Wino 101: Preservatives – allergies.

Hi everyone,

I’ve decided to continue on from yesterday’s post as it was a rather rushed little blog and wine allergies and preservatives is something that many people have spoken to me about from friends to customers at work. Wine allergies are not simple to pin point as there are many components in wine from which people can react to. Yesterday’s post was on sulphides, but there are all the refining products such as milk and eggs, along with yeast and the grapes themselves for people to have allergic reactions to.

Sulphides

As yesterday’s post explained sulphides are necessary for imported wines as well as Australian wines due to them being lower in acid than wine from cooler climates. And overall sulphides allow wine to not spoil as easily as it did in the past.

Sulphide reactions are often linked to asthma and this is the more serious concern as sulphides in wine can lead to reactions with histamine. Wines contain naturally occurring sulphides and therefore will always contain a small proportion of sulphides, what can be controlled is how much more sulphur is added to the wine during production and fermentation. Wine without added sulphides are hard to find in Australia when you’re looking in major wine retails shops, if you think this is a concern and would like to try low-sulphide or preservative-free wines then going to cellar door or building up a friendship with your local independent bottle shop is my best advice. However you will be restricted to quite a small section of the wine industry and market if you make this decision.

Another alternative is to add something to your wine which will cause a chemical reaction to occur forcing the sulphides to be released from the wine. I am not a fan of this method as the additive is bleach and if it is not fully consumed by the sulphides in the wine then it will remain in the wine and be consumed by yourself.

Personally my favourite method is to allow the wine the chance to breathe either in a decanter or in my glass and while this method perhaps does not remove all the sulphides it is the most natural method which allows me the ability to not be restricted in my wine drinking. Also drinking when eating allows the food to decreases the full effect of the wine on your stomach and insides in comparison to drinking on an empty stomach (something which I do not advocate either).

Phenols

Phenols in wine are naturally occurring chemical compounds which can be found generally in the wines skin. Therefore the percentage of phenols is higher in wines which have had increased contact with the skin, red wines and the more expensive generally the longer the time spent on skins. Phenols can also get into the wine through time spent in barrels and this again impacts upon only certain wines and more often red wine than white wines.

There is no products on the market for removing phenols like there is for wine. People who react to red wine have told me that drinking it over ice prevent it from occurring and I will have to ask my chemistry majoring friends about this as it is likely the lower temperature alters the ability for the reaction to proceed, but I will get back to you on that. The best advice if you fall in this category is to avoid oaked wine and wine which has spent a lot of time on skins.

Refining Products

Common refining products for wine are egg and milk. If you have an allergy to either of these products then the only solution is to avoid all wines with the product mentioned on the label. Due to allergic reaction is it a requirement for Australian wines to label if these products are used, so don’t be afraid to have a look at the back label.

Also if you are vegan than wines that uses refining products such as egg whites and milk are to be avoided. Yalumba Y Series is one range which I know is vegan friendly however there are many other on the market.

Yeast

Yeast allergies are noticeable when you feel fatigued after a glass of wine (or beer). Yeast allergies occur when the yeast is still alive in the wine and it is consumed by someone who is allergic to it. There is no solution to remove all traces of yeast from wine. Best solution is to avoid all drinks that use yeast in fermentation.

Until next time!

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