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Wine Health with Bex Bishop, Winemaker at BX of Napa

sulfites

Reaction to red wine? It's probably NOT a sulfite allergy

If you have a reaction to red wine, but not white, then your problem is probably not a sulfite allergy. In most cases, there are more sulfites in white wine than in red.

...If you have a stronger reaction to red wine than you do to white (as many people do), it’s probably not because of sulfites. Dry white wines can legally contain over 200 parts per million, whereas most regulations keep reds in the 150 range. Sweet wines can be as high as 400. By comparison, dried fruits can contain up to 1,000 parts per million.

...The most likely explanation has to do with the skins of the grapes. Red wines are fermented with grape skins. That’s where they get their color. Most white wines are pressed immediately after harvest, and skins are removed. Grape skins contain histamines and tannin. If the histamines bother you, take a non-drowsy antihistamine before drinking wine. That may help. If the problem is with the tannins, some red wines have less tannin than others. Pinot Noir, for example, generally sees less contact with grape skins during fermentation than Cabernet.

...But even organic farmers have to deal with the technical aspect of winemaking, and many still use at least a little bit of sulphur, especially with white wines.  Some wines from organically farmed grapes don’t indicate it on the label because the U.S definition for organic wine doesn’t allow for the addition of sulfur. If any sulphur is added during fermentation the label can only say, “Made from organic grapes.”  In the European Union, sulphur is considered a natural element and is permitted in certified organic winemaking.

For whole story go to: http://goo.gl/4LfH1