Removing Preservatives from Wine (and other drinks)

I love a glass of wine as much as the next person. But I do find that I can react badly to the sulphites that are used as a preservative in wine, Champagne or sparkling wine. I tend to suffer from a sore chest and runny nose which is the last thing I’m after when celebrating. Other symptoms include mild headaches, itching, rashes and fatigue.

purewineTo combat this I’ve discovered a couple of products that remove these preservatives and as a result, reduce my symptoms considerably.

The two brands I have tried are Purewine and SO2GO. Both available at bottle shops (usually on the counter top) and both very effective.

So how do these products work?

Warning – here comes some science.

Science stuff

The preservatives in wine are an important part of the winemaking process. These sulphites usually display as pres. 220 or 224 and can also be present in some beers, ciders and fruit juices.

When added to wine, products such as Purewine claim to reduce these sulphites from around 25ppm-35ppm to a level below 10ppm (parts per million). According to food standards, this is considered preservative free.

But what actually happens when you add the product? The active chemical in Purewine (food grade hydrogen peroxide) reacts with the sulphites to change them to sulphates. This chemical reaction is fast and the sulphates produced are considered harmless.

This process is actually already used in winemaking, just not to the same extent.

Also take note, that some wines (such as older wines and European style wines) have less sulphites in them to begin with. If you over-treat any wine with these products the result is a wine that displays increased signs and features of oxidation.

Signs of oxidation include loss of fresh aromas, colour will brown in reds and deepen in whites and the flavour may be flat. A bit of trial and error with your favourite wines and you’ll be enjoying wine again, without the unwanted extras.