Sulfur Dioxide-Sulfites in Wine

Sulfites in Wine

Sulfites in wine

Sulfites or Sulfur Dioxide, the most used preservative in winemaking, is one of the most misunderstood wine topics.  Some producers make false claims about sulfites.  They cite unproven claims about wine consumption as the cause for poor health, allergic reactions, and hangovers. Although we do not use SO2 in the production of our wines, we feel it’s important to minimize confusion and maintain transparency about our decisions regarding this ‘hot topic’.

 First and foremost, SO2 is naturally occurring and a natural byproduct of the winemaking process. To demonstrate this we have included our lab analysis provided to us by the TTB (the agency that governs wine labeling in the U.S.), below. These analyses show the levels of sulfur dioxide in our wines. 

Do Sulfites in wine cause headaches, hangovers, and allergic reactions?

“When I drink wine, I get headaches.” “I don’t feel good the next day after drinking wine.” “Is it the sulfites in wine that cause me to feel this way?” These are just some of the questions and statements we hear often, on this topic. The truth, dried fruit typically contains more ppm of sulfur dioxide than most wines on the shelf. If dried fruit does not make your face flush or give you a headache, then you’re probably not allergic to sulfites.

There is a small percentage of the population in the world that is allergic to sulfites. If you are not one of those unlucky few, then it’s probably not the reason you feel a little ‘worse for wear’ the day after drinking it. The most likely culprit is one of two things. A lot of wine that is mass produced has high levels of sugar, and wine contains alcohol. When we consume too much sugar or too much alcohol, we tend not to feel so great. If you drink too much of anything alcoholic, you might end up with a hangover.

Our Wines and why we dont use sulfites

Sans Wine Co. chooses not to use sulfites or other preservatives in our winemaking processes.

To leave out, remove or make any claims surrounding sulfites, other than the government required ‘contains sulfites’ on a wine label, wineries must request or apply for a sulfite waiver from the TTB. A wine that qualifies for a sulfite waiver must contain less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur dioxide. To qualify, a wine to be marked as ‘Organic Wine’, it must contain less than 100 parts per million of sulfur dioxide. Our wines contain in the range of two to four ppm of naturally occurring sulfites.

We have included our most recent analyses below. As a result, we can either leave out any claims about sulfites on our labels, or we can use the phrase, “no added sulfites, contains only naturally occurring sulfites”. Conventional, sustainable, or otherwise not ‘organic’ wines are allowable by law to contain 350 ppm total SO2. You will not find any added to our wines.

We don’t make any false health claims surrounding the use of SO2 in wine. We know you will get hungover if you drink enough of our products or any alcohol for that matter.  Sans Wine Co. makes wonderful wines without any preservatives. This is due to the benefits of our fermentation methods and the stable environment of our wine packaging. You are exposed to enough chemicals and preservatives in our lives already. You need any more from us.

2021 sulfite waivers

Jake Stover