« WINE WITHOUT SULFITES DOES NOT EXIST »
I went to talk with a person owning a website and a blog, and pretending to sell wine without any sulfites ! He even wrote to me that it was not detectable in laboratories, and also a « very good » winemaker told him that some exogenous yeast was able to consume sulfites into wine. So interested about it I went more into researches and investigate.
Produce wine without the addition of sulfites during the winemaking process,I say YES you can but saying that a wine is 100% sulfites free ? Below 7 mg / l, no one knows accurately how to measure with conventional techniques which are not too expensive. However, you can request a review by mass spectrometry, for example, then you’ll be sure but you will need to spend a lot of money.
Let’s get back on track… Few months back, I already wrote a post about sulfur and wine ! And food as it goes ! But it was more scientist part I guess ! Also, Luiz Alberto made a nice post about sulfites few weeks back.
So there follows a bit more concrete work, words and facts. I just would like once and for all that people stop spreading « balls » about wine or sulfites.
All wines will contain naturally a very little of sulfites whatever it is – in different forms. Even in completely treated or worked with sulfur, the wine might present a low percentage of sulfites, that moderate cost laboratories test will not detect.
Some Yeasts during fermentation, either indigenous or exogenous, will produce many chemical components and among them will be sulfites often (SO2 – sulphur dioxyde – or whatever you want to name it ). Fermenting yeasts found on grape skins generate naturally often but not in all cases sulfites, about 6 to 40 ppm (parts per million) And Some exogenous yeasts will consume some sulfites also!
Really interested to dig deeper in the subject I contacted the WineMaker, who is JEAN LOUIS DENOIS , Artisan vigneron en Haute Vallée de l’Aude, to get more details and explanations
HERE FOLLOWS MORE INFORMATIONS FROM THE PRODUCER who was really polite and gave a quick answer back, WITH SOME LABORATORIES NOTES ALSO:
His email that I translated in English
Thank you for your interesting questions and it would actually broaden the debate on the web and blogs wines nature to change some affirmations! Feel free to take my comments if you wish. I do not agree on the fact that yeasts produce sulfites “anyway!” who said that?
What scientific evidence …? I think it is a habit that yeasts produce SO ² and are transported on the web including This is what some say producers’ wines nature “for different reasons (I do not know: sometimes through ignorance or may also be a small contribution to cover). Indigenous yeasts produce it: yes, it is true, and sometimes much, which is why they are dangerous unknown ….
Yes some selected strains consume SO ², they have even been selected for this purpose, one well known: D 47 of the ICV can consume up to 50 to 60 mg in its metabolism. It can be used in some cases - very damaged harvests, …. but it never happens to us in the south! Regarding my wines vinified entirely without sulfites, the wine in the implementation, we have done extensive research at different stages and did not find anything below 7 mg, the threshold analysis can be far measured.
The law requires disclosure of “Contains sulfites” above 10 mg / l, so we’re abstained. I said “no sulfites” on my wine because I’ve never been and labs have not found either, it’s easy! Ppm and mg / l are identical measures! (Mg is one thousandth of a gram!). Ppm is used more in the English-speaking world and essentially mg / l in France.
Here is another one of my response winemakers board (ICV) on the subject:
Here are the results of my research: You must use one of the following three: – Contains sulphites – Contains sulfur dioxide – Contains sulfur dioxide (name “scientific” SO2, which I do not believe it yesterday). If the content of these compounds in wine is more than 10 mg / l (SO2 analysis precise enough to prove it).
The problem is that sulphites actually include several molecules (including SO2) that do not typically dose.
E-220: sulfur dioxide
E-221: Sodium Sulfite
E-222: Sodium Bisulfite
E-223 sodium disulphite
E-224: Potassium disulphite
E-226: Calcium Sulfite
E-227: calcium hydrogen sulphite
E-228: Potassium hydrogen sulphite
Can obviously ignore the presence of other compounds in the wine and reduce the amount of sulfites (even if the term is inappropriate) to the total SO2 (SO3 -, HSO3-, H2SO3 which are free SO2 + SO2 combined). I have found no information indicating a detection method for measurements <9 mg / l SO2 T. Most wine producers “without sulfites” actually use the words “no sulfites added” to cover possible presence of a natural (mainly due to fermentation). The domaine ……… that produces this type of wine for 3 years using the words “no sulfites” and very big on the label. It has been checked several times by fraud (obviously this kind of classic wine) without ever having been molested. I did not find any info to say the words “no sulfites” is prohibited. I think the only requirement is to affix “contains sulfites” if the content is SO2T> 10 mg / l. This is what I have now, on hand, but I urge you, if you are interested in reading about the great book of the Alsatian winemaker Arnaud Immelé: “The great wines without sulfites” which is a full point on the subject and twists blow to many unfounded or erroneous information circulating on the web about wine called “natural.” I confess that serious producers who have a classical wine are sometimes exasperated and of course shocked by what is, and is drunk and says it is time to actually prove that wine can have bio and natural pleasure and without flaws. I wish you a good reading and remain at your disposal for any other questions I could answer.
Cordially JEAN LOUIS DENOIS, Artisan winemaker Haute Vallée de l’Aude
Little Extra Note by this very kind producer:
Mention “no sulfites” is possible but must be below 10 mg / l total N ². Those who put on the label without making analysis play Russian roulette.
But about a website selling online or a website producer saying that wine is without sulfites is illegal if there is no mention on the label, invoice generator or analysis to prove it.
Information given by an inspector DRCCRF …
About the yeasts:
Please find attached a summary of the different yeasts tabeau ICV, with their characteristics. I highlighted the important points that are behavior compared to SO2 and nutrition strains. Indeed, the use of yeast sulfur atoms in a part of their metabolism and each strain will have a different behavior. Some go to “consume” (0 to -30 mg / L), others “produce” (0-40 mg / L), and others have a neutral balance. This behavior implies control parameters such as FA temperatue or nitrogen nutrition, this is why I said the strains that are more or less-demanding nitrogen. The amounts of available nitrogen are seeing at the moment in the parameters of wort. Digging Deeper – Little More Data and Infos about the well known D47 yeast:
CAN WE GUARANTEE A WINE IS REALLY 100% SULFITES FREE ?
SO TECHNICALLY AS THIS HONEST AND KIND PRODUCER SAYS WE ” 7MG IS THE THRESHOLD ANALYSIS WE CAN MEASURE. SO IF I UNDERSTAND CORRECTLY UNDER 7MG WE ARE NOT ABLE TO QUANTIFY IT. AKA “WINE WITHOUT SULFITES DOES NOT EXIT!”
Below 7 mg / l, no one knows accurately how to measure with conventional techniques which are not too expensive. However, you can request a review by mass spectrometry, for example, then you’ll be sure but you will need to spend a lot of money.
I can say I never used made and the analysis proves, it should be enough! After that, it’s like organic, can we guarantee a vine, a leak or a vegetable has never received any synthetic product (even spray, waste, wind) ?
Can we ensure that the meat does not contain traces of horse meat that would transited the chain (I channels)
What interest? It is a voluntary, no analysis of Criminology.
Sulfites are allowed up to 150 or 250 mg / l depending on the type of wine.
When you can not find or 7 or below 5 mg / l., What is at stake to go further?
Addition of all manner below 10 mg / l has no interest, no point in queen, so no interest in putting a little bit. It is 20/25 mg or nothing!
In any case, I can say we never put a drop of SO ² in my two wines recently placed on the market “Mes Vignes de SaintPaul,” who have never seen barrels highlighted, and steel steel were disinfected.
JEAN LOUIS DENOIS
My conclusion !
SO YES WE ARE NOT OBLIGATE TO USE SULFUR, TREAT WINE WITH SULFITES, BUT THERE MIGHT BE A CHANCE THAT THE YEASTS WHO PROCESSED FERMENTATION RELEASED SOME SULFITES, AND NOWADAYS REGULAR TESTS ARE NOT ABLE TO DETECT SULFITES UNDER 6MG.
Free & Bound:
Low amount of SO2 added to the wine will be effective as an anti-oxidant. So a part will protect the wine (free) and the rest (bound – to much SO2 ) will mix with other elements, to create new chemicals components. « Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed » as Antoine Lavoisier, French Chemist.
The part lost into the wine is said to be bound, the active part to be free. So the best part for sure is the active which are the free ones !
Often Red Wines, won’t really need to get sulfites added since, they contain naturally much anti oxydants components like phenols, polyphenols and tannins, contained in the grapes itself (mostly in skin). In opposite White Wines, will oxydize really easier with contact to light, oxygen and natural components. So often will contain more sulfites added. And Sweet Wines will often get more sulfites added since they contain a lot of sugar. People and sulfites Often in wine you will spot it in brand new bottled white wines, and sweet wines in their first years.
And Thanks Wiki for more scientific wine data
Stories and Says:
I have heard many people saying « Oh I’m allergic to sulfites or sulphur », « I get headaches », « it give me bad hangovers» and many other things… Please stop, what stories people need to make up to get conversation thats freaky ! All we can say it is that sulfur used today is a derivated and transformed product from the petro-chemical industry. And used in many products consumed everyday, so please stop blaming the wine.
Sulfur is used in various forms in the wine viticulture to combat certain diseases such as powdery mildew, and in wine as a solution of sulfur dioxide, for his role antiseptic , antibacterial, antilevurien, antioxidant. This additive, also known as E220 or SO2, has a preservative for wine as for certain foods (mustard, preserves, etc …). Here is a written Alain Dejean, in Sauternes vineyard: “(…) The sulfur dioxide, with unique properties and benefits are widely accepted, is still a chemical, from several forms of extractions or heavy metals, oil, coal or gas chemical recovery amalgam of sodium and potassium, from acid tar or the like, such as nitration acids, alkali metals, magnesium, strontium It appears that the recovery of sulfur dioxide with 2 families used in winemaking at different doses, namely: The meta bisulfite Potassium bisulfite ammonium isotopic composition of sulfur dioxide and chemical sulfur dioxide from natural sulfur is not the same, remember that two isotopes are similar in all respects (identical chemical properties), but that is their nuclei differ by a different number of neutrons.
Be aware that it is a chemical, which molecules deviate polarized light to the right (dextrorotatory) causing pollution in the wine and death. Vegetables, fruits and wines are able to use the molecules oriented to the left (levorotatory, energy from heaven) There are also sulfur body pure from the earth’s crust either ore or as volcanic tenth most abundant element in the universe, bearer of all life, living heat, polarity to the right to a free state. Its name comes from the Sanskrit “sulvère” which gave “sulphurium” in Latin. sulfur This is a key mediator between the living formative forces and the physical. Sulfur is almost always linked to proteins in the living, and it is not dissociable phenomena alive. ” We realize that the problem of sulfur in wine is complex, there are many types of sulfur than how to use.
Properties of SO2:
1) anti-bacterial which is used for disinfection of winemaking equipment.
2) anti-ferment capable of blocking alcoholic fermentation in the case of white wines or sweet botrytis wines containing residual sugar. Also used to select yeast in the must before fermentation as “good” yeast alcohol (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) support without the presence of SO2 problem while the “bad” yeasts (as Mycoderma aceti) are inhibited by a low dose. Many wine producers do this.
3) anti-oxidant that allows wine storage for a number of years to avoid degradation. Oxidation threat all wines in general and, more specifically, white wines whose constitution is free of tannins and polyphenols, natural antioxidants. Some regulatory
The current legal maximum permitted doses total SO2 (SO2 SO2 + free combined) are:
160mg / l for red wines without residual sugar (increased to 210mg / l of residual sugar in case> 5g / l)
210mg / l for white wines without residual sugar (increased to 260mg / l of residual sugar in case> 5g / l)
300mg / l for semi-dry white wines (France, Spain, Great Britain)
350mg / l for wines “auslese” and some sweet wines Romanian
400mg / l for sweet wines affected by noble rot (Sauternes, Coteaux du Layon, Quarts de Chaume, Eiswein, Sélection de grains nobles etc …)
185mg / l for quality sparkling wines and 235mg / l for other sparkling.
150mg / l for Crémants
150mg / l for natural sweet wines and fortified wine (increased to 200 mg / l in the case of sugar> 5g / l)
WHAT’s their names?
I guess if you check most packaging of the processed food you buy and consume everyday you will find this little “friends”: Europeans codes relating to sulphites are: E220, E221, E222, E223, E224, E225, E226, E227, E228. Many years back people were not worring that much about it, and nowadays that we get really better science, hygiene, filtrations and so on we use really less S02 than in the past and people make a scandal and big stories around it !
At the levels today , the wines don´t show any dange, except for people who are REALLY ALLERGIC to SO2 – real allergies to sulfites – sulphur are lethal and will cause asthma, severe sudden headaches really painful, vomiting, wheezing, rash, accelerated heart rate, difficulty swallowing, anaphylaxis and seizures. So Now for Less Crap and More Concrete Facts Let’s say more where we find more sulfites than in wine, and you do consume some everyday Yes, it is full of sulfites in most of the processed food ! So leave the wine alone, please badass people ! And stop spreading bad things about it ! Just let it be and maybe check out more what else you drink, what is in your plate & what you consume everyday
WHO are sulfites ?
Sulfites are a group of sulfur-based compounds that sometimes occur naturally and sometimes are added to foods primarily as preservatives. Sulfites, bisulfites, and metabisulfites are the dry chemical forms of the gas, sulfur dioxide
• Sulfur dioxide
• Sodium sulfite
• Sodium bisulfite
• Potassium bisulfite
• Sodium metabisulfite
• Potassium metabisulfite
WHERE to find them ?
Here follows a list of products, most of the time you will find in processed food
• Bakery goods such as cookies, tortillas, waffles, pie/pizza crusts, breads containing dough conditioners
• Condiments such as horseradish, relish, pickles, olives, wine vinegar
• Fresh grapes (sulfites can be used on grapes as a fungicide)
• Dried and glacéed fruit, cherries
• Bottled lemon and lime juice
• Jams and jellies
• Canned and frozen vegetables
• Vegetable juices
• Shredded coconut
• Shrimp, scallops, lobster, crab, clams
• Soy protein products such as tofu
• Processed cheese foods
• Soup, noodle, and rice mixes
• Trail mix
• Potato and tortilla chips
• Dehydrated, pre-cut or peeled potatoes
• Beer, wine, wine coolers, cocktail mixes, hard cider
• Tea concentrates and instant tea
And so on you can extend the list very wide if you need !
Remember: Two ounces of dried apricots, have 10 times the sulfites as a glass of wine. Orange juice processed tend to contain 4 times more sulfites than wine
So a good advice for food, buy fresh products, local, “terroir” products or grow your products as much as you can!
God created water and Man created Wine. Water is for Body, Wine is for Soul.
So please let wine be, change, evolve either on traditions or fashions ways! Let it live and make you happy, and stop saying crap about it ! Drink it !
Cheers #winelover s !