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Old 07-27-2010, 02:07 AM   #1
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Default Wine lover, allergic to sulfites, needs advice!

My wife loves wine, and does not love beer. I love beer, and wine! I am alergic to sulfites to the point to where I get stuffed up, sinuses, flush face, headaches, and sometimes if consuming a few glasses a small rash which lasts for a few days. SO.......after figuring out what caused it, I have stopped consuming wines by the glass. My wife still drinks them, and I have a sip here and there. I know some wines have more, and some contain less sulfites. I have been brewing beer for 6 years and have always wanted to make wine. I know the processes, and have the equipment to do so.

How can I make a low-sulfite wine, or even a sulfite free wine to consume. My wife loves semi-sweet whites, and Rieslings. I would like to make something similar so she and I can enjoy a bottle together.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

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Old 07-27-2010, 02:51 AM   #2
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Years ago I made wine using wild grapes, yeast & sugar. I didn't know then what sulfites or campden tablets were. The wine turned out great. It didn't last long as I was thirstier when I was younger. Today I'm making the same wine using pectic enzymes, yeast nutrients, campden tablets, etc. But, the wine still tastes the same. Just hoping it'll keep longer.

For a semi-sweet wine you may have to back-sweeten, then refridgerate. Not sure exactly how they do the sanitary filtering to remove the yeast.

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Old 07-27-2010, 02:52 AM   #3
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As I understand it sulfites are really only used as a preservative. Since sulfites are naturally a byproduct of fermentation you will never get a completely sulfite free wine (the US government allows a certain percentage of sulfites in "No Sulfite" wine). I googled "making sulfite free wine" and get several hits, including this one.
http://www.winemakermag.com/stories/wizard/article/133-can-i-make-a-sulfite-free-wine

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Old 07-27-2010, 03:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilted Brewer View Post
As I understand it sulfites are really only used as a preservative. Since sulfites are naturally a byproduct of fermentation you will never get a completely sulfite free wine (the US government allows a certain percentage of sulfites in "No Sulfite" wine). I googled "making sulfite free wine" and get several hits, including this one.
http://www.winemakermag.com/stories/wizard/article/133-can-i-make-a-sulfite-free-wine
Right- I was going to say that. There is no such thing as a totally sulfite-free wine (because it's a by product of fermentation), so if you are truly allergic, you can't consume any.

However, if you're simply "sensitive" to sulfites, you could make a no-added-sulfites wine. For any wine kit, just don't add the sulfites. Keep in mind that you'll need to vigilant with sanitation, and probably consume the wine fairly young since you won't have preservatives in it. "Fairly young" may be a year or two, so a kit that doesn't need to age much would qualify. Some of the cheaper Winexpert kits are designed to be drunk in less than 3-6 months, so I think that would work for you even though they aren't high-end kits. The higher end kits really need some aging (and hence probably some sulfites) to come into their own.
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Old 07-27-2010, 03:59 PM   #5
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So, just let it ferment out for a few months in secondary to drop out the yeast, and maybe do a 2 day chill to really drop the yeast out and then bottle and make sure everything is sanitized well?

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Old 07-27-2010, 04:00 PM   #6
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Is there a known preservative I can use other than sulfites for wines that require more time?

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Old 07-27-2010, 04:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN51277 View Post
Is there a known preservative I can use other than sulfites for wines that require more time?
Hops?

I know that sounds ridiculous, but I thought I would throw it out there since it is how beer stays fresh.

If I were you, I would worry about this later. Not only will you need to sulfites to last 2 years, but you will need better corks too. Not to mention you would need the highest end of kits and only specific wines would need it. It would be tough to not consume your wine for 2 years without a backlog of wine anyway I feel like.

Make a few batches, and see what happens. Get to know the process, then try to augment it if it is even necessary.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:01 AM   #8
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I assume don't sanitize your equipment with potassium or sodium metabilsulfites, but use something like Star San. You would have to be pretty flawless in your sanitization routine.

Don't use campden (potassium and sodium metabisulfites) tablets which are used pre fermentation to inhibit and kill bacteria, fungi, and wild yeasts that may be already present in the must. Some people who make mead boil the honey and water to sanitize, and others buy pasteurized juices like grape juice found in grocery stores, so this removes the need to add sulfites pre fermentation.

Post fermentation for the bottling or stabilization stage, wine makers add potassium metabilsulfites to wine to prevent infections as the wine may had become infected during the fermentation process, so companies use the sulfite as an insurance. The sulfite also helps fight oxidization as the sulfite is an antioxidant (SO2).

Sanitize your bottles well, and use really airtight corks.

Moreover, keep wine containers full, wine containers, such as barrels and tanks, should be completely filled with wine. In partially filled containers, the wine is exposed to the oxygen present in the headspace. To minimize the danger of oxidation, the 02 level in the headspace should be reduced to less than 1 percent. This can be achieved by blanketing the headspace with C02. some supply places sell products like Private Preserve to drive O2 out and place CO2 in the wine. Or you could put water in the wine to reduce headspace, or buy a bottle of wine, and add it to your wine to reduce headspace.

I believe tannins might also help preserve wine when aging.
.

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Old 07-29-2010, 08:42 AM   #9
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I just found something that removes the sulphites from wines before drinking for people who are allergic.

http://so2go.com.au/

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Old 08-07-2010, 02:54 PM   #10
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Another preservative you can use instead of sulfites is sorbate. Sorbate doesn't actually kill the yeast or other little fellas, it just prevents them reproducing... so you can still get sparkling wine even with sorbate in there because the yeast remain active (assuming you didn't filter).

If you filter and add sorbate, or if you pasteurize (hold at I believe 140F for 10 min) and add sorbate, or if you refrigerate (below 40F) after bottling I think you would be okay leaving the K-meta out.

That's just based on my limited experience.

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