Wines without sulphites - Printable Version

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- Bob Wood - 10-03-2000 09:32 AM

Are there wines available in the U.S., N. Carolina preferably, without sulphites? I prefer Chardonay, but also enjoy the reds.

- Bucko - 10-03-2000 10:29 AM

This is an often asked question. There are *NO* wines without sulfites -- it results from the fermentation process. There are some wines with NO ADDED SULFITES: Frey Vineyards (CA), China Bend (WA), Amity Vineyards (OR), and Badger Mountain (WA - selected ones).


- chittychattykathy - 10-05-2000 04:13 PM

Amity does do a sulphite free wine, Eco Pinot Noir. Check it out at:<>

- mrdutton - 10-05-2000 09:38 PM

Naw, I gotta go with Bucko on this one. Amity's Eco is slightly misrepresented, in my humble opinion. It seems to me that it has to be "no sulfites added", rather than "sulfite free". I really don't believe you can go through the fermentation process with grapes and not have some residual sulfites in the wine.

However, I intend on e-mailing Amity and asking them point blank. Will let you all know what the answer is.

- winoweenie - 10-06-2000 06:54 AM

CCK, Must agree with the Buck-man and MrD. Don`t think you can strip the sulfites out even with pasturization. winoweenie

- Scoop - 10-06-2000 08:16 AM

Ah yes, the sulfites issue again. To paraphrase Steve Miller (of Lauber Imports and the International Wine Center in NY), there are more sulfites in one hotdog than in a case of (most) wines, especially those "no sulfites added" ones.



- Bucko - 10-06-2000 02:45 PM

That rational is about the same as "There are more bullets in a machine gun belt than in a pistol magazine, but you are still just as dead."

True sulfite allergies are very rare, but can also be very dangerous.


- Scoop - 10-06-2000 02:56 PM

If the allergy is that severe -- and I'm not making light of that, having some of my own food allergies (apricots!) -- then they should probably avoid sulfites altogether, including what they might find in a bottle of wine.

- Botafogo - 10-06-2000 06:01 PM

On a more lighthearted note but with solid scientific backing, this is from our newsletter of last June:

What.....happened to......him, Bones?
He died of Sulfite depravation, Jim

So you don’t want to ingest any Sulfites, eh, Mr. Natural? Well here’s some sound scientific advice from someone who not only attended and passed High School Chemistry but went on to earn a Master of Science in Public Health Microbiology, WINE EXPO-ista Linda Olsen Weber, R.E.H.S., M.S.:

“Are you CRAZY?!?!? We need these chemicals. Your body contains about 6 ounces of sulfur, mostly in amino acids, which combine to make proteins, which in turn combine to make all sorts of body parts- - -Skin, hair, nails and connective tissues. Sulfur is also a part of insulin, heparin and polysaccharides in the matrices of your cartilage, bones and teeth. You NEED to consume sulfur to replenish the supply to your body.Sources include meat, legumes, cabbage, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and - - - you guessed it - - - wine and beer! What do you smell when you chop garlic? Diallyl disulfide. Chives, leeks and onions? Other disulfides. And when you cook cabbage? Hydrogen sulfide, methyl sulfide and trisulfides. And when (pardon my French) you fart? You guessed it - - more sulfur byproducts! If you’re still bothered by the idea of sulfur products in your wine (you’re on your own with garlic), aerate the wine - - - pour it into another container before serving. This will allow excess sulfur dioxide to escape, but you may lose some good aromas as well. I think I’ll pour mine directly from the bottle to my glass, Bon appetit!” Thank you, Linda! Now, for those of you attributing all manner of symptoms such as hives, sinus, migraine and flushing of the skin to sulfites, these are in fact HISTAMINE reactions and are caused by pigments, tannins and the effect of fermenting and aging in wooden barrels. Give us a call and we will fax or e-mail you a full-page info sheet on what causes these reactions and commonsense ways to avoid them (most of which do not involve giving up drinking wine!)

Cheers, Roberto

- mrdutton - 10-06-2000 07:15 PM

I did as I said I'd do......... The e-mail was answered promptly and is posted here for all to read. It appears that Amity really produces a wine that has no detectable sulfites.

That does not mean there are no sulfites in the wine. It does mean that whatever amount is there is below the minimum detectable level of the current testing method used by the lab to which Amity sends their wine.

Here's the e-mail:

From: "Amity Vineyards" <[email protected]>
To: "Michael Dutton" <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: Sulfite Free?
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2000 14:41:21 -0700
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3 (Normal)
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook 8.5, Build 4.71.2173.0
Importance: Normal
In-Reply-To: <[email protected]>
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We have our Eco Wine tested every year at a BATF approved lab. Their tests show "Not Detectable". Because other people wonder about the same thing, we have a flyer about it. I will attach it below. But basically different yeasts produce different amounts of SO2. We use a yeast that scavenges the SO2.

Peter Higbee
Amity Vineyards

Amity Vineyards
18150 Amity Vineyards Road
Amity, Oregon 97101 USA
Phone: (503) 835-2362, Fax: (503) 835-6451
Email: [email protected] Web Site:

Where did the Sulfites Go?

This is perhaps the most asked question I have about the Eco Wine. "Why, if sulfites are naturally produced by the yeast during fermentation, are there none in your wine?"

I have seen many other organic wines labeled "contains naturally occurring sulfites, no sulfites added," but none that say "sulfite free" like mine. Other wines have no reference to sulfites on the label which means, according to federal law, that they contain less than 10 ppm SO2 naturally occurring or not. To say sulfite free I have to submit a sample to a federally approved laboratory and get results that show there are no sulfites. But again the question is why aren't there any.

The best answer I heard was at a seminar at Oregon State University this winter. A professor from Oregon Health Sciences University was doing a study of sulfite production by yeast in wine as part of a larger study of why some asthmatics are hypersensitive to SO2. He said that some yeast produces more SO2 than needed to complete fermentation. Others produce and consume the same amount. Still others seem to scavenge it from over-producers.

Fermentations are not carried out by just one yeast. This is particularly true of fermentations where no SO2 is added to the crushed fruit. This is because SO2 tends to kill or inhibit "Wild" yeast while allowing the SO2 tolerant commercial yeast to grow fast and dominate the fermentation. The Eco Wine with no sulfites added to the crushed fruit seems to be fermented by yeasts that don't produce more SO2 than they need,
or, the winery is home to lots of scavenger yeasts.

We did an interesting experiment this fall that supports that hypothesis. We added 50 ppm of SO2 to a batch of grapes and then fermented them with no other sulfite additions. When the wine was finished fermenting, we sent a sample of it and the Eco Wine to the laboratory that does the test to verify sulfite free status. They found no sulfites in our Eco wine and only 5 ppm SO2 in the other wine. Thus we can see that, in our winery, the normal fermentation process consumes most of the added SO2 as well as any that is naturally produced.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Dutton [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2000 8:40 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Sulfite Free?


How can your pinot be sulfite free? Sulfites are a naturally occuring
by-product of the fermentation of grapes. All wines have sulfites in them.

Some just don't have "added sulfites".

Please explain.

Very respectfully,

Michael R. Dutton

[This message has been edited by mrdutton (edited 10-06-2000).]