Gold Coast Naturopathy: Wine, preservatives and organic alternatives

2 Jul 2015 10:31 AMLicensee Person Gold Coast Naturopathy: Wine, preservatives and organic alternatives

Despite alcohol being a natural preservative, wine needs to be protected against oxidation and bacterial spoilage. The most common being sulphur dioxide.

Most of us like a nice crisp glass of wine on a summers day, or a merlot by the fire (being winter and all). Despite alcohol being a natural preservative,  wine needs to be protected against oxidation and bacterial spoilage. The most common being sulphur dioxide.

Sulphur dioxide (220 or SO2) solutions can be added at any stage from grapes to the final stages of bottling. Sulphur dioxide is reactive by nature and “bounds up” to potential spoilage compounds; if not bound up can result in unfavourable aromas, flavours or colours.

Other common preservatives in wine include potassium metabisulphite (224) and in white wine ascorbic acid (300). For health and allergy considerations it is the free sulphur levels at are of man concern.  This is found by adding the bound 220 and free 220 giving the total 220 level.

Even if 220 isnt added to the wine there can still me minute levels in the wine as it is a natural product of fermentation.

Certified organic wine in Australia is depicted by the amount of preservative allowed in the final product which is about 50% of what can be used under conventional Australia food standared for wine. Wines in Australia can be certified organic without being ‘preservative fee’. The most common reaction to 220 is asthma (wheezing, coughing, chest tightening) not a headache.

If you have a headache you have probably drunk too much and not enough water to hydrate your poor dehydrated brain cells. Did you know there is more 220 in dried apricots than wine? So if you can eat dried fruit without any problems then you most likely don’t have a sulphur allergy.

Phenolics come from the skins, stems and pips of grapes and find their way into wine when the skins are left to ferment. It is these that give the positive anti-oxidant properties in red wine often the culprit for a red wine headache. The same can happen with white wines from oak derived phenolics; with the added histamine production can cause a headache.

How to minimise sulphite in wine

Ditch the cask as they say ‘leave it back in the 80’s with scruchies and Guns N roses’ as they are likely to contain increased amounts of sulphur dioxide.

Hunt out wines with minimal or no added sulphites.

Go organic – even though they can still use sulphite, most organic wines contain much lower concentration then the typical bottle.

Although this blog was written for the avid wine drinkers please note that a sulphur allergy is a severe reaction to sulphites and should be taken very seriously.  Foods to avoid include – cordials, vinegar, jams, jellies, dried apricots, sulphur powder added to top of crustaceans to stop them discolouring. Look for labelling from number 220 – 228.

Purewine drops and SO2GO are two products that can be used to destroy the sulphites in wine. Even when using these drops drink sensibly and hydrate with filtered water. 

For more information about naturopathy and organic alternatives drop in or contact us today.