Whether it's a celebratory glass with friends or a beautiful bottle on the weekend, from part-time wine lover to sophisticated sommelier, those who have a sensitivity to sulfites will never look back once they choose sulfite free wine.
For all those drinkers and dabblers out there who love wine but hate the foggy hangover the very next day, wine without added sulfites could be just the solution you have been looking for. Winemaking has come a long way since it kickstarted life back in 4000 BC, and those in the know are ever keen to innovate and find fabulous new ideas to keep wine drinkers healthy, happy, and free from headaches. Here's all you need to know about sulfite levels and the wonder of wine.
What Are Sulfites?
Before we do a deep dive into the importance of low sulfite wine it first helps to understand what the heck sulfites are anyway and why winemakers may be seeking alternative paths from branch to bottle.
Sulfites are a biproduct of the fermentation process in winemaking.
These natural compounds of sulfur dioxide show up as a natural byproduct of the yeast fermentation process. But even beyond the naturally occurring amounts of sulfites that show up, some winemakers add extra sulfites as part of the winemaking process as they help slow down the chemical reaction that can cause wines to go bad.
In short, sulfites act as a preserver for wine.
Winemakers have been using sulfites in wine since way back, even as far as Ancient Greece and Rome when it was believed they would burn sulfur inside wine vessels to cut down on the risks of oxidation and the wine going bad. Even now, in the modern world of wine production, a dash of sulfur is added to stop premature oxidization and the wine turning vinegary.
Why Drink Wine Without Sulfites?
While sulfites in wine aren't really anything to worry about and certainly aren't a concern for your health and wellbeing, those with a sulfite allergy or sulfite sensitivity may want to try and shop for low sulfite wines instead.
It's kind of impossible to find a wine that is completely sulfite free as they are a naturally occurring part of the process. Still, that doesn't mean that you can't shop around for wines that come without any extra sulfites added.
Finding a wine that solely has sulphites caused by the naturally occurring process can make your wine-binging experience less of a headache.
For those who have a sulfite sensitivity, you may experience asthma-like symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, skin inflammation, and gastro upsets.
Even beyond the sensitivity of the human body, some winegrowers who are keen to reduce the level of sulfites in their wines are choosing to do so because they believe sulfites can impact the delicate taste and aroma of the wine. Some winegrowers believe that when there's an aim for the sulfites to be reduced, the natural taste and aroma of the wine has a chance to shine through. The end result is a wine that is carefully crafted to express the bounty of the vineyard, region, and country from which it comes.
So whether for a more pleasing palate or for sensitivity sake, win that comes with only natural sulfites can be a beautifully beneficial thing indeed.
Best Sulfite Free Wines For This Holiday Season
From a tiny hamlet in the Sonoma Mountains, this small batch winery works wonders when curating sulfite free organic wines. A pure passion for nature and a deep understanding of California’s land ensures that Coturri make beautiful blends of dry farmed wines.
Where to get it: Coturri Winery
Usual Red Blend
Single serve bottles delivered right to your door and that’s not the only reason to fall head over heels for the Usual Wines brand. Paving the way with their small batch vintage red, you can expect a solid cocoa, cassis, and cherry delight that coats the tongue and comes free from any added nasties.
Price: $48 for six glasses
Where to get it: Usual Wines
Frey Vineyards Viognier
An award winner that wont break the bank, for years Frey Vineyards have been perfecting the art of bountiful organic, vegan, and sulfite free bottles. This Viognier is ever lively without tripping into acidity but instead manages to strike that balance between creamy, soft, and full of texture.
Where to get it: Frey Wine
2016 Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon Beaujolais
Who doesn’t go starry eyed for French wines? Especially when they are curated by a true pioneer of the organic sulfite free movement. Spicy and robust yet in the most sensational of subtle ways, The Beaujolais is as complex and detailed as a long and luscious novel.
Where to get it: Booboo London Wine
FAQ About Wine Without Sulfites
What wine does not have sulfites?
For those looking to avoid sulfur in wine, you may want to check the label of every bottle that piques your interest. Wine without added sulfites may have the term NSA on the label which stands for No Sulfites Added. Keep your eyes peeled for organic winery bottles. For those looking to reduce the imprint on sulfites in wine then it's also worth remembering that white wine tends to contain more sulfites than red wine.
What are the side effects of sulfites in wine?
As mentioned, it's not necessarily a fact that sulfites in wine are bad news but for those who have a sensitivity or allergy, it can ruin your wine club experience. One of the main reasons to explore another option when it comes to wine that doesn't contain sulfites is to enjoy the natural aroma, flavor, and balance of the grapes, and to immerse yourself in the world of natural tasting organic wines.
Does Trader Joe's sell sulfite free wine?
One of the great things about the rise in NSA wine is that these days you don't need to search high and low or join a fancy wine club to get your sulfite free fix. Neighborhood stores and supermarkets like Trader Joe's even sells a sulfite free red wine that is completely organic.
Is all organic wine sulfite free?
Yep! To be certified as organic, the wine must embrace organic farming techniques which means no additives - including no added sulfites.
Can you remove sulfites from wine?
If you have a bottle of wine that you love but you want to cut out the sulfite content then there is a home method that can cut down on the sulfite count in your wine. A drop of Hydrogen Peroxide. Hydrogen Peroxide works by naturally oxidizing sulfites by turning it into Hydrogen Sulfate which doesn't cause quite the same problems that sulfites are known for.
If you don't feel super comfortable with the idea of dropping a bathroom cabinet product into your pricey bottle of wine then you can also buy tailored products on the market that is designed to do it for you without the risk of bringing bitterness to your beautiful bottle.
What alcohol is high in sulfites?
While red wine seems to get the bad rap for having more sulfites it is actually white wine that comes with a higher sulfite count as it tends to be a sweeter variety. Cask wine is also said to have more sulfites than bottled wine.
How long does wine without sulfites last?
Now we know that sulfites are added to wine to help with the preservation process it stands to reason that organic wine labels or those made up solely of natural ingredients won't sit as long as a wine that contains sulfites. Once organic wine has been cracked open you probably have about three days before it starts to take a turn. On average white wine can last up to a week and red wine can max out at five days. One of the main warning signs that your wine has turned is a musty or vinegary smell, another is a brownish color or any cloudiness.
How do you make sulfite free wine?
It may be impossible to make wine completely sulfite free (as it naturally occurs as part of the process) but that doesn't mean that you are doomed to drink wine with added sulfites. Taking the time to find low sulfite wines or bottles that only have natural sulfites can keep your wine just as nature intended it.
Is it better to drink organic wine?
Just like organic foods, it stands to reason that organic wine is a better choice. Organic wine grapes tend to be richer with antioxidants and free from any chemicals, additives, and pesticides that can have a knock-on effect, not only on the taste but on the body too. Not only is organic wine better for your person, but it is also better for the environment as organic grapes take less water and don't cause any harmful toxins to run into the landscape or local ecosystem as part of the irrigation process. In short, organic wine is a win win.
What are your thoughts on sulfite free wines? Share your story and your favorite bottles with us in the comments and we will be sure to load up our order cart.
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