No, You're Not Allergic to the Sulfites in Wine
"Oo, I'm allergic to sulfites," SFoodie has heard white-wine drinkers say when passing up an offer of pinot noir. Wine-shop managers have complained to us about the number of customers who come in, asking for sulfite-free wines.
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Dear sulfite sufferers: You are wrong.
While sulfite-free wines do exist, they are rare. Houston Press's food blog recently published a myth-busting, geeked-out post about the ubiquitous use of sulfur dioxide in winemaking. It is used to prevent unwanted bacteria from growing in the wine and protect it from oxidation. White wines, in fact, often contain more SO2 than red.
That headache you get after drinking Cabs and Zins, blogger Jeremy Parzen says? It's pretty much a hangover from drinking high-alcohol wines. But the other factor that Parzen doesn't mention is that drinking alcohol causes the capillaries in your face and sinuses to swell. You may think you're having an allergic reaction, but you're really just drinking too much.