There's lots of confusion regarding sulfites - they get bad press & actually are a useful ingredient in the winemaking process.
WHAT ARE SULFITES?
Very simply, sulfites (also known as sulfur dioxide) help preserve wine and slow chemical reactions which cause wine to go bad.
Sulfur was used in winemaking (instead of just cleaning wine barrels) in the early 1900s to stop bacteria and other yeasts from growing.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL AND ADDED SULFITES?
Natural sulfites are just that, completely natural compounds produced during fermentation of all wine. Sulfite-free wines simply do not exist. Added sulfites preserve freshness and protect wine from oxidation, unwanted bacteria and yeasts.
ARE THERE SULFITE LIMITS?
Wines are labeled “contains sulfites” if they contain more than 10ppm (parts per million). Legal limits in the United States are as high as 350 ppm for conventional wine and most range between 50-150 ppm. For comparison sake, a can of soda contains 350 ppm.
Often, red wines contain less sulfites than white wines and dry wines contain less sulfites than sweet wines. Also in most cases, lower-quality wines contain more sulfites than higher-quality wines.
DON’T SULFITES CAUSE HEADACHES?
The primary causes of wine headaches are not sulfites – it’s histamines or dehydration!
The FDA estimates that less than 1% of the U.S. population actually have a sulfite allergy, and those who do are most likely asthmatic. Many foods contain sulfites, most significantly more than wine.
Researchers maintain it is actually histamines, a byproduct of yeast during fermentation, intensify allergy like symptoms after drinking wine; coughing, head aches & sneezing.
Staying hydrated can help to deter wine headaches - don’t forget to drink plenty of water! It’s suggested to drink a full 8-oz (250 ml) glass of water with every serving of wine.
DO ORGANIC WINES CONTAIN LOWER AMOUNTS OF SULFITES?
In the US, an organic wine must be made with organically grown grapes and no added sulfites. In the EU, organic wines may contain natural sulfites but with lower maximums than non-organic wines. The EU legal limit for sulfites in organic wines is 100 milligrams per liter.
VILLA GRAZIELLA WINES - OUR ORGANIC COMMITMENT:
Our wines contain a maximum sulfite level of 40 ppm
No commercial yeast added, only ambient or indigenous sulfites.
No added artificial dyes or colors.
No synthetic fragrances added to enhance the aroma.
No sugars or flavor agents used to “improve” the taste, texture or mouth feel.
No oak chips or oak powder.