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Sulfides In Wine

Any suggestions for someone who loves wine has issues with headaches due to the sulfides added. Is there something that can be taken to counteract them so as to be able to have some?
Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW

I have answered many questions similar to this from wine drinkers who are concerned about the effects of sulfites (not sulfides, another sulfur ion). Fortunately, there is greater awareness now that sulfites, the most widely employed additive worldwide to preserve wine (and various foodstuffs), are not harmful to all but a tiny fraction of the public (less than 1%). Virtually all wines contain a small amount of sulfites, whether added to protect the wine or as the natural consequence of fermentation. Many have thought that sulfites cause headaches, but again that has been shown not to be the case. The chemical primarily responsible for a bad reaction to wine is alcohol, which we tend to take for granted. Most authorities point to fermentation-related biogenic amines such as histamine and tyramine as factors in so-called wine headaches. Unfortunately, there's no silver bullet to mitigate the consequences of drinking wine other than simply limiting the amount you consume.

About Our Expert

Roger has enjoyed a lengthy career in the wine trade as an importer and retailer, and at present he is an educator, speaker and consultant. He set up and managed Millesima USA, a New York merchant affiliated with a leading European company. Previously, he served as senior executive of importers Frederick Wildman & Sons. In recent years, Roger has judged wine competitions in Argentina, Turkey, Portugal, China and the U.S. Roger is one of America's first Masters of Wine.

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