The lowdown on Sulphur

December 05, 2016

The lowdown on Sulphur

Those little words “Contains Sulphites” on the bottom of a label often stir up concern. What’s even more confusing is that Australia is one of the only countries (along with US) that requires bottles to be labelled as such.  

Are sulphites in wine bad for you?

Not necessarily. Contrary to popular belief, sulphites aren’t the cause of red wine headaches (although there are always exceptions to any rule).

Anywhere between 5% and 10% of people with asthma will have a sensitivity to sulphur (hence the need to include this information on labels).  Increasingly, the inclusion of sulphur is being linked to a number of health problems, anything from migraines to swelling.  It's most prevalent, however, in processed foods.

sulphates in food

How much sulphur is in wine?

It depends on a number of variables i.e. how the wine is produced to decisions on wine colour can vary sulphite levels. It's not uncommon to see ranges from no-added sulphur (10-40 PPM) to about 350 PPM.

Even still, compared to processed foods identified in the above chart, many dry red wines have around 50 PPM.

Without embarking on a science lesson, at Ghost Wines we choose wines with good acid levels.  What does that mean?  Essentially, you need less sulphur to preserve the wine therefore our wines have higher acid levels.  This means that our Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc and Sparkling have a crisper, cleaner finish.

    Additionally, our wines are on the drier side with less sugar added.  This means, as a customer, you get wine with natural flavours without huge amounts of sulphur affecting your body.
    Remember: the sweeter the wine, the more sulphur is present (to prevent it from turning).

    What's the point of sulphur in wine?

    Blame the Romans.  They found it stopped their wine turning to vinegar when using sulphur candles. Essentially It stopped the bacteria and yeast growing.

    We hope this helps you make some smarter choices when choosing your next bottle of vino.


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