Why Does Wine Contain Sulfites?

Sulfites are natural compounds produced during fermentation.

They are found in a variety of food sources, including black tea, peanuts, eggs, and fermented foods and drinks.

Sulfites are also commonly added to soft drinks, juices, jams, sausages, chips, and dried or pickled fruits and vegetables to slow spoilage and prevent discolouration. All of these foods have higher levels of sulfites than wine.

It is rare for someone to be allergic to sulphites. However, sulphites can cause allergy-like symptoms in people with asthma, an estimated 1 to 2% of the population.


Wine headaches?

Sulfites are sometimes blamed for wine headaches, especially in red wines.

As higher amounts of sulfites are in the foods mentioned above, and red wine typically has fewer sulfites than white wine, they are unlikely to be the cause.


Avoiding headaches?

There is no clear evidence on the cause of headaches, two potential reasons are histamines and tannins.

Histamines are naturally found on grape skins. Due to the different production methods of white, rosé and red wines, there are more histamines in red wines.

Tannins are found more in darker and thicker skinned grapes and darker red wines.


Avoiding sulfites?

Red wines, wines with higher tannins and higher alcohol content, as they need less added sulfites to help preserve them.