How to Remove Sulfites from Wine?

It’s no secret that many wines contain sulfites, but do you know what are they, how they impact your health, and how to remove Sulfites from wine? Sulfites are incredibly important in winemaking and have been used as preservatives since Medieval times. While sulfites in small doses don’t pose health risks for most people, they can be bothersome to those with allergies or sensitivities. Fortunately, there are several methods you can use to remove sulfites from wine effectively. 

Read on to learn exactly what sulfites are and how to remove sulfites from wine so as to enjoy your bottle without the harsh chemical taste.

Related:

What are Sulfites in Wine?

Sulfites, or sulfur dioxide (SO2), are colorless gas with antioxidant and preservative properties. They can be naturally occurring in some wines in the fermentation process that work as a preservative against certain harmful wine yeast and bacteria, but more often, they’re added to wine during the winemaking process to prevent oxidation, which can make the wine taste sour or “off”. Moreover, sulfites react chemically with oxygen molecules in the air and form sulfate compounds, which give the wine an additional flavor and aroma profile. 

Although small amounts of sulfites are harmless for most people, those with allergies may experience adverse reactions if exposed to too much SO2. Therefore, many drinkers are looking for how to remove sulfites from wine.

How Many Sulfites Are Generally In Wine?

How Many Sulfites Are Generally In Wine

The number of sulfites in wine can vary depending on the winemaking process and the wine’s style. However, most wines contain between 10 and 200 parts per million (ppm) sulfites. White wines and sweet wines generally contain more sulfites than red wines, as sulfites are added to prevent browning and preserve the wine’s fruitiness.

It’s worth noting that sulfites can also occur naturally in wine, as they are produced during the fermentation process. Overall, the amount of sulfites in wine is generally considered safe for consumption, but some people can have an allergic reaction to sulfites. The FDA requires wines containing more than 10 ppm of sulfites to carry a warning label stating that the wine “contains sulfites.”

How to Remove Sulfites from Wine?

The question “How to remove Sulfites from wine?”  can have a few answers, as there are several methods you can use to reduce or remove the sulfite content in your wine. Here  are a few of the most common methods:

Add Hydrogen Peroxide

Adding a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to your wine can help reduce the sulfite levels. Typically, 1 milliliter (about 1/4 teaspoon) of 3% hydrogen peroxide (available in pharmacies) should be sufficient to eliminate the sulfites from a standard bottle of wine with 80 mg/L sulfites.

However, it is important to dilute the hydrogen peroxide first and add it slowly to the wine – tasting after every few minutes – so that you don’t over oxidize or change the flavor profile of your wine.

Use Wine Purifier

Wine purifiers, such as the Coravin Wine Purifier System, are specifically designed to remove sulfites and other impurities from wine. The system works by drawing air through a filter that removes SO2 gas, then reintroducing oxygen-rich air back into the bottle.

The process is much faster than allowing your wine to breathe naturally and leaves you with a smooth, balanced flavor without harsh chemical notes. Plus, it’s much easier and more efficient since it requires minimal effort on your part.

Use Sulfite Removing Drop

Sulfite Removing Drop is a specially formulated liquid including food-grade hydrogen peroxide, sunflower, and egg whites lecithin that can be added to wine to remove sulfites. One drop of this solution will reduce the sulfite content in a typical 750 ml bottle by about 30 mg/L. 

This solution works by using oxidizing agents and catalysts that attract sulfur atoms and convert them into harmless compounds, such as sulfates, which have no taste or smell. Moreover, it is easy to buy, carry this liquid everywhere and use it discreetly. Therefore, this method is great for those who want an easy fix without altering the flavor profile of their wine too much. 

Use Wine Filter Sulfite Remover

The wine filter sulfite remover is a special type of filter that removes sulfites from wine. The use of this method is very simple and handy. You only need to attach the filter, with small pores, to the tip of your wine bottle and when you pour your wine through it into a glass, the sulfur atoms are removed as well.

This method can be more efficient than other techniques since no additional ingredients or chemicals needs to be added to the wine. Additionally, this technique is also helpful for large batches of wines since multiple glasses can be filled at once. 

Use Wine Aerator

A wine aerator is a tool that helps to oxygenate a bottle of wine, which can help reduce the number of sulfites in it. When air passes through the aerator and mixes with the wine, oxidation occurs and some sulfur atoms are converted into harmless compounds like sulfates.

This technique is great for those looking to remove sulfites from their wines quickly and without altering flavor or aroma profile. Plus, it’s easy to use, requires no additional ingredients, and can be done right at your table.

Use Wine Aerator and Filter

A wine aerator and filter is a device used to reduce sulfites and other impurities in wine. This device has two parts: an aerator that introduces oxygen into the bottle of wine and a filter that helps remove sulfites and other particles. Attaching the filter to the tip of your wine bottle, it will filter what pour from the bottle.

This device lets you get clean-tasting wines without exposing yourself to large amounts of sulfites each pouring. In addition, it is very convenient to bring everywhere. However, it is important to keep in mind that this method works best for white wines since reds don’t respond well to the introduction of atmospheric oxygen. 

Use Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is a natural absorber that can be used to remove sulfites from wine. To use it, you will need to stir a tablespoon of bentonite clay into a bottle of wine and let it sit for 3-4 days. The clay will absorb the excess sulfur, making the wine drinkable again.

This method is an ideal solution for those looking to remove sulfites without having to buy any special equipment or ingredients. However, it takes a few days for the clay to work its magic, and also has the potential to alter the flavor profile of your wine.

Combine Different Methods

Combining different methods can be a great way to reduce the amount of sulfites in your wine. For example, you can use a wine purifier with a wine filter attached and then add some sulfite-removing drops after. This combination will help remove more sulfur atoms from your bottle and give you cleaner-tasting wines.

However, it is important to note that using too many techniques at once may result in an overly oxidized flavor profile that could diminish the quality of your wine. Therefore, it is best to experiment cautiously until you find the best combination for you and your palate. 

FAQs

Does Removing Sulfites from Wine Prevent Hangover?

No. Removing sulfites from wine does not prevent hangovers and can even exacerbate the symptoms. This is because sulfites help protect wines against oxidation, which preserves their flavor profile. When you remove them, you also remove this protection, leaving the wine vulnerable to further oxidation that could worsen your hangover symptoms.

Can I Taste The Difference After Removing Sulfites?

Yes, you may be able to taste the difference after removing sulfites from your wine. Since sulfur compounds give off an odor and taste in wines, without these compounds present in the bottle, you will notice a subtle change in the aroma and flavor of the wine when compared to its original state. However, it is important to note that this change might not be significant for all wines.

What is The Best Sulfite Remover?

The best sulfite remover for you depends on your preferences and needs. Some methods, like using a wine filter or purifier, are great for quickly removing sulfites and providing clean-tasting wines. Others, like aeration and drops, are more convenient and can be used anytime. Ultimately, deciding which method works best for your needs is up to you.

Can I Buy Wine Without Sulfites?

No, although there are some wines labeled “organic” or “no sulfite added”, they will still contain some natural sulfites present due to the fermentation process. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Sulfites are one of the most common additives used in wines and are usually present in small amounts. However, for those who suffer from allergies or sensitivities to sulfites, it can be helpful to know how to remove Sulfites from the wine.

On a basic level, you can use methods such as air aeration, but the more complex method involves using fining agents like bentonite clay. Ultimately, whatever method you choose for removing sulfites from your wines should be done with care and attention to ensure that you don’t inadvertently spoil or alter the flavor of your favorite bottle of vino.

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JoAnne Braxl

JoAnne Braxl is the founder and writer at Race Lane Liquors in East Hampton. She opened the store in 2004 with her late husband, and it has been a mainstay of the community ever since. A lover of wine, JoAnne enjoys providing customers with access to hard-to-find bottles from all over the world.

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