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Does natural wine contain sulfites?

Bottle of Orange Natural Wine Producer Meinkland Weisser Mulatschak

Unfortunately, there is no way around sulfites as all wine contains some degree of sulfites. Sulfites is a chemical compound that is a natural byproduct of wine fermentation. To preserve wine freshness/composition for longer, winemakers will usually add sulfites on top of the naturally occurring sulfites when they feel naturally occurring ones are not sufficient to keep the wine fresh.

Additional sulfites brought on by the winemaker is quite a large topic of discussion in the world of natural wine. There are winemakers that add extremely small quantities of additional sulfites to keep wine stable after being bottled in the cellar. Other winemakers in the natural wine world are completely against adding sulfites.

The loose definition of natural wine does not necessarily call for absolutely no sulfites allowed being added, that definition goes more to zero-zero (0/0) wine, which is natural wine + no sulfites added and you can buy some here. There are winemakers that swear by no additionally added sulfites that believe wine can never be spoiled if the farming and winemaking processes are carefully planned and carried out.

With that, natural wine is a wild, living organism in the bottle that can easily evolve and re-ferment. Even if all things go accordingly all the way up to bottling, there is no telling what a living organism may or may not do when undisturbed in the bottle. Naturally occuring sulfites sometimes may not be sufficient to keep bottle fresh over extended period of storage.

We believe extremely extremely small quantities of additional sulfites when necessary in the winemaking process to preserve wine is OK, but we also support winemakers that add no sulfites. As long as the other bases are covered (organic, biodynamic and/or dry-farming no pesticides or herbicides, no toxic additives, no added sugar, vegan and more.