaches are — and the more they consume wine without any added sulfites, the better they feel when they wake up, and the better they feel in general.
What are Sulfites?
But wait, let’s back up… What exactly are sulfites? Sulfites, also known as sulfur dioxide, are chemical compounds that are commonly used as a preservative in many food and beverage products. Sulfites can be added to things like sodas and juices, sauces and spreads, dried fruit, pickled vegetables, sausages, chips, candies and other processed foods to help improve flavor, increase their shelf life, and keep the items from spoiling or growing bacteria. In wine, sulfites are often added by wine producers in order to keep it fresh longer and decrease oxidation, which is when a product mixes with too much oxygen and goes bad.
Natural Sulfites in Wine
Not all sulfites are added during production though; some products have natural sulfites, i.e., fermented foods, eggs, and fruit. Wine too has natural sulfites, prosecco and champagne included. In fact, it is impossible for there to be wine without any sulfites at all. Sulfite free prosecco and sulfite free champagne just does not exist. What DOES exist is wine, prosecco and champagne that have no added sulfites. These wines simply use only the sulfites that were developed from the grapes during the fermentation process in the wine production.
No Added Sulfite Wine vs Sulfite Added Wine
So if there are already naturally produced sulfites in wine, why do some winemakers choose to add more sulfites? Simply put, a short fermentation process will not produce enough sulfites to preserve the wine for as long as needed. As mentioned, sulfites enhance freshness, keep wine from browning, which can severely alter taste and aroma, and keep it shelf-stable for a much longer period of time. It's also worth noting that Wine Companies are NOT required by law to disclose when they add extra sulfites to wine.
The difference between a wine with added sulfites and a wine without added sulfites comes down to each of their fermentation times. Added sulfites become necessary for wines that have gone through a short fermentation process so it can last longer than just a few weeks. Wines that are produced using a much longer fermentation process, like SYLTBAR, have no need to add sulfites because the sulfites that have been naturally produced are enough to keep it stable.
Sulfites in wine range from about 5 parts per million (ppm) to about 250ppm/L. The legal limit in the U.S. is 350 ppm g/L. SYLTBAR believes in being authentic and transparent with its production, and that is why we always mark each of our bottles with the filling date.
All Wines Have Sulfites
Now, we are not saying that sulfites are bad. These natural by-products are very necessary — they kill off and prevent bacteria and dangerous microbes that could spoil products. It’s when mass produced wine companies start to add extra sulfites and other chemicals to the wines that it becomes not-so-necessary...and the side effects and very much unwanted. Headaches are a very common occurrence from drinking wines with higher concentrations of sulfites. Sometimes people even break out in hives or rashes, or develop stomach pain and digestive issues. None of these things are comfortable, and they completely take away from the joy that drinking good wine should bring you.
At SYLTBAR, we believe in all natural production, tasting wine when it’s at its most authentic and real. That is why our wines are fermented for much longer time periods, so that the natural sulfites produced allow the wine to stabilize itself and there is no need for us to add anything at all. No extra chemicals, no extra sugars… It’s wine in its purest form, the way it is intended to be.
Sulfites in SYLTBAR Wine
There is only an average of 25ppm sulfites in a bottle of SYLTBAR fine wine, SYLTBAR Premium Prosecco or SYLTBAR Sparkling Rosé, compared to an average of 150ppm in commercial wines. Now that is some difference! Our winery’s commitment to sustainability and ethical vineyard practices allows us to ensure that SYLTBAR wines will never have any additives.
When you drink SYLTBAR, you are drinking high quality, naturally produced wine at its peak performance, without anything added or removed to change its appearance, flavor, or aroma. That is our promise to you.
Visit our online store to shop low-sulfite wine, low-sulfite Prosecco and low-sulfite Sparkling Rosé. You can also use our website to search for local retail shops and restaurants that carry SYLTBAR. Cheers to that! Be smarter and enjoy life with less sulfites.
Thank you for educating me on sulfites in wine as I am allergic to added sulfites.