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Sulphur dioxide

The designation "E220" is used in the food industry within the European Union and "220" in the New World for the colourless, mucous membrane-irritating, pungent smelling and acid tasting, toxic gas. It is mainly produced during the combustion of sulphur-containing fossil fuels such as coal or petroleum products. It contributes significantly to air pollution and is the cause of "acid rain"(pH value for precipitation below 5.5). In winemaking, sulphur dioxide is used in gaseous and liquid form primarily as an oxidation inhibitor or for the preservation of wines.

The gas is produced by burning sulphur cuttings, which is used in the so-called dry preservation of barrels. In so-called wet preservation, the gas is introduced into the water-filled barrels. The liquid form is created by increased atmospheric pressure. When the gas is combined with water (wine), a large proportion is converted into sulphurous acid, which is then converted into sulphites by further processes. Sulphur can trigger allergic reactions in food. For this reason, sulphur must be labelled if it exceeds 10 mg/l, which is the case for almost all wines. See the maximum permitted values for each type of wine under sulphurous acid.

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Egon Mark

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Egon Mark
Diplom-Sommelier, Weinakademiker und Weinberater, Volders (Österreich)

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