Sulphite free wine. Rod?

Mrs Bruss seems to have developed just this week a reaction to red wine. Flushing of the area under the eyes. Sulphites seem to be indicated. Any suggestions for a known low sulphite but good quality French red, preferably CDR.

We always buy a few bottles of this sulphite free bio CDR from a local vineyard
It’s sold as a summer wine and we kept it in the fridge during this year’s

40C heatwave .

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Have you tried Purewine Wine Wands for removing sulphites ?

Work for me.


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Thanks Chris. I haven’t looked into removing sulphites yet bit will try that.

Interesting thread. Does removing the sulphates affect the taste in a good way?

I gave up wine a couple of months ago, and that’s a good way to get away from sulphites. :grinning:


Using the Wine Wands I haven’t noticed any detriment to the taste. I wouldn’t class my taste buds as a wine connoisseur though, so improving the taste I wouldn’t necessarily spot an improvement. For me, one Wand will do 2x glasses sufficiently (so 2x per bottle) - so doesn’t increase the cost too much.

Organic and biodynamic wines will either have less or no added sulphites, with the latter generally being stated on the bottle. This is often the case with so-called natural wines as well. Ignore people who say the whole no added sulphite thing is codswallop because sulphites occur naturally in wines - they do, but at much lower levels. Less sulphites can also mean less hangover…

My wife and I have had to deal with similar issues with mkst red wines and even some whites. During our research we found that many times the negative affects were blamed on the Sodium Metabisuphite, when the real culprits were other things in the wines.
It was suggested to us by a wine expert to take a small antihistamine when drinking red wine. We began doing this about 5 years back and haven’t had an issue since. Apparently quite a few wine people, tasters and such, do this regularly.
The antihistamine we take is a 2mg pill of Clorphenaramine Maleate, which is available as a variety of names at any druggist. It’s not prescription. Doesn’t cause any dizziness or anything.

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This is where I’m heading I think. I thought I was flying under the radar on the negative effects of alcohol only averaging a glass a day but according to the latest study out of Canada that’s not the case. It’s getting more difficult to enjoy those simple pleasures.


Yes, I’ve read the same sort of things. Apparently alcohol has many more negative affects than we are aware of. I actually have some neuro issues in my lower legs that the Neurologist said was caused by or exacerbated by alcohol consumption.

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Yeah, if you want a digest of those negative effects here’s a podcast that focuses on the science of it all. It depressing to learn that only a glass a day puts you at risk.


Oh great! What’ll I do with my wine co!lection?
Thanks tho, I’ll have a listen …

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Love my Bordeaux. Ugg.

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If someone can eat more than a few dried apricots or raisins, then it is not a problem with sulfites (all dried fruit has far more than wine does.)
The preservative/anti-oxidant properties of Sulfur Dioxide, used in far more things than just wine, to prevent microbial spoilage was discovered by the ancient Egyptians. It has the ‘E’ number 220. Because it is both cheap and naturally occurring, people (not just in wine, although wine - especially with sugar in - is particularly prone to all the things that can go wrong) started to take the attitude ‘if a little is good, then a lot is better’, and accordingly overused it and of necessity it became labelled as an allergen.
And the problem, I feel, is that people seeing ‘Contains Sulfites’ on a label automatically and naturally assume that means that sulfites are bad. In excess, like anything, they are, but they are naturally occurring and sulfur is actually essential for muscle growth. If someone without an allergy to sulfur consumes enough wine to give them an issue, they they have a far, far bigger problem in terms of alcohol and carbohydrates.
Some people are allergic to sunlight - does not mean we should all become vampires.

In fact if someone has a problem with red wine and not white, then it is very unlikely that Sulfur has anything to do with it at all. More likely histamines (in which grape skin is rich), as someone described above, although taking a medication given for something else to facilitate the consumption of alcohol is not really something anyone else can advise.

For the best low/no added sulfite wines then be prepared to find producers who care, which usually means small scale and therefore priced to match.

Choose grape varieties naturally high in acidity (good for natural bacterial resistance) and/or thin skinned (black) grapes which have less histamine in the first place. Gamay (Beaujolais) is a good choice on both counts.

Professionally I have to say that there is a lot of nonsense talked about this subject, so apply ‘critical thinking’ to any solution.


Thanks Rod. Nicely explained.

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Different people react differently to e.g. sodium metabisulphite (wines) and sulphur dioxide (apricots).

It certainly worth pointing out that white wines in general and fruitier/sweeter wines do tend to have more added sulphites.

Only home winemakers use sodium metabisulfite, (and its action in alcohol is to release pure SO2 anyway).

Commercial wine uses the same sulfur dioxide as the packaged fruit (and cereal and other food) industries. It may come from Potassium Metabisulfite, but this simply liberates SO2. If someone has a problem with sulfites, they will have an issue with all these things, if it’s only wine, then it has nothing to do with SO2.

Sulfur dioxide neither causes nor exacerbates a hangover (it is - I’m afraid alcohol/ethanol and dehydration which cause that, along with cogeners in ‘brown’ - i.e. long wood aged, wines [and spirits]. There is no hangover quite as bad as a Tawny Port hangover.)

SO2 is added to wines (roughly, and all pH dependent. As free SO2):
Dry whites - up to 20mg/L
Dry reds - 10 - 20mg/L
Sweet wines - 20-40mg/L (Residual sugar and pH dependent).

The amounts added historically back before its known properties as an allergen were in a range six or seven times the above.

I think that’s me done on this thread. Someone asked me the question, and I have answered. But it’s a subject as divisive for wine people as politics is for Richard, so I’ll leave it there.

Drink less, drink better. Cheers.


You’re quite right that there’s no doubt all sorts of factors are involved in post-drinking problems (hangovers and others), not just sulphites or alcohol.

Leaving aside sulphites and hangovers, I have encountered people who can’t drink white wine because it brings on piles, for example, and people who can’t drink red because it brings on a rash and flushing (antihistamines can help here as you state and unoaked can be less problematic for them).

Drink less and drink better is definitely great advice, remembering expensive doesn’t however always mean better. I lived in the Italian countryside for years drinking only wine made by my neighbours, which could then legally also be sold locally. I never had a hangover unless I got spectacularly enthusiastic. The downside to this is that it’s much easier to become an alcoholic :slight_smile: Fortunately or unfortunately I returned to the UK.

I think we can discuss these things without coming to blows…

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As my old boss used to say ‘Life is too short to drink cheap wine’ - we were on expense accounts in those days.