What are sulphites?

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Sulphites are a substance used to preserve the taste and aroma of wine.

Sometimes they are naturally occurring in the wine and other times they are added during the oenological process. They have properties that help to preserve the wine, are antioxidants, and protect against undesirable microbes; therefore, they allow us to obtain wines that are less oxidated and that have better color and aroma.

Wines referred to as natural are those that do not have any added sulphites, although they may have a small amount due to the use of sulpher in the cultivation of the grapes or produced by the yeast during the fermentation process. Organic wines can contain sulphites since they are naturally occurring compounds.

Sulphites are not only found in wine. We can also find them naturally in foods that undergo fermentation, such as bread, rolls, buns, yogurt, beer or cider, albeit in small quantities.

The term “sulphite” or “sulphurous” is a shortened way of referring to the sulphurous anhydride or the sulpher dioxide. It is mentioned on the label of food products that contain it since there are people who are allergic to this substance and could suffer from allergic reactions.

The amount of sulphites that most wines contain is very low and according to the WHO, it is considered a safe additive.

The use of sulphites is limited to very small, minimum quantities, that do not suppose a health risk neither in the long nor the short term.

The WHO (World Health Organization) establishes an Admissible Daily Intake (ADI) of 0.35 to 1.50 mg/day per kg of weight.

If we take an ADI of 0.7 mg/day per kg of weight, the acceptable daily dosis osillates between 42 and 56 mg per day (for someone who weighs between 60 and 80 kg). Depending on the maximum amount of sulphites admitted for the wine, this is approximately half a bottle of wine per day, 375 ml (which is approximately two small cans of Zeena).

The “toxicity” that it produces is due to the destruction of vitamin B1 (Thiamine). This is why it is recommended that you eat foods rich in this vitamin when you drink wine, beer or other drinks that contain sulphites.

Some foods that are rich in this vitamin are fish, cheese, mussels, hazelnuts and pork. Now you know what you can pair with your cup of Zeena!


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