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Wines without Sulfites 19 Oct '20

Wines without sulfites or sulfite-free wines? The answer is unmistakable: they do not exist. Sulfites are one of the by-products of alcoholic fermentation. Now all wines must undergo an alcoholic fermentation, as it is during the same period that the natural sugars of the grape are transformed into alcohol. Therefore, all wines have sulfites.

You’re thinking ... I could swear I've heard of sulfite-free wine? It's possible. What happens is that the nomenclature "wines without sulfites" is used in a wrong way. In fact, that expression should be corrected for "wines without added sulfites".

 

What are sulfites?

What, after all, are sulfites? As I mentioned above, they are a by-product of fermentation, which exists naturally in fermented foods, such as bread and - of course! - wine. Sulfites are compounds derived from sulfurous, which has sulfur in its formula. In oenology, sulfur dioxide has been used for hundreds of years in wine production. There is even the conviction that it would be used in the days when the Romans were here ...

 

What are sulfites in wine for?

Sulfites serve several functions in a wine. Among them, I highlight the power as a microbial stabilizer, since the sulfur inhibits the growth of microorganisms that can interfere and deteriorate the quality of wines. No less important is its antioxidant power. Since the aging of wines is nothing more than oxidation, sulfurous, ie sulphites, help wines to be better preserved over time.

In reality, wines may not need the addition of sulfites. Natural or minimal intervention wine is proof of this. But it is important to know that wines without added sulfites do not taste the same as conventional wines and that natural wine is far from the taste profile of conventional wines.

Because sometimes the virtue is in the middle, we have come to a type of wine that is neither natural wine nor conventional wine, thanks to the advance in oenology and the wisdom acquired by winemakers. It is a type of wine that is produced using the conventional way of producing wine, but which has no added sulfites in its production process.

 

In this way, an aroma and flavor are obtained that is closer to conventional wines than to natural wine.

 

 

Advantages of sulfite-free wines

Note that this is of interest to anyone who is allergic to sulfites! If you usually have symptoms such as red spots, itching or rashes, sneezing, headaches or even asthma symptoms when drinking wine, you may be allergic to sulfites, or you drank too much. In the first case, know that the amount of this compound found in a wine without the addition of sulfites is small. Therefore, it is perfectly possible that you can drink this type of wine without manifesting such symptoms.

 

Disadvantages of sulfite-free wines

The disadvantage of wines without sulfites is essentially the uncertainty of the path during aging that these wines can have, and here I refer in particular to natural wine. Regarding the wine that the winemaker produces - in which the only difference is the non-use of sulfites - this type of wine certainly has a path that should be more linear, or safer and more predictable, so to speak, during its aging stage, compared to the route of a natural wine.

It's always good to know that we have a choice. And in this case, the choice is yours. Anyway, another secret of the world of wine is revealed. Stays the Knowledge ... because it does not cause allergies and never occupies a place.


Helder Cunha
My life is wine