Some people tell me that they get headaches from drinking wine; people tend to believe it’s due to sulfites. It is not the sulfites in wine but simply a matter of hydration. My secret to minimize headaches is for every glass of wine consumed, a glass of water should also be consumed.
All wines have sulfites, they are a natural by-product of fermentation. Even Organic wines and European table wines have sulfites. Sulfites are typically 10 PPM (parts per million) or less. If sulfites are added beyond those naturally produced through fermentation, the wine must contain a label indicating that the wine contains sulfites.
Sulfites, the salts of sulfurous acid, have been used to preserve food and drink since the beginning of modern retail. Sulfites are added to wine to help prevent spoilage and pre-oxidation by adding controlled amounts of sulfur dioxide in a process called sulfating. In the United States the words, “Contain Sulfites” are mandatory on wine labels if the wine is above the natural by-product of 10 ppm. The upper limit is about 350 ppm, but most wines today contain less than 150 ppm on average. And on average, red wines contain less sulfites than white wines and dry wines contain less sulfites than sweet wines. The lower quality wines (usually less expensive) contain the most sulfites relative to higher quality wines (usually more expensive).