What Are Sulphites?

Craig Paskett
18th April 2020

Preservatives are widely used in winemaking for their antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Sulphites, commonly known as Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), is the compound used to prevent oxidization and maintain a wine’s freshness.

Sulphites are naturally occurring compounds found in the majority of wines which inhibit microbial growth. You may have noticed the “contains sulphites” reference on wine labels. Winemakers’ are required to advise if they have used them by law as a small percentage of people have sulphite allergies. The primary reason winemakers add artificial SO2 compounds is to preserve the wine for longer.

Sulphite warning on the back of a wine bottle

Below is a list of common misunderstandings about Sulphites in Wine.

“Organic & Bio-dynamic Wine Is Sulphite Free.”

This is not true. Organic wine may contain between 10-40 parts per millilitre, known as PPM. In order to be certified organic, a wine must not contain any added sulphites above this level. 

“Red Wine Is Higher In Sulphites Than White Wine.”

Red wines need less added SO2 as they are higher in tannins than white wine. Skins, seeds and stems contain tannins. These act as natural antioxidants and preservatives which reduce the need to add sulphites. In fact, while European regulations allow up to 210 ppm in conventional white wine, the limit for red wine is only 160 ppm.

The residual sugar and acidity of the wine help determine the amount of sulphide that is needed. Dryer wines with more natural acidity will tend to be lower in sulphites. Sweet wines and dessert wines, on the other hand, are higher in sulphites.

“Sulphites In Wine Cause Headaches”

The so-called “red wine headache” is definitely a real thing. Although white wine is higher in sulphites than red wine, it is less likely to cause a headache. That suggests that it’s probably something else in red wine that’s responsible for the notorious red wine headache. This includes histamines, tyramine and tannins, not to mention the alcohol itself which causes dehydration.

How To Remove Sulphites In Your Wine

The Ullo wine purifier claims to remove sulphites from wine, restoring wine to its natural preservative-free state. Special filters are made from super porous polymers, removing the SO2 from your wine. Watch the video below to see how it works.

How to use the Ullo Wine Purifier

Wine Drops are another product which can help anyone who suffers an allergic reaction to sulphites when drinking wine. Each drop oxidises any preservatives in the wine and quickly reacts with the sulphites to neutralise them.

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