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Sulfites in Wine

All wines contain at least some small amount of sulfites. They are a natural result of the same fermentation process that turns grape juice into alcohol. Even wines that have not had any sulfites added during the winemaking process contain some amount of sulfites. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is used by winemakers to keep freshly pressed must from spoiling. It keeps down the activities of native yeast and bacteria and preserves the freshness of the wine. Modern technology has allowed the use of significantly less sulfur than was used in the past but some is necessary to make a stable wine.

Regulations in the United States require that domestic and imported wines carry warning labels if they have sulfites in excess of 10 parts per million. Wines that have less than 10 parts per million are not required to carry the "Contains Sulfites" label but they still contain sulfites in some level.