" Contains sulphites ", a statement that is often seen on the label of wine bottles or bag in boxes. But do you know what sulfites are? And what are they for?
Why add sulfites to wine?
Oxygen , as you surely know, is not a friend of wine. In fact, in the presence of oxygen the wine gradually turns into vinegar. The addition of sulphites prevents the wine from oxidizing in contact with oxygen. However, sulfites have other uses as well. In fact, they are used to control alcoholic fermentation, to disinfect the barrels or to accelerate the decomposition of the grapes. Therefore, sulfites play an important role in winemaking. A wine that contains sulphites is therefore completely normal .
Sulfite is present at a level of a few tens of milligrams per liter in red wines (about 150 mg per liter of wine for a red wine and perhaps approaching 400 mg per liter in sweet white wines). A presence that is far from the limit authorized by the law.
Other names are used to designate sulfites. Among the latter, the most present are: sulfur dioxide (SO2), sodium bisulphite, sodium sulphite, sulphiting agents, etc. However, the term "sulfites" is undoubtedly more widespread.
Are sulfites dangerous to health?
Consuming sulfites is generally safe for health. That said, some people may have an allergy to sulfites . In this case, they should avoid anything containing sulfites. Additionally, sulfites are often thought to cause headaches. However, headaches are usually the result of excessive alcohol consumption. To avoid this, just hydrate yourself by drinking glasses of water during wine tastings. The labeling "contains sulfites" on wine bottles was made mandatory in 2005 due to the classification of sulfites as allergens.
Is there wine without sulfites?
There are wines that do not contain added sulphites (the so-called natural wines). It should in fact be noted that the fermentation of grapes naturally produces sulfites . Therefore, even if no inputs are used, the wine contains sulfites that are naturally produced during winemaking.
A variety of foods contain sulfites
In addition to wine, some foods also contain sulfites . This is the case, for example, of canned or frozen fruit and vegetables, but also fruit syrups, jams, dried fruit, some cereals, pasta and various condiments. Therefore, the presence of sulphites is not limited to wine.