Don't Fear the Sulfites

Food & Wine: Don't Fear the Sulfites
© Dale Anderson
By Tyler Colman Posted October 09, 2013

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

Don’t you think the risks posed by sulfites in wine are completely overblown? You’re right. Wines do contain the compounds, but they're not the reason you feel sick the day after overindulging. Sulfite reactions are both rare and severe; they include anaphylaxis, not a hangover. If you're still in doubt, here's a test: If you can eat five dried apricots without any adverse effects, then you don’t have a sulfite allergy. So, what's with the warning on the bottle? The intention of the phrase “contains sulfites” on wine labels was originally “not to inform but to frighten,” writes Thomas Pinney, in his book A History of Wine in America, Volume 2. Anti-alcohol lobbyists were trying to scare people away from wine in the 1970s and ’80s, and they found their man in Washington in the form of Strom Thurmond. The senator fought for the legislation that required the language. Of course, dried apricots don’t have warnings—because there's no anti-dried fruit lobby.

Related: More from Dr. Vino
Fantastic Australian Wine Values
How Wine Labels Lie About Alcohol

The Dish
Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.

You May Also Like

powered by ZergNet