Sulfites are often loathed and can also cause allergies in some people. But for what reason are sulphites still used in the production of wine?
What does sulfite do in wine?
Sulfites are the salts of sulfurous acid H2SO3 and the antimicrobial and antioxidant effects of this substance have been known since the 18th century. Small amounts of sulphites are formed naturally during the alcoholic fermentation of the wine.
But to be sure that the wine has a long shelf life and its color and aromas are preserved, sulfur was added during the production of wine, for example by burning the barrels with sulfur filings.
The effect of sulphites is not only used in wine, sulphites also occur naturally in many other foods (e.g. hard cheese or roasted peanuts) or are added for preservation (especially in ready meals, dried fruit, etc.).
Are wines labeled with sulphites?
The use of sulfur continues to this day, although a clear trend towards more conscious use can already be seen. You must have noticed it when you looked at it label of your wine: The label “Contains sulfites”. Since 2005, there has been a requirement to label sulfites from an amount of 10 mg/l on the wine label. This is because some people are hypersensitive to sulfites and health problems can occur.
However, it is interesting to differentiate between bound and free sulphur. Bound sulfur is bound to the ingredients of the wine and is therefore not harmful. On the other hand, you can smell and taste free sulphur, because it is unbound and therefore superfluous, which can lead to health reactions.
The importance of sulfites cannot be ignored, because who wants a wine that no longer tastes good after a few hours of opening. So anyone who cares about the quality of the wine and the quality requirements of the... Winemaker pay attention, has always made a good choice.