Skip The Side Effects: How To Avoid Sulfites In Wine

Sulfites in wine date back thousands of years but only recently have been receiving extra attention for their role in post-drinking symptoms. So what are sulfites? Are they the real culprit for your hangover? And how can we remove them?

A person uses The Wand's wine filter to filter out sulfits from their red wine

What are Sulfites?

Sulfites, or sulfur dioxide, are sulfur-based compounds that are found naturally in many foods, and even our own bodies. Sulfites are added to many other types of food to preserve freshness and prevent them from quickly spoiling. If you’re curious which foods have the highest amounts of sulfites, consult this graph from Wine Folly.

A chart form Wine Folly on the level of sulfites found in foods
Credit: WineFolly

White wines on average are sweeter than reds. Sulfites bind to sugars, reducing their efficacy, so sweeter wines require higher levels of sulfites to sterilize the wine. This means that sweeter wines, like Moscato, or many white wines will have higher levels of sulfites than most.

Why are Sulfites “Bad”?

Since 1988 winemakers have been mandated by the FDA to label their wine “Contains Sulfites” if the bottle has more than 10 ppm (parts per million) of sulfites. This is because while only about 1% of the US population is reported to be seriously allergic to sulfites, many people can suffer from post-drinking symptoms linked to sulfites.

Sulfites are also considered to be the culprit to many wine hangovers. Most common post-drinking side effects include headaches, nasal congestion, an itchy throat, a runny nose, skin rash, and hives. This is why many consumers tend to opt for wines with lower levels of sulfites in order to prevent the wine hangovers that sulfites can cause.

How Can You Remove Sulfites?

Until recently, the only proven way to avoid drinking sulfites was to buy natural wines like Pétillant Naturel, Col Fondo Prosecco, or orange wine. The downside is most natural wines must be enjoyed within a year.

So how can folks remove sulfites from other types of wine? We’ve discovered two amazing Makers who have invested time and interest in solving this very problem.

Red wine is poured through Üllo's wine purifier into a glass

Filter Sulfites Out

The Üllo wine purifier targets sulfites that can potentially cause unwanted side effects and alter the taste of your wine. Just pour a glass (or bottle) of wine through the sulfite capture filter and enjoy. Wine is now in its purest, preservative-free form, and if you’re sipping a red, the filter can serve as an aerator, too.

A glass of red wine sits on a table next to The Wand wine filter

Make Sulfites Disappear

Another way to remove sulfites is with The Wand. This one-use wine filter lets you enjoy wine without some of the potential unpleasant side effects. It removes histamines and sulfites found in most wines that can cause reactions like congestion, red cheeks, and headaches. Simply swirl The Wand™ Wine Filter in your glass, wait a few minutes, and you’re good to start sipping. It won’t affect your wine’s flavor and it’s portable, easy to use, and disposable.


Sulfites in wine can be partially blamed for unnecessary headaches and hangovers when drinking wine, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up drinking it altogether. With Üllo and The Wand, you can enjoy your favorite wine and avoid some of the side effects.

On the hunt for a gift for your favorite oenophile? Browse some amazing wine gift ideas.


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