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Re: Wine and Sulfites [Re: Peter May] #355562 05/07/09 02:09 PM
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NateBenjamin Offline
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As a commercial wine maker I thought I would put my 2 cents in. Sulfites are part of the fermentation process. If no additional sulfites are added, the ppm will be 10 to 30 ppm. Organic or Natural Wines contain sulfites. Only wine with a certification from the BATF, after extensive testing, may state on the bottle "Contains no Sulfites". We add sulfites to preserve the wine during filtering and bottling. Sulfites are regulated by the BATF (TTB) to less then 300ppm in wine. The average salad bar contains more than 2 times that amount.

Most small wine makers make every effort to be under 100ppm, so the wine maintains it's natural taste.

If you are concerned about sulfites in your wine. Buy local, get to know your winery, and don't buy mass produced cheap wine.



Re: Wine and Sulfites [Re: NateBenjamin] #355563 05/07/09 03:07 PM
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Peter May Offline
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Thanks for an informative post.

I've heard from another winemaker that all that is proved by a test that shows a wine contains no sulfites is that the test is not sensitive enough to find the sulfites.

I also heard that testing is on an 'honour' basis and that the BATF doesn't check for themselves

Re: Wine and Sulfites [Re: Peter May] #355596 05/10/09 01:21 PM
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Harold Keith Offline
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Peter

No laboratory test can ever definitively guarantee the 100% absence of any compound. All equipment, all tests, all procedures have limits of accuracy. A definition of what is meant by a phrase 'does not contain any x' is always required that takes into account the technological limits of the tests employed. It might mean 'below 5 parts per million' or 'below 2 parts per trillion' or whatever, but it can never be '100% absolutely zero'.

Australian law requires that wine containing added sulfites MUST be so labeled (preservative 220). Many other countries do not have this rule. I don't believe France does, for example. This means that unless a bottle is Australian (or you know of a similar rule in the country of origin), in the absence of information to the contrary, you must assume that it does contain added sulfites. For the simple reason that almost all wines from all countries do.

This brings up another point. While it is true that almost all wines contain added sulfites, I think WineIntro.com's assertion that wines without added sulfites are extremely short term propositions is very simplistic and in many cases simply wrong. My experience, and I believe the experience of dozens of wine makers in Australia is that this is just not true.

Two examples that I have personal experience with are Jasper Hill Emily's Paddock Shiraz / Cabernet Franc, easily one of the top 5 wines from Australia, and its sister Georgia's Paddock Shiraz which is certainly in the top 25 wines from Australia. I have purchased a case or so of these wines every year for over 20 years.

Jasper Hill is not only a strong advocate of bio-dynamics but as far as I can tell none of their wines contain added sulfites. They do not bear the Australian preservative 220 notice and this means they would be operating illegally if they did. Now I don't claim to know how Ron Laughton at Jasper Hill avoids the spoilage for which other wine makers add sulfites. But I do know that I am currently working my way through my 1997 Emily's, and I assure you they are in magnificent shape and drinking beautifully after 12 years.

Re: Wine and Sulfites [Re: Harold Keith] #355599 05/10/09 02:44 PM
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Peter May Offline
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Originally Posted by Harold Keith
Many other countries do not have this rule. I don't believe France does, for example.


France does. EU introduced the sulphites added rule wef Nov 2006. Now many EU wines have this nonsensical message in 10 languages, plus the equally nonsensical pregant woman sign. And more warnings are to come...

As always, what is on the label depends on the requiremnts of the country the wine is sold in.

Re: Wine and Sulfites [Re: Peter May] #355604 05/10/09 04:16 PM
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Harold Keith Offline
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OK, that's good (except for the 10 languages part of course).

I don't think that declaring additives is nonsensical, even if sulfites are trivial, but I do agree about the pregnant woman warning sign. Or the 'Contents are hot' warning labels on take-away coffee cups, or ...


Re: Wine and Sulfites [Re: Harold Keith] #355607 05/11/09 09:32 AM
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Peter May Offline
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... or may contain nuts on a packet of peanuts

Re: Wine and Sulfites [Re: Peter May] #355676 07/01/09 05:03 AM
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That's very interesting, that wineries are making long-aging wines without any sulfites at all. There are many medical doctors out here in New England who have made this issue their obsession. They deliberately do not use sulfites - but they also adamantly insist that a wine without sulfites added to it cannot reliably age without danger of degradation. They say that there is no winemaking technology currently out there that can guarantee that survival. They are coming at it from a biological / medical point of view.

It sounds like I should interview the winemakers at Jasper Hill ...


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Re: Wine and Sulfites [Re: Lisa Shea] #355689 07/02/09 03:39 PM
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loza Offline
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sulphites occur naturally in the wine no?

Re: Wine and Sulfites [Re: loza] #355691 07/02/09 06:55 PM
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Yes, at a low level. So in essence one part of the discussion hinges on whether people who are sensitive to sulfites should be sensitive to that natural occurring amount, or whether there is a middle ground where they are fine with the natural occurring sulfites but have a reaction when you add a lot more into the mix.


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Re: Wine and Sulfites [Re: Peter May] #356330 01/14/10 11:54 PM
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Funny thing ... turns out my wife is allergic to sulfonamides. Her doctor recently suggested she stay away from red wines, but that white wines may be ok.

I wonder, is that because red wines are better with aging, and the sulfur aids in the aging process ... where as white wines are not aged as routinely, and therefore will likey have less sulfur?

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