Have you experienced headaches after drinking wine? Sulfites could be to blame; many choose to stay clear unless the wine is organic or European made.
But what exactly are sulfites, and to what extent do wines contain them? And why does wine carry warning labels warning of Sulfites content?
Sulfites play an integral role in winemaking. They prevent oxidation and help preserve quality wines. In food products like dried and glaced fruits, canned vegetables, condiments, sauerkraut/pickled foods, dried potatoes/soup mix mixes, maraschino cherries/frozen shrimp they prevent spoilage/spoilage while increasing shelf life and extending their shelf lives.
Sulfites are generally not harmful to most people, with billions consuming products containing sulfites without experiencing adverse reactions. However, for people with asthma or allergies to sulfites - including breathing difficulty, skin reactions such as hives, and stomach upset - sulfites may cause reactions such as breathing difficulty, skin reactions like hives, headaches due to dehydration and histamine release, as well as headaches from dehydration or alcohol consumption; in most cases these headaches caused by something other than what caused them sulfites instead - such as alcohol consumption or dehydration rather than their consumption!
Sulfites (also referred to as sulfur dioxide) are added to wine to prevent oxidation and keep its yeast alive, otherwise the wine would spoil quickly and become undrinkable. Sulfites are also used as preservatives in dried fruits, cheeses, and canned soups.
US wine bottles must list whether or not their wine contains sulfites on its label; European wines do not. Yet studies show that European wines typically contain equal or even more sulfites than those from the USA.
Sulfites may cause headaches in some individuals, although this is by no means universal. Other factors like histamines, tannins and alcohol could be more likely causes; yet many still claim sulfites contribute to their headaches; hence they opt to avoid wines containing them altogether - there are plenty of French and Italian wines without added sulfites; search organic/biodynamic wine labels as an initial starting point.
Winemakers utilize sulfites in winemaking processes to protect their wines from spoilage or turning to vinegar, and to inhibit bacterial growth, prevent browning and sanitize equipment used during winemaking processes. Grapes contain naturally occurring sulfites which winemakers add during production process.
Some individuals can be sensitive to sulfites found in wine and can experience headaches as a result of drinking it, as the chemical may trigger an allergic response in some individuals.
Sulfites are naturally-occurring compounds found in grape skin and seeds, so Italian white wines like Pinot Grigio and Vermentino tend to contain lower concentrations than other wines; however, some red wines produced in Italy contain a higher level of sulfites - therefore you may notice some red wines have warning labels with "contains sulfites".
Sulfites have recently become a topic of great debate amongst wine drinkers as the market has witnessed a growing interest for wines with lower concentrations of them. Although some perceive sulfites to be harmful to health, sulfites actually serve a necessary function by protecting wines against oxidation and bacteria spoilage, keeping their freshness and flavor.
Sulfite use is ubiquitous across the food industry and can be found in beverages and foods like Coca-Cola, fruit juices, beer, dry potatoes, gravies, syrups, maraschino cherries jams & jellies maple syrup dried apricots & pizza dough - to name but a few!
While excessive consumption of sulfites may lead to headaches in some people, this could also be caused by alcohol, tannin or other natural elements found in wine - not necessarily its sulfites themselves. Indeed, many winemakers who adhere to tradition rather than new trends have opted to reduce sulfite use as part of the process for making great wines.