Can we do more with less? #YesWeCan

12 Marzo 2014
Pubblicato in Wine thoughts

My name is Francesco. At Cantina Cirotto, I’m the one who “turns grapes into wine” .
Just to introduce myself, I’m not the kind of person who likes writing at all. I usually put down things in black and white on my pc files only when strictly necessary. Writing this post means to me like putting on a pair of boots 2 sizes smaller than mine: not a real comfort!
I have a matter at heart though, which always arises great interest (and many questions too) among wine lovers: sulphites.

I’ve been asked so many times over the years from customers, friends and wine enthusiasts about “sulphites”, that finally I’ve resolved to write this post to answer these questions:
1) what are sulphites in wine and what are they used for?
2) Are sulphites naturally contained in wine or not ?
3) What does “Contains Sulphites” on the back-label mean?
4) Are sulphites noxious to men’s health and /or to the wine itself?

Before answering these questions, I want to do just one simple thing:
To tell you what is the exact sulphites content of the wines I produce here at Cantina Cirotto.
This means to me like “doing the right thing” and reveal how exactly things work inside my winery walls. It’s a way to express my opinion in this regard.
To begin with, it is compulsory to print the words “contains sulphites” on the rear-label of each bottle, even though these 2 words actually don’t give an exact indication of the sulphites amount contained. And it does actually makes a difference if a wine is well below the maximum permitted limits or not.

According to EU rules all wines produced through traditional winemaking practices are permitted the following maximum “added sulphites” content:
150 mg/lt. for red wines
200 mg/lt. for white and rosè wines
Biological wines are permitted the following “maximum “added sulphites” content:
100 mg/lt. for red wines
150 mg./lt. for white and rosè wines

Here you find the exact sulphites content on all our wines. It is well below the maximum permitted limits, a great achievement to us:
Asolo Docg Superiore Prosecco Extra Dry  97 mg./lt.
Asolo Docg Superiore Prosecco Brut 95 mg./lt.
Asolo Docg Frizzante Prosecco  95 mg./lt.
Luxoro Cuvèe Spumante Brut  110 mg./lt.
Costalunga Manzoni Bianco Doc Montello e colli Asolani  92 mg./lt.
Costalunga Rosso Montello DOCG 66 mg./lt.
Cabernet Sauvignon Igt

Answers to friends FAQs questions:

1) and 2) In order to state what sulphites actually are, it is necessary to make a clear distinction between “natural sulphites” and “added sulphites”. It is important to remember that “natural sulphites” are also a natural by-product of the yeast metabolism during fermentation. So even if you don’t add any additional SO2, your wine will still contain sulphites. “Added sulphites”, on the other hand, is a sulphur dioxide widely used in wine making for a number of reasons:

a) because of its antioxidant properties
b) because of its antibacterial properties which helps to maintains a wine’s freshness
c) to block the natural alcoholic fermentation process; this technique is mainly used for the conservation of the so called “silent must”, which takes this name from the lack of that typical gurgling of the fermentation process.

3) The label “contains sulphites” affixed on the bottle, means that the wine contains more than 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur dioxide. Producers are not compelled to affix this label, in case the wine contains less than 10 ppm/lt SO2.

4) A quantity of added sulphites beyond the permitted levels may , in the long term, probably cause adverse and detrimental reactions both on the wine and the wine consumers. So the answer is yes;
However, an average consumption of sulphites is generally harmless, though in some case they are a potential danger for allergic reaction. A conscious consumer should be always willing to get information about the wines he’s buying and/or drinking.
Be aware that sulphites in wine are connected to the “headache effect”, above all when it goes about drinking too much of low quality wines. Medical research has proved the toxicological effects of sulfur dioxide (S02) in your body, so it is very important for producers to refrain from adding S02 during the wine-making process.
Sulphites, however, are not only widely used in wine-making practices, but in the whole food sector as well, as antioxidant and to keep products fresh for longer time. To quote some example: you can find added sulphites into deep-frozen food, biscuits, dried fruits, preserves, fruit-juices, vinegars, jams, tinned goods in general.


A better winery hygiene during the wine-making and more careful viticultural practices to ensure healthy grapes, can greatly help to reduce a lot the need for SO2 additions. I personally refrain from adding any SO2 until after the fermentation is completed.


La cantina è aperta al pubblico tutti i giorni con un punto vendita dei vini di nostra produzione e degustazione.

Possibilità di acquisto diretto dei vini; si accettano carte di credito.

Orari di apertura della Cantina:

Da Lunedì a Venerdì: 8.30 - 12.30 e 14.30 - 19.00

Sabato: 08.30 – 12.30 / pomeriggio chiuso.

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Medaille d’Argent al “Concours Mondial de Bruxelles” e Commended Medal al “Decanter International World Wine Awards” al nostro Asolo Superiore Docg Prosecco Brut millesimato 2013.

Guida AIS "Venetia" ai nostri Prosecco Extra Dry 2013,Costalunga Rosso 2011, Costalunga Bianco 2012