Why are Sulphites Put Into Wine?

Most wine bottles display a warning ‘Contains Sulphites’. Are sulphites dangerous to our health, and if so, why are they put into wine?

Almost everything contains sulphites. Sulphur is an element that makes up about 0,5 per cent of the earth’s crust. It is naturally present in most plants, including grape vines. Sulphur has also been used since ancient times as a cleansing agent and preservative. Romans and Greeks burned sulphur candles in their amphorae to sterilise them. Today, sulphur dioxide is used as a preservative in winemaking (in minute quantities).

As some people may have an allergic reaction to sulphur, some governments require the warning to be printed on wine labels.


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