Sulphites / SO2 in wine, Low Sulphur Wine

Sulphites in wine is without doubt one of the ‘hot topics’ of the moment. Sulphite is a term that envelops every form of sulphur, and it even occurs as a natural by-product of fermentation. It therefore, is in all wines to some extent.

In truth sulphur dioxide has been used since classical times, a well-meaning yet fundamentally flawed antioxidant (inhibits oxidation), preservative and disinfectant, dispensing with unwanted moulds, yeasts & bacteria. Excessive oxidation ruins wine and yet controlled oxidation, an integral element of the ageing process can bring some much prized ‘added complexity’ to proceedings.

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From the low initial 'organic status' level, we've taken wines which use only 50% of that or less to be in this category. (75mg/litre or less for whites and rosé and 50mg/litre for reds).

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These are the wines with the lowest sulphur levels you will find anywhere. None at all is added, though tiny amounts can be produced as a natural by-product of the fermentation process.

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Thankfully, in these increasingly well-informed, ‘label literate’ times it’s now law to include a ‘contains sulphites’ section on any bottle where there’s over 10 parts per million in the wine. Up to this point (and occasionally over) it’s produced naturally by yeasts as an unavoidable side effect of the fermentation process.

What’s now beyond dispute however is that some sections of society can unwittingly suffer from adverse reactions to sulphur, be that nagging headaches, disconcerting wheeziness, flushing and even a debilitating sense of hangover, even when only a moderate amount of wine has been enjoyed.

The good news is that when compared to most conventional wines (want to play Russian roulette?), all certified organic and biodynamic wines contain lowish levels of sulphites (often between 25-50%) depending on the residual sugar levels. You can be confident, that you will not find an over-sulphured organic wine!

We decided that as with so many aspects of life, that making ‘informed decisions’ is key. This is why we introduced a discreet yet telling LS (low sulphur) icon to our wine list, covering all wines which use 50% or less of their maximum allowed dosage for organic (75mg/litre or less for whites and roses and 50mg/litre or less for reds).