'Sulphite-reducers' in wine do not work

There are a number of 'miracle treatments' available on line that claim to reduce the sulphite content in wine thus rendering it safe for sulphite sensitives and for those who normally suffer from all-too-easily acquired hangovers.

One such is called UBFree but the sparsity of information on their site on how it was actually meant to work rang alarm bells with us. We therefore asked John Lang of Good Wine Online, an expert on low sulphite wines as his wife is sulphite sensitive, whether they had any validity. This is what he said:

'I've seen products like this UB Free before. There have been several in Australia and New Zealand. All they do is convert the free sulphur to bound sulphur by adding an oxygen molecule - you would get exactly the same effect by dropping in an ice cube! It doesn't remove any harmful chemicals - over 80 different chemical additives are permitted in standard wine, and 43 different ones in EU Organic certified wines, so just converting some of the free sulphur is not going to make the wine healthy or good for you!

Also they can't state how much free sulphur they may convert - most of these powders and tablets tended to convert less than 50% so a sulphite sensitive person is still likely to have a reaction when using one of these.

I think the idea is good in principle but in practice this will never work as these products are never going to be a substitute for drinking healthy wines made without chemicals. The sulphur is a major issue, but mainstream wines are pumped so full of chemicals that part neutralising one is a drop in the ocean and the other chemicals will still make people ill and give horrendous hangovers.'

Nota Bene John adds that the ice cube trick is worth remembering if you are sulphite sensitive and you find yourself having to drink wines which are not sulphite free. Dropping an ice cube in the glass will certainly help.

Click here to see Good Wine OnlIne's low sulphite wines

First published in 2013

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