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31 Do All Wines Contain Sulphites?




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This article is from the WineMaking FAQ, by malak@CAM.ORG (Don Buchan) with numerous contributions by others.

31 Do All Wines Contain Sulphites?

All wines do contain sulphur compounds, and almost invariably sulphur
dioxide, a commonly added preservative. Yeast produce sulphur compounds
as a byproduct of metabolism. The level they produce is usually enough
to require the "contains sulphites" addition to labels. Yeast typically
produce around 10 ppm (10mg/L) but may produce more. It is thought not
to be harmful unless one is very allergic to sulphur compounds. There
are varying degrees of sulphite sensitivity, ranging from sinus
inflammation to, in extreme cases, respiratory failure. Many
winemakers, both commercially and at home, are trying to reduce
sulphite levels.

Sulphite is often added to the wine as a microbiological and oxidative
inhibitor in wines, the amount wildly ranging depending on the
producer. Often the value may as well be related to the colour of the
eyes or the height of the chief winemaker. :)

Ways to avoid using sulphite are to increase the amount of vitamin C
(ascorbic acid), the alcohol content of your wine, tannin levels, and
lowering the pH.

 

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