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Sulphites in wine


The written "contains sulfites"Unites many labels. When it is necessary to insert the words "contains sulfites"On the labels ofwine? When the presence of sulphites exceeds an overall content equal to or greater than 10 mg / l.

Before talking about thesulphites in wineIt is in theorganic wine, let's start with the ABC: what are sulphites?

Sulphites: what they are

The term "sulphites" refers to a large family of chemical compounds that have, in common, the sulphite anion (a molecule composed of sulfur and oxygen). All information on the use ofsulphitesasadditivesfood is indicated in the article: "sulphites, what are they".

THEsulphiteshave a negative impact on health -even if in some blogs we read the opposite! -and, in addition, they can trigger important allergic reactions in certain subjects. Precisely because of the potential sulfite allergy that the European Union has imposed a minimum threshold and the mandatory indication on the label.

Sulphites in wine are generally introduced by addingsulfur dioxide. We have already talked about this compound in the article dedicated to the harm and benefits of red wine.

Sulphites in organic wine

According to current regulations, theorganic winemay containsulphitesbut in low doses. The specification onorganic winewas updated in 2012 but does not prohibit the addition of sulphites, it simply limits their use by requiring a more limited addition of sulfur dioxide.

When you buy aorganic wineor not organic, by reading the label you will find yourself faced with three possibilities:

  • Indication, on the label "without sulphites
    (in reality it is wine without added sulphites)
  • Statement on the label "contains sulfites
  • No indication

In case ofno indicationspecified on the label, you are in front of awine with sulphites but contained within the threshold of 10 mg / l. So, if on the label of yoursorganic wineyou cannot find any indication on sulphites, that wine contains some but in concentrations lower than 10 mg per liter.

When this threshold is exceeded, the obligation to indicate them on the label with the words "contains sulfites“.

The obligation of specific indication on the label is linked to the "allergens directive" 2003/89 / EC, the provisions of which have been incorporated into EU regulation 1169/11.

What are they for?

It is also important to specify that two types of sulphites are present in wine:

  • Sulphites naturally produced in the fermentation phase
  • Added sulphites, artificially added additives, generally in the form of sulfur dioxide

I "natural sulphites"Are those that are naturally formed during the first fermentation of grapes, when sulfur dioxide spontaneously forms.

THEsulphites added in wineinstead, they are intended to increase the stability and durability of the product. Sulphites, in fact, limit oxidation and prevent the development of bacteria.

TheRed winetypically contains lesssulphitesof white wine. The reason? Naturally, it already contains antioxidants and tends to deteriorate less than theWhite wine.

Sulphites in wine: how many?

The label with the words "contains sulfites"It only warns you of a minimum value but, in reality, it does not tell you how many sulphites there are in the wine you buy. So how do you do it?

In no way. The EU does not impose an indication on thedosagebut it governs a maximum amount to be used. According to the EU regulation, a maximum limit of 150 mg / l must be respected forRed winesand 200 mg / l for iWhite wines. These thresholds increase to 200 mg / l for isweet red winesand 250 mg / l for isweet white wines.

And as for theorganic wines? Yes, the Community regulation provides for maximum thresholds ofsulphitesreduced when it comes to organic wines: 100 mg / l for iorganic red wines and 150 mg / l for iWhite winesand rosé wines.

High-quality wines, as a rule, contain less sulphites than commercial wines. The reason? The added sulfur dioxide alters the bouquet of flavors and smells that characterize the wine.

Sulphites in food: how to recognize them

THEsulphitesthey are food additives and are indicated on the label with specific codes. Here are the chemicals that contain sulfites that you can find on the label:

  • Sulfur dioxide, code E220;
  • Sodium sulfite, code E221;
  • Sodium bisulfite, code E222;
  • Sodium metabisulphite, code E223;
  • Potassium metabisulfite, code E224;
  • Potassium sulfite, code E225;
  • Calcium sulfite, code E226;
  • Calcium bisulfite, code E227
  • Potassium sulphite acid, code E228

Awine with sulphitesin large quantities it can easily cause migraines. THEsulphitesthey can cause cough, stomach pain, itching… even in people who are not allergic but who show some sensitivity.


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