Wine Sulphite Ratings
It is very important to understand the whole issue surrounding sulphites, and the severe damage they can do to our health. Mass produced wines are full of artificial sulphites and other chemicals - more than 80 different chemical additives are permitted in standard wines, and even EU certified Organic wines are permitted to contain 44 different chemical additives and a large amount of sulphites. This chemical cocktail can be very detrimental to our health.
However, sulphite free wines and those with only small amounts of sulphites are actually extremely beneficial healthwise. They contain NATURAL anti oxidants which help neutralise free radicals in the human body, and are very effective at reducing the risks of cancer, heart disease (the UK's biggest cause of death), stroke, dementia, Parkinson's Disease and a whole host of other illnesses by as much as 50%.
There is great confusion surrounding the issue so I'll briefly expalin the main points of interest here, then you can move on to read about it all in more detail.
Firstly small amounts of natural sulphites occur in wine and these are completely harmless. However, in factory produced wines large quantities of artificial sulphites are added primarily as a preservative although they perform other functions as well. The basic job of these sulphites is to hunt out rogue oxygen in the wine before it can react and spoil the wine. This is called the FREE sulphur (sulphite). However, much of this will react with oxygen and other substances such as sugars in the wine and become BOUND sulphur - this is inert and will not trigger an allergic reaction although it will cause headaches and hangover in large quantities. As much of this free sulphur becomes bound more sulphur has to be added to remain free to hunt out the remaining oxygen and impurities.
It is the free sulphur which triggers an allergic reaction in sensitive people. Unfortunately, driven down by price, the wine found on our high streets is such poor quality these days that more and more artificial preservatives are required as the base wine is badly made from low grade fruit. As a result the vast majority of these high street brands are full of masses of artificial additives - if you knew what was in these bottles you wouldn't drink them!
We don't stock any wines of this low quality. While we do offer some cheap and cheerful wines, even these are of a much higher grade with less additives than high street wines. We specialise in quality wines with very low amounts of additives, and also in wines without any additives whatsoever. While these are fantastic wines, they aren't to everybody's taste initially as they're quite different in style to the chemicalled wines most people are used to drinking. There are no artificially enhanced aromas or flavours, just natural flavours of the grapes. They take a little adjusting to but are well worth the effort. Once you've moved over to them you will find it very difficult to drink wines full of chemicals again.
Wherever possible we are publishing the free sulphur content of our wines. The Total sulphur content is relatively unimportant as it is the free sulphur which triggers the allergy but all our wines low in free sulphur are automatically low in total sulphur as well. It isn't always possible to publish free sulphur details though. It is only possible for hand made wines produced on a small scale. Mass produced wines often have different sulphur levels from batch to batch even for fruit from the same vintage, and producers don't know how much sulphur they will need to add till the end of the process.