Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The next item in our list of label items is a required one, the sulfite statement. This became a required item on all wine labels on January 9, 1987 for wines containing more than 10 parts per million of sulfur dioxide. This item’s appearance came about in large part from the influence of the health lobby as there can be allergic sensitivities to sulfur. Sulfur dioxide is a very prevalent product in the both the grape growing and winemaking process for essentially all wineries. It acts as a preservative from spoilage in both situations. Sulfur dioxide is also present in the genetic make-up, so to speak of wine grapes. Some wineries specifically choose to limit their use of it once the grapes have come into the winery for winemaking style or marketing purposes. If a winery chooses not to put the “Contains Sulfites” statement that is required, they must submit proof in the form of a certified laboratory test which documents the total sulfur dioxide level at less than 10 parts per million. They also cannot make any direct references on their label text to their low to no-use of sulfur, as the TTB sees this as potentially confusing to the consumer.
Next topic: Net contents.