Monday, January 07, 2008

I just read your article about the term "organic wines" and was wondering if you could explain the requirement to add sulfites to wine. Is it a government decision or the wine industry's? And if you can buy hundreds of wine in Europe without added sulfites, why is that not the same in the US?

Personally, I would prefer totally organic wine (and everything else) and am willing to pay for it; however, when I go to traditional stores where I can purchase wines, I don't seem to have that choice. I would love to understand the discrepancies that constantly appear between European rules and those in this country. Maybe I'll move to Europe!

Where do you market you wines? Thanks for any info you can supply.

HI Sue,

You can access some info on sulfites through the following links:
which should provide most of the answers you are seeking.

In a few words though:
Sulfites act as preservatives in wine, vintners have used them for a long time as the best (and certainly least bad) way to keep wines from turning to vinegar.
Making wine with a little amount is possible, with none at all it is extremely risky. Quality of no sulfites added wines is generally under par unless you put a high price for it!
I would be hard pressed to find even 50 wines without sulfites in all of Europe, I know maybe 10 at the moment. Europe had simply no obligation to state sulfites on the label because it was not seen as an issue. Due to international harmonization, this has been enacted on Jan 1 2007.

In most cases going 98% organic is attainable while 100% is out of reach and creates unmanageable complications. Techniques you can use and things you can do in your own kitchen are sometimes not scalable for entire industries!

We market our wines in a few states other than CA (CO, FL, NY, MT, TX, IL, WI, AL) but the bulk of our sales happens now through the Internet at:

Hoping to see you there sometime I wish you a Happy New Year!

Dr Mic

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