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Sulfate free wine for migraine sufferer

Original Post

Posted on Dec 19,2003 by Armstrong10713489

Can anyone recommend a sulfate free wine? I get migraines from drinking wine, wine coolers, even Smirnoff Ice. Doesn't matter whether red or white. I would like to be able to drink wine sometimes, but need a recommendation. Thanks.


Posted on Dec 19,2003 by FrankJBN

A couple of things:

I doubt it is sulfates in wine causing your migraines. Sulfates are found almost everywhere - certainly in every cup of coffee, tea, or glass of non-pasteurized orange juice we drink. They are also present in most "natural" bottled waters.

I am not sure that a sulfate free wine exists. Various sulfates occur naturally in grape juice. Therefore it is impossible to make wine from grapes without encountering sulfates. In addition almost all vineyards, including organic farms, are permitted to use and do use sulfer compounds in their viticulture.

Why, faced with the potential for a migraine headache, do you still want to "drink wine sometimes". How do the hours of debilitation compare with the moments of pleasure?

More to follow.

Posted on Dec 19,2003 by FrankJBN

Sunrise, sunset. Sulfates, sulfites. Both are oxides of sulfur, which you can see in our beautiful east coast sunsets.

You see on wine labels "contains sulfites". What else does? Why they're everywhere! Everywhere!

Sulfites are also added to or occur in:

Food Colours: E102-155. All azo dyes contain sulphur compounds as part of their structure called sulphonilic acid

Alcoholic Beverages: Beer, wine, cocktail mixes, sparkling beverages, wine coolers

Bakery Items: Breads containing dough conditioners, cookies, biscuits, crackers, pie and pizza crusts, tortillas, waffles, fruit cakes, Christmas cakes, plum puddings, muesli bars

Beverages: Beverages containing sugar or corn syrup, fruit juices, fresh, bottled or canned, fruit juice concentrates canned bottled, and frozen fruit juices, wine,

Cereals: Those containing dried fruit, muesli

Condiments: Horseradish, relishes, pickles, olives, wine vinegar, salad dressings, lemon juice.

Dairy: Processed cheese foods, dips, fruit cheeses, cottage and cream cheese, processed yoghurt.

Dried Foods: Dried herbs and spices, dried fruits, trail mixes, fruit pie fillings, glace cherries.

Fish and Shellfish: Fresh shrimp and scallops frozen, canned or dried clams, shrimp, lobster, crab, scallops, dried cod.

Fruits: Fresh grapes, dried fruits (including raisins and prunes and especially pale fruits that have not discolored), canned, bottled and frozen fruit and juices, maraschino cherries, glazed fruit, desiccated coconut, fruit topping. Jams, preserves.

Gelatine, Fillings, Frostings: Fruit fillings, flavoured and unflavoured gelatin, pectin, jelling agents, canned frostings and frosting mixes, toppings, sweet sauces, gums..

Grain Products: Cornstarch, modified food starch, spinach pasta, gravies, hominy, breading, batters, noodle and rice mixes.

Hard Sweets

Jams and Jellies: pectin

Miscellaneous: Cornstarch, bread mixes, gravies, dried soups, processed dried pasta and rice dishes, molasses, pancake syrups, vinegar

Nuts: Shredded coconut products.

Plant Protein Products: Soy protein products including tofu, textured vegetable protein,

Processed Meats: Sausages, cold cuts, pate

Puddings: Fruit mixes, fruit mince

Snack Foods: Filled crackers, dried fruit snacks, trail mixes, tortilla chips, potato chips.

Sugars: Brown, white, powdered and raw sugars, corn syrup, maple syrup jams, jellies.

Vegetables: Vegetable juices, canned vegetables (including potatoes), pickled vegetables (including cauliflower, peppers, sauerkraut), "fresh cut" potatoes (as delivered to restaurants) all processed potatoes, frozen vegetables (including French fries and deli potato salad), convenience ready packets of salads, vegetables, stir-fry, coleslaw etc

So have another drink, it will make you feel better - unless you are part of the unfortunate 4%

Posted on Dec 19,2003 by call me a cab

Whazzup with the remaining 4%?

Posted on Dec 19,2003 by RQN

Sulfates/Sulfites may likely not be there problem. But, if you insist, look for the hard-to-find wines from the country of Georgia. Many are produced sans sulfates/sulfites as much as possible.


Posted on Dec 19,2003 by re_me


Posted on Dec 22,2003 by FrankJBN

About 4% of the population is allergic to various sulfur compounds.

"Many are produced sans sulfates/sulfites as much as possible"

Funny enough, Georgian wines (I think georgian, some Russian wines in funky bottles) are flooding my area. As noted sulfates occur naturally in grape juice so it is kind of like "spam, eggs, sausage and spam" which has not got much spam in it.

Posted on Apr 23,2004 by Haslam10837935

Yes you can find sulfate free wine. I just asked at a local store and they directed me to the "organic wines". Though there were just a few they were sulfate free. With a recent visit to Italy we found all the wine we drank to be sulfate free. It is out there you just have to ask for it. It makes a big difference in the texture and taste. Happy Hunting.

Posted on Apr 23,2004 by call me a cab

All wines are sulfate free. It's the sulfites that people have trouble with, and sulfites are what is found in wine.

Posted on Apr 25,2004 by Eric T.

Haslam, please reread Frank's responses. Organic

does not mean the wine is free of sulphur compounds.

It is impossible to produce sulphur-free wine because it

is a byproduct of fermentation. The friendly clerk at

your local wine shop should know more about the

subject before misleading consumers. Italian labeling

laws do not require a sulphur warning like those found

on bottles sold in the US. Like all wine produced,

Italian wine contains sulphur in one form or another.

And thank you, Frank, for the list.

Posted on Apr 25,2004 by winemeup10815315

This is true. There isn't a wine that is completely free of sulfites, however there are wines with reduced sulfites. Look for an organic wine, as a few others already mentioned.

Also, I am no doctor, but I have heard that it is not the sulfites that cause the migraines but rather histamines. Have you seen a doctor? It may be worth looking into.

Posted on May 04,2004 by Wine10788598

Posted on May 28,2004 by stone10867837

more sulfates in red or white wine

Posted on Jun 06,2004 by Doctor Only

Stone, It doesn't matter whether the wine is red or white because sulfites do not occur naturally in wine; sulphur dioxide is added to prevent oxidation, so the amount added would depend on the wine-maker. SO2, which is also found in poisonous volcanic gases, forms an acid when it comes into contact with the grape juice. This acid serves as a great preservative and has been added to the wine recipe for thousands of years. This practice was largely responsible for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire--just kidding, but the Romans did use SO2 in making wine. There are a few wines that don't contain sulfites (I don't know what they are), but they have a very short shelf life. Responders above are probably correct is saying that sulfites may not be the cause of Armstrong's headaches. Sulfites are more of a problem for asthmatics, which is why wine labels in the US are required to disclose their presence.

Posted on Jun 06,2004 by Wine10819867

You should try to contact Paul Chartrand at Chartrand Imports in Rockland, Maine; he imports a lot of organic wine and, at one point, carried Guillot (Burgundy) wines with one of them having less than 1ppm of sulfite.

Posted on Jun 26,2004 by Hendry10907742

If you are the health nut type? You have made your self very sensitive to a broad field of natural and un-natural chemicals reactions. Histamines are your problem. Histamines cause the nasal pasage to restrict air movement (a natural reaction for a head cold, and it is a long story to explain how this works). Any beverage containing alcohol will do this, especially to a sensitve body. I have the same problem.

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