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Old 10-20-2008, 09:49 PM   #1
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I have a strawberry wine that I made this summer and would like to get it into bottles after stabilizing and sweetening. I know I need potassium sorbate to inhibit any fermentation of the back-added sugar, but is it absolutely necessary for me to add metabisulfite to stabilize?

My problem is that I added K-meta prior to the fermentation and found out I seem to have a low taste threshold for "free-SO2". It seems like I can still taste the residual sulfites in the wine.

It seems to me that if I can leave beer bottle for a year using my current practices that a wine should be fine for that long too without going bad (turning to vinegar) after not adding sulfites. Now I know that hops have antibacterial properties, but I can't see how sulfite would be such a necessary addition in a wine that has a bunch more alcohol than beer.

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:53 PM   #2
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Two reasons why I think the sulfites are important- sorbate works better in the presence of sulfites. That's the main one. The second is probably not a concern with strawberry wine, but if there is a concurrent MLF fermentation going on, adding just sorbate alone will cause a smell like geraniums and ruin the wine. Since strawberry wine is mostly citric acid, though, I don't think MLF is a concern.

If you can taste the sulfite, it may have been over 50 ppm. If you're really concerned, I'd still use it, but 1/2 the usual dosage when you add the sorbate.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:30 AM   #3
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I have a similar question about stabilizing finished wines that seemed to fit in this thread-
Just wanted an opinion out there. Usually my wines ferment out fully dry-at that point I have sweetened some of them up a bit, but to be sure they don't restart again, I stabilize the wine ahead of time with: 2 1/2 teaspoons Sorbate + 5 camphden tablets. I found this combination and amount reading somewhere. The problem is, it seems I get a little sulpher nose- a bite later when I open a bottle. I'm wondering if I'm stabilizing the correct way. Any ideas?

In another case, I bought the commercial "stabilizer" that is supposed to "stabize and sweeten" finished wines. I tried it on some blackberry, and it seemed to work pretty well-the wine didn't restart and it sweetened up the batch.

These are for 5 gal batches by the way.

Thanks in advance for any opinions you have-

 
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeurett View Post
I have a similar question about stabilizing finished wines that seemed to fit in this thread-
Just wanted an opinion out there. Usually my wines ferment out fully dry-at that point I have sweetened some of them up a bit, but to be sure they don't restart again, I stabilize the wine ahead of time with: 2 1/2 teaspoons Sorbate + 5 camphden tablets. I found this combination and amount reading somewhere. The problem is, it seems I get a little sulpher nose- a bite later when I open a bottle. I'm wondering if I'm stabilizing the correct way. Any ideas?

In another case, I bought the commercial "stabilizer" that is supposed to "stabize and sweeten" finished wines. I tried it on some blackberry, and it seemed to work pretty well-the wine didn't restart and it sweetened up the batch.

These are for 5 gal batches by the way.

Thanks in advance for any opinions you have-
That seems to be the correct dosage for 5 gallons, but but if you're getting a sulfur nose, I wonder how long you're waiting to open a bottle. Also, check the "dosage" of your campden tablets- just to make sure you're in the 50 ppm range. I've heard that does vary, even though it hasn't been my experience. You can also buy k-meta powder, so you can more precisely add k-meta (very small quantities at a time, like 1/8 tsp).

What I would do is stabilize by racking to a new carboy, wait about 5 days, and then sweeten to taste and then bottle. That may allow some of the free so2 to disapate some, but still protect the wine.
Those commercial stabilizers are fine, if you want to use them instead. I prefer using the sorbate/campden so I can sweeten to my preference, but if the wine conditioner works for you, that's great.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:22 AM   #5
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I'm not opening the wine too soon-sometimes months after I bottle. What I try to do in sequence is this: Wine is dry and racked 3-4 times in a yr. I add sorbate and camphden tablets, let sit for a week. Add sugar to sweeten, let sit a few more days to be sure it doesn't start up again. Rack to a bottling bucket, then bottle. I let the bottles sit upright for a few days (to let gasses escape?) then lay them down in my rack.

I'm wondering if I need to add that much sorbate/k-meta?

 
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeurett View Post
I'm not opening the wine too soon-sometimes months after I bottle. What I try to do in sequence is this: Wine is dry and racked 3-4 times in a yr. I add sorbate and camphden tablets, let sit for a week. Add sugar to sweeten, let sit a few more days to be sure it doesn't start up again. Rack to a bottling bucket, then bottle. I let the bottles sit upright for a few days (to let gasses escape?) then lay them down in my rack.

I'm wondering if I need to add that much sorbate/k-meta?
You may not- if you don't have an so2 meter, you may be way overdosing with sulfite. Of course, maybe not. The sorbate is not what you're smelling- it sounds like the sulfite. The sorbate dose should remain the same ( double check the dose for your brand, mine is 2/3 tsp per gallon, but only up to a total of 1.5 tsp) but you can try using less sulfite.

Do you sulfite at any of those rackings?
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