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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > What can I use instead of Potassium Metabisulfite?
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:02 AM   #1
BrewPahl
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Default What can I use instead of Potassium Metabisulfite?

I am allergic to sulfides and was wondering what I could use instead of this for wine stabilization?

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Old 12-29-2009, 08:17 AM   #2
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If you like dry wines, time. And maybe some cold temperatures to stop the yeast, if it's getting a little too dry. You could use a lower-attenuation yeast if you want a sweet finish, and cold crash to make sure if you're worried it'll re-ferment.

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Old 12-29-2009, 12:29 PM   #3
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If you're in the 1% of the population who are allergic to sulfites, are you certain you should even be drinking wine? Sulfites are a natural byproduct of fermentation. Look here to read about Common Myths about Sulfites in Wine.

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Old 12-29-2009, 06:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewPahl View Post
I am allergic to sulfides and was wondering what I could use instead of this for wine stabilization?

Copper.

That is joke.

A play on the misuse of the word sulfide.

I'm pretty sure you meant sulfite.

Fine line, but they are two different things. Sulfides create off aromas and flavors in wine; like hydrogen sulfide, the rotten egg smell, which is easily removed with judicious copper additions.

Sulfites are the 'salt' agents that help preserve wine and what you are claiming allergies to, which you should report to the gov as last time I looked, they have yet to document anyone who is allergic to sulfites. That's not to say that you don't react to them.

And to finally answer your question, you can make wine without sulfite additions. For the most part, they will not be as long lived as a sulfited wine, and likely show signs of oxidation within a few months of bottling. It's important to use very clean technique, but if you're making beer without any infections, making wine should not be a problem. Using CO2 blankets helps tremendously, including evacuating any lines (tubing or hoses) with CO2 before transfers or filtering.

So a couple points of focus for non-sulfited wines:
  1. Focus on keeping pH levels as low as possible.
  2. Jack up on tannins. Tannins are antioxidants that can scavenge the free radicals from the wine, much the same way they do in your bloodstream I've heard differing viewpoints on whether or not boxed tannins can be protective in wine like naturally derived tannins. Clark Smith has told me that they do not, and I have tended to use his methods for winemaking. So I suggest selecting grape varieties that are traditionally high in tannins: Cab Sav is king!
  3. Shoot for winestyle(s) that harbor oxidation: vintage ports and sherrys. The high alcohol in these fortified styles will forgo the need of sulfites additions and allow off dry wines to be stable biologically. They will still oxidize with time, especially with any barrel aging, but thats actually promoted with sherries and accepted with ports.


As summersoltice said, there will be some sulfite present in any wine from the fermentation, the amount depending on the yeast used. It's usually not enough to exist in the free form. But then again your body creates sulfites continuously.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:35 PM   #5
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try out vitamin C



Grocery store solution:

A Vitamin C tablet crushed to powder will also completely neutralize Chlorine and Chloramine from water instantly.

Per reading on the internet.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloramine

Its an anti-oxidant and breaks the bond down in a similar fashion as camden.

Seems 1000 mg treats 75 gallons of water.

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Old 12-29-2009, 08:19 PM   #6
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People often view the terms allergy and intolerance as synonymous, which they aren't. Genuine allergic reactions usually happen to proteins, which sulfites aren't. Perhaps in people with breathing problems an exaggerated immune response leading to allergic shock can happen though. I wouldn't doubt it.

But here are my two cents on sulfites:

I'm not anti-sulfite or pro-sulfite. I don't sulfite my must personally, never needed to, and anything that smells that noxious by instinct I don't believe is healthy to have in any huge amount, but they are for most people fairly harmless. But the logic that because not sulfite salts but SO2 occurs naturally in wine that sulfite additions are somehow "natural" is pretty flawed. The yeast doesn't make SO2 in the kinds of concentrations that occur in wine that's had sulfite added, usually.

I see two sides of this issue, on one a very gung-ho pro-sulfite attitude often supported by the wine industry, and on the other side, an irrational hippie paranoia of anything percieved as unnatural without very much grounding in real science. I try to sit in the middle on the issue.

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Old 12-29-2009, 10:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
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<snip>
But the logic that because not sulfite salts but SO2 occurs naturally in wine that sulfite additions are somehow "natural" is pretty flawed. The yeast doesn't make SO2 in the kinds of concentrations that occur in wine that's had sulfite added, usually.

<snip>
The logic is not flawed because of the concentration involved, but rather the fact that it gets bound during the fermentation, so becomes detriment to the winemaking. There are actually some yeast that produce substantial amounts. The following article states upwards of 225 ppm for some 'wild' yeast, which would be a gross overdose in my winery, especially for a lower pH wine:

Yeast SO2 Article (pdf file)

But those levels occur mainly when there are upfront SO2 additions. From what I understand, there is still SO2 production from these yeast even without the initial SO2 addition, but the levels are somewhat less. From memory, I want to say the top end was about 60 ppm, which if it were in the free form, would be protective in most wines.

As is stated at the end of the article (and as I stated earlier), all the SO2 ends up being bound by the acetaldehyde, so the net effect is rather negative; not to mention the sulfide compounds that these types of yeast tend to produce.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:13 PM   #8
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try out vitamin C
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is not a good thing to add to wine unless Sulfites are used. Even though it's known as an antioxident in people, it tends to hasten oxidation in wine under some conditions.

It's used as a wine treatment when DMS occurs, but proper sulfiting is necessary and even then the wines are considered short lived.

See the second item in this article: Enology Notes
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:05 AM   #9
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Fascinating!

My logic always told me that sulfites probably have an influence on wine (or more properly the biology of the yeast) outside of the prevention of oxidation and inhibition of undesirable microbes, but I never saw any real data. It just made sense to me that since wine is so complex, the addition of a reactive compound to the wine might have a potentially more complex outcome.

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Old 12-30-2009, 12:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinic View Post


Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is not a good thing to add to wine unless Sulfites are used. Even though it's known as an antioxident in people, it tends to hasten oxidation in wine under some conditions.

It's used as a wine treatment when DMS occurs, but proper sulfiting is necessary and even then the wines are considered short lived.

See the second item in this article: Enology Notes
Ok, good to know, I was thinking from the beer side.
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