Welcome to our report on sulphite-free wine tasting that happened on 22nd July 2016. We have quite a few people who booked in advance to come and sample our wines with no added sulphites. As demand for preservative-free wine grows, we have got more information on sulphites on our site, just head on to News section and select sulphite-free topic. For now just a quick roundup on the tasting.
Sulphites are by-product of fermentation and thus occur naturally in all wines, though in very low levels (10 mg/l). It is generally the rule that if the wine has more than 10mg/l of sulphite concentration it should state on the label ‘contains sulphites’. People who are sensitive and histamine-allergic can also feel the reaction of sulphites and experience migraines and also respiratory difficulties.
Small amounts could be routinely added to most wines as a preservative. That is where it can become nasty. Asthmatics who are very sensitive to sulphites may start experiencing respiratory problems when drinking wine with sulphur dioxide concentration above 45 mg/l.
Sulphites were used in winemaking since almost forever. Romans used it as a cleaning agent and a preservative.
Modern critics agree that even though it is present in all wines it should be kept to a minimum in high-quality winemaking.
Sulphur dioxide is used to prevent oxidation, it simply means winemakers should employ more profound techniques to ensure that there is no need of excessive sulphites. There are many other uses of sulphites - many winemakers use them to mask undesirable aromas and flavours that could be a result of spoilage yeasts.
Widespread concerns about sulphur dioxide allergenic properties of course should be addressed. Yet it is down to careful winemaking techniques.
Organic regulations also impose stricter restrictions on sulphites: 100 mg/l for dry reds and 150 mg/l for dry whites and rose wines.
For people who suffer from extreme allergic reactions to wine it can still be high, so they should opt for wines that are marked sulphite-free or natural and check out sulphite contents.
Gavi ‘Spinola’ Castello di Tassarolo, Piedmonte, Italy
Nosso Verdejo Natural, Castilla Y Leon, Spain
Tempranillo Vinas Viejas, Bodegas Parra Jimenez, La Mancha, Spain
Cabernet Sauvignon Waverley Hills, Tulbagh, South Africa
See our full range of no sulphites added organic wines and cases here: https://organicwineclub.co.uk/collections/sulphite-free-organic-wines