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Are sulfites in wine the reason for your hangover?

A guest article by Ali Mason.

We all enjoy the opportunity to socialise, drink delicious wine in good company and hope that we will still feel great the next day. But that last part isn't always so easy to achieve. For many people, wine and hangovers go hand in hand. Some people don't even need to drink excessively to get that all too familiar feeling of nausea, headaches and dizziness the next morning. Hangovers can have such an impact on our day that one German court ruled that a hangover is an 'illness'. Many people have started to look at how they can enjoy a glass or two of wine in the evening, without sacrificing the next day. As more drinkers than ever before choose to switch to organic and biodynamic wines, could sulphite-free wine be the answer to a hangover-free morning?


What Are Sulfites?

All wine contains sulphites, most of which dissolve during the ageing process. Sulfites have four key roles in wine production. It combines with oxygen to protect the wine from oxidation. They have antiseptic and antifungal properties that help to control alcoholic fermentation by blocking the growth of bacteria and some yeasts.

They also kill mould and fungus while also disinfecting the barrels and equipment. Sulfites also help to stabilise the wine and accelerate the decomposition of the grape and the release of aromas and tannins. Many winemakers add small amounts of sulphur dioxide to the wine in order to stabilise it, enhance flavours and sometimes it can even help to save a dubious batch of wine that would have otherwise been discarded.

Link Between Wine And Hangovers

Many people will recognise that tell-tale feeling of a hangover. Fatigue combined with thirst, headache, nausea and an increased sensitivity to sound and light is just a few of the common symptoms. People often blame their hangover on the sulfites.

While the small proportion of people allergic to sulfites will certainly find more enjoyment in a glass of organic wine, it is likely to be the tannins and histamines in wine that contributes to your hangover the next day. But overall, there's no escaping, that when it comes to the actual hangover, it's all about the alcohol content. The more alcohol you drink the more likely you get a hangover.

Switch To Natural Wines

There are alternatives for those who want to drink wine with no additional sulfites beyond what occurs naturally in wine. Some winemakers don't add these chemicals to their wines. After all, for most of the wine's history, it was produced without using any synthetic additives. Conventional wines and even those that are natural still contain naturally occurring sulphites which could have an impact on anyone with a sensitivity to sulphites.

If you choose to switch to organic wine, make sure you do it for the positive effects the wine has on the environment and of course, the taste. If you also wish that your glass of wine does not get you a hangover the next day, then go for natural wine instead. And drink water.

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