Low sulphur wine = drink soon, enjoy more!
Low sulphur wines are likely to give less hangovers and headaches: the chemicals cannot be good for you. If it seems that some of the cheaper white wines make you sneeze, you may have an allergy or intolerance to sulphur: have you ever wondered why better wines do not? The allergy is not to cheap wines, just the less well made wines. Because of their comparably low sulphur levels, organic wines are likely to be more suitable for those of us who suffer from allergic and intolerant reactions to wine such as asthma, migraine, respiratory and skin disorders etc.
Sulphur occurs naturally in the form of sulphur dioxide or sulphite as part of the fermentation process. Additional sulphur has been added to wine since Roman times as a preservative. Sulphur is used to make wine, both at the grape-crushing stage as a cleansing agent to kill unwanted bacteria and wild yeasts, and to prevent oxidation of the wine. Allowable levels, measured in mg/ litre vary according to the type of wine but typically the maximum permitted in organic wines is about 50% of the non-organic wine limits; most of our wines have significantly less sulphur than the organic wine limits.
We have chosen a selection to feature as our low sulphur wine range. All the low sulphur wines have no added sulphur or a low sulphur content. We do not detail sulphur levels in the wine listings as they are liable to fluctuate naturally from one batch of wine to the next.
Sulphur Dioxide, or E220 as on so many food packets, is permitted under all winemaking standards: it is a preservative and disinfectant. It is added to wine as Potassium Metabisulphate or PMS and is blamed as one of the major causes of hangovers and headaches following wine consumption. Some people have lower thresholds to sulphur than others, and if you’re the former then organic wines are definitely recommended as the governing bodies permit far less sulphur than in other wines. The best organic wine producers try to use much, much less sulphur than this: these are the type of wine producers and growers we represent.
Since 2005 all wine labels must declare, ‘This wine contains Sulphites’. It is sad that they do not have to specify how much as organic wines really do have low sulphur levels.