I have felt compelled to write this after listening to friends, family and media links directing me to the latest craze in prevention of the dreaded “Hangover”.
This craze in reducing our wine hangovers, involves purchasing a magical and whimsical device which claims to remove all sulphites from our wine. This in turn provides us with wonderfully clear heads the following morning and for those of us who suffer regularly from the dreaded “wine head” no more popping paracetamol and ibuprofen.
Unfortunately, I have yet to see statistically significant data to support the claims of these devices and that they do either of the following:
1. remove ALL levels of SO2 from the wine
2. prevent the hangover.
What exactly are sulfites and how did they get in your wine? Whitney Adams is answering these questions and more in her video on Wine Science.
In winemaking SO2 is used for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties to ensure our wines retain their fresh fruit flavours whilst also preventing oxidation and unwanted bacterial involvement. The SO2 levels used are low, and developing a reaction to these levels are highly unlikely. There are situations however where some people have a genuine SO2 allergy, more commonly found in asthmatics.
SO2 and wine? In #winemaking SO2 is used for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties to ensure our wines retain their fresh fruit flavours whilst also preventing oxidation. CLICK TO TWEET
Sulphur dioxide is literally everywhere. It is all around us, in the atmosphere, the soil, and even in the food we consume. When we look at the levels involved in winemaking, they are stringently controlled by law and need to fall below 150mg/L PPM (Parts per million) for Red wines and 200mg/L for dry whites and Rose wine. Sweeter wines have a limit of 300mg/L. Important to appreciate when compared with a bag of dried fruit, containing more SO2 levels than the upper limit permitted in winemaking.
Therefore the limited levels of sulphites in your wines are very unlikely to have any effect on you as your body will easily process them. However should you wish to reduce your SO2 exposure further, source your wines from Biodynamic and organic wineries where they engage in very low SO2 usage levels and avoid drinking botrytised and late harvest wines which will be closer to the upper limit due to the natural sugar content.
Removing sulphites from your wine? SO2 in #wine is not always a bad thing! It ensures the wine retains its complex fruit and flavour structure, and your body easily processes the limited levels of sulphites. CLICK TO TWEET
If you are looking for more information on organic wine and wine making options make sure you read our blog ‘Why I am convinced biodynamic is better than convertional, organic, or “natural”‘ by highly decorated wine professor Kevin Gagnon.
Maybe you’ve tried a sulphur and aerating device and feel it’s worked for you? That’s great if it has. Alternatives to try also include using a decanter or simply swirling the wine in your glass. This will have a similar effect by allowing the wine maximum exposure to oxygen and releasing some of the unbound SO2 molecules.
Remember SO2 in wine is not always a bad thing. It ensures the wine retains it’s complex fruit and flavour structure for our consumption. However, if you would like to read more about the effect of oxygen on wine we recommend you read our most popular blog thus far on wine preservation, called ‘Don’t throw away that leftover wine‘.
Have you ever tried or considered removing sulphites from your wine? Leave your vote below and see how other readers have voted. Or perhaps you would like to share your opinion on the subject? Then know the comments are open for you to share your thoughts.
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About the author: I’m Leah, Irish and live in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne. As well as wine, my other hobbies include Snowboarding, downhill mountain biking and travelling to as many destinations as possible . I have 2 small sleep thieves who keep me and my partner busy and a golden retriever who enjoys taking us for regular walks along our rugged coastline.I run a small company called Whispering Wine providing bespoke wine tasting events to the private and corporate client. I work with restaurants on food and wine matching and enjoy the opportunities this gives me.
Follow Leah on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. And check out her website at www.whisperingwines.com.