A chemistry graduate who claims his new gadget can filter out sulphites in wine as it is poured has launched on the market after securing $300,000 via crowdfunding.

This story was first published in 2015 and has been updated in September 2016 following Ullo’s commercial launch.

The device, named Ullo and pronounced ‘oo-lo’, is described by developer James Kornacki on Kickstarter as a ‘revolutionary purification’ product.

Kornacki has raised around $300,000 via crowdfunding. More than 2,000 investors signed up, according to a company statement.

From September 2016, Ullo went on sale for $79.99 via the company website.

According to Ullo’s Kickstarter page, a wine drinker can place the gadget on top of their wine glass. A filter made from food grade polymer then removes sulphites in wine as it is poured – returning the wine to its ‘natural state’, according to the company.

Sulphites in wine has become a contentious issue. Many winemakers argue that – even in small amounts – they are essential in helping to prevent oxidisation and preserving freshness in wine.

But sulphites are a recognised allergen and their presence must be printed on bottle labels by law in the European Union, which sets maximum limits of 150mg per litre for red wines and 200mg per litre for white and rose wines. In the US, wines can contain up to 350mg per litre and ‘sulfites’ must also be printed on labels if present.

Several producers of so-called natural wine refuse to use sulfites at all, while others have sought to reduce usage in recent years.

By the end of 23 July 2015, Ullo had raised around $16,000. Kornacki, a chemistry graduate, founded Ullo as a business in 2014 in Chicago and said he created the device in partnership with design agency Minimal.

Ullo said 10 filters were likely to cost $20 and a launch is planned for February 2016.

Sulfur dioxide

Sulfur dioxide (SO2)

Preservative which is added to nearly all wines to protect them from oxidation and microbial infection.

  • William

    It seems an interesting device, but did any independant 3rd party tested how much sulfite were present in the wine before and after using Ullo, measuring how much sulfite were eliminated ? I cannot believe it eliminates 100% of the sulfites 100% of the time. If this device has been developped by a scientist, then there must be some scientific data to back it up ! thanks

  • James Kornacki

    It works by capturing the sulfite ions in wine onto a solid phase polymer through a process called bisulfite adduction. So yes, there is a chemical reaction involved, but no chemicals are added to make this happen.

  • Patrick Nijs

    No way… that would make your red wine rosé and white wine watery clear 😉

  • It would be interesting to know how it works. There must be a chemical reaction involved, to oxidise SO2. Oxygenated water (hydrogen peroxyde) is known for almost instantly oxidising sulphite turning them into sulphate which is neutral and naturally present in many foods. Is it what’s involved here? Julien of http://socialvignerons.com/