Sulphite-free wine - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

Only wines with less than 10 parts per million of the preservative sulphite are allowed to call themselves 'sulphite free'. This is under half the amount you'd expect in a normal wine without any claims to this purity label.

So what's so great about not adding sulphite? Well sulphite has had a bit of bad reputation in the past for causing many so-called 'red wine headaches'. While it is possible that sulphites could cause an adverse reaction in asthmatics, there is currently no medical resesearch that proves that sulphites cause headaches.

That 'RHW' (red wine headache) is more likely caused by the naturally occuring histamine found in many red wines. Some people lack an enzyme that means they find it hard to digest histamine resulting in a reaction similar to hayfever (where histamine is produced by the body to what it sees as the dangerous pollen invader) – so a runny nose and headache results.

So not having sulphite in wine may help with some wine sales but it is more likely to used as a wine making technique by wine makers who believe it helps unmask the real flavours of their wine – the purity of the fruit flavour in other words.

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