Don’t Fear the Sulfites

I know several people who won’t drink wine “because of the sulfites.” One friend says the sulfites trigger her asthma. Another friend is convinced that’s what gives her a headache after a night of drinking.

Maybe it’s because many wine labels say “Contains Sulfites” like a warning, but many people have the mistaken idea that sulfites are bad for you, says Will Lyons of the Wall Street Journal. Lyons writes that some of the safest foods — and ones that won’t get you drunk, like apricots — have even higher levels of sulfites than wines.

Sulfites in wine are sulfur compounds added as preservatives. They help keep wine from oxidizing and turning into vinegar.

Those bad reactions some people may have after drinking wine, such as runny noses or headaches, are probably due to other factors. However, a tiny population of people can have allergic reactions to sulfites, especially asthmatics. So, my friend is probably not off base for passing on the wine.

New York’s Wine Industry is Going Strong

Despite how harsh this long, miserable winter has been to Upstate New York’s vineyards, research shows that New York wineries are booming. recently reported on research conducted for the New York Wine & Grape Foundation showing the enormous growth in the Empire State’s wineries in the last three decades.

In 1976 New York only had 14 wineries, but by 2013 there were 416 wineries in 53 of the state’s 63 counties. A lot of credit goes to the New York Farm Winery Act in 1976, which made it easy for small wineries to flourish with incentives and reduced regulations.

And it’s not just New York’s impressive number of wineries that signals growth. Finger Lakes-area wineries, in particular, are receiving critical claim even on an international scale. The New York State wine industry is worth about $4.8 billion a year.

Oh, and we got a mention in this article!

The Sweet Spot Returns

The Sweet Spot Returns

sweet spotWe’ve been busy making one of our favorite wines, the Sweet Spot. Now it’s ready, so come on in and stock up on this sweet, jammy wine made with Concord grapes. I highly recommend pairing it with a peanut butter sandwich for a grown up PB&J.

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Were in Your Wine

Royalty Free/Corbis

Royalty Free/Corbis

You probably know all the basics that go into making wine. You’ve got the grapes, the yeast, the sulfites and the tannins down pat, but a recent WineEnthusiast article shows that so much more than grapes, fermentation and patience makes the wine on your table.


Winemakers often add potassium sorbate to ward off bacteria — just like in cheese.  Enzymes remove  impurities after fermentation and certain acids may be added to a wine to act on color, particle stability, aging and microbes.


Winemakers may add certain agents to boost a wine, whether it be flavor or alcohol. You may think those grapes are naturally sweet enough, but WineEnthusiast explains that sometimes winemakers have underripe grapes, so sugar is often added to boost the alcohol content. Sugar can also improve mouthfeel. A wine-grape juice concentrate called Mega Purple may be added to boost color and sugar. Oak chips, powders or staves in different flavors like vanilla or leather can help improve consistency.

Fining Agents:

Now here are some of the more, err, stranger things that go into making wines. Fining agents clear out the particles that cause sediment and cloudiness in a wine. They can also help stabilize the wine and help with color.  These agents include fish bladders, bentonite clay, mammal proteins and plastic. WineEnthusiast assures these agents are filtered out of the final product. 

So there you have it: this is how your wine is made.

Introducing Lakeland Winery’s Wholesale Winemaking Club

wine_in_cratesKeep your wine cellar fully stocked by joining our wholesale winemaking club. Make three different wines with us and get subsequent winemaking batch prices reduced: $175 to $259 a batch. You also get to taste five wines for free.

And, for every wine you make, get your loyalty card punched for additional savings.

Contact Elise at [email protected] or 315-277-2675 (CORK) for any questions you might have about our club.