If you look at almost any wine label, you may have seen the imposing words “Contains Sulfites”. This is required on any bottle of wine (or food item) that is sold in the United States and contains 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulfites. This labeling has been in effect since 1987 in the US and 2005 in Europe.
Sulfites are used to preserve wine during the fermentation process. They are compounds present in the yeast and are a natural part of wine making. However sometimes the wine producers will add even more sulfites to aid in preservation and quality control. There are more sulfites present in whites than reds and they are also more common in less expensive wines.
There is a myth that sulfites are the cause of hangovers the day after some overzealous wine consumption. The truth is that the amount of sulfites in wine is very insignificant. Hangovers are most often caused by dehydration from an alcohol/water imbalance.
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