Which wines contain the most sulfites?


Sulphites are traditionally used in wine because they are antioxidants and antiseptics (among other properties very valuable for the oenologist). They therefore contribute to the good conservation of the wine over time (again, among other benefits).

But more recent research has led to classify sulphites among allergens. Some people are more sensitive to them than others. For the most sensitive people who like to enjoy a glass of wine smiley, good news: there is a wine without added sulphites.

However, sulphites exist in a natural state in all wines. To find out more about how our AOC Buzet wines without added sulfites are made, please refer to the article in the link.

The European Union imposes the inscription on the label (or back label) of the mention: contains sulphites for all wines with sulfur contents higher than 10 mg/l. However, these regulations do not yet oblige producers to mention the amount of SO2 present in their wine. The European Union sets maximum authorized levels of total SO2 (naturally present sulfites and sulfites added by the winemaker). Within the maximum allowed, the use of sulphites depends on the winemaking methods chosen by the winemaker.

Red wines need less added sulfites

Moreover, when one asks the question of which wines contain the most sulphites, it is necessary to specify which types of wines are being compared. Are the wines compared by color (red, rosé, white?); by "type" (still wines, sparkling wines); by labels? etc...

The proportion of added sulphites is generally lower in red wines than in white or rosé wines. Indeed, red wines contain more tannins than white and rosé wines. These tannins play a role in the natural protection of the wine against oxidation. There is therefore less need to "protect" a red wine than a rosé or white wine.

Do organic wines contain less sulphites?

Certain procedures that impose special specifications (the organic label for example) also restrict the addition of sulphites. Thus, for a still red wine, the European Union regulation sets the maximum authorized total SO2 level at 160 mg/l. This rate is lowered to 100 mg/l for a wine from organic farming.

But again, these are maximum limits. It is therefore quite possible that a red wine vinified according to a know-how limiting the addition of sulphites, as we have been doing since 2010, will contain less sulphites than an organic wine produced according to a very classic winemaking process.

Our cooperative integrates environmental and health issues from the vine to the glass. Thus we have proposed wines without added sulphites as early as 2012 and the mastery of this process has allowed us to reduce the total SO2 of our wines well below the limits allowed by European regulations.