Sulphites in wine causes more debate amongst wine makers and consumers than almost anything else. Addition of sulphur is used in wine to stabilise it, keep it fresh tasting and stop it from tasting like vinegar. Sulphites occur naturally in wine – and have been used since roman times to preserve the flavour of wine. The removal of sulphur can drastically alter the flavour of wine and reduce its shelf life considerably due to microbial instability.
However, some people have an allergic reaction to sulphites and they have been known to cause headaches, sneezing, coughing and a general feeling of grogginess in those affected. Unfortunately, this is often due to modern conventional large scale winemaking which uses much larger than necessary quantities of the chemical to ensure stability. Biodynamic and Natural wine contains less than half the amount of SO2 permitted in conventional wine under EU law. Many natural wines will contain even lower levels than permitted and some have no sulphur at all added to the wine.
What you’ll find on a low/no sulphur wine is that some flavours are quite complex. If you find you can’t drink wine with added sulphites – embrace it and enjoy the natural and sometimes surprising flavours.
At Seven Cellars, we always choose wine that is made well and most of our wine has lower than supermarket standard sulphur anyway, even if it doesn’t say so on the label. If you have ever had a bag of salad from the supermarket, you are eating salad that has been exposed to sulphur as the bag is injected before sealing to keep the salad from degrading and oxidising. You’ll notice how the salad quickly loses its freshness after opening – this is because the sulphur escapes when you’ve opened it. Most of our wines have no more sulphur than a bag of salad. If you’re concerned, try decanting it – expose it to the air before drinking it to blow off any sulphur that had been added on bottling and see if this helps.