Sodium metabisulfate at bottling time

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nakros

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I've been making wine (from kits) for around 2 months now. My first wine (a shiraz) has now been in the bottle for 1 month after 2 weeks primary and 3 weeks secondary. On bottling day, we ran the wine through a BunoVino filter, adding 1/4tsp sodium metabisulfate, and bottled.

We added the metabisulfate because the instructions for the kit (Wine Kitz) said that if you were to be storing the wine for longer than 6 months it's best to add. My wife and I opened the first bottle tonight, and while it tastes very good, it has a very sodium metabisulfate taste -- Just like when you mix it up for sanitizing.

Is this taste something that goes away with time? Is it really necessary if you are going to store your wine for a while (a few months/years?).
 

summersolstice

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You can't make a judgment on your wine after only a month in the bottle. Give red wine a minimum of 6 months before you can begin to assess the quality, and really a year would be best for bringing out the best in a lower end 10-12 litre kit. A 16 litre kit will reach its peak in about two years. White wine may be ok after 4-6 months. Yes, I know they may call them "6 week" kits but they aren't.
 
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nakros

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Thanks for the response -- I don't mind waiting in the least, but I would like to know whether the addition of the 1/4tsp sodium metabisulfate is worthwhile or needless? Since starting to make wine, I am trying to keep 3 kits in various stages so that eventually I can have a cellar full of nicely aged wines.
 

Yooper

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The sulfite is needed if you plan on keeping the wine longer than about 6 months or so. I don't use sodium metabisulfite, I use the potassium metabisulfite (same thing, but without sodium) but the taste will fade in a couple of months. The sulfites help preserve the wine and will start to fade with a little time.
 
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nakros

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Ok! Thanks for your help. Perhaps I'll try the potassium for the next couple of batches, and see if there is much difference in taste once the wines mature a bit.

Thanks again to both of you for your responses!
 

brian_g

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Ok! Thanks for your help. Perhaps I'll try the potassium for the next couple of batches, and see if there is much difference in taste once the wines mature a bit.

Thanks again to both of you for your responses!
As far as I understand potassium metabisulfate and sodium metabisulfate will have the same effects on wine. I don't think one tastes beter. Professional wineries are not allow (in the US) to use sodium metabisulfate in the wine, because it would add sodium to your diet. Since Americans already get too much sodium from junk food, we don't need it in our wine.

I know I'm a beginner at wine making, but it was my understanding that metabisulfate doesn't affect the taste if used in the correct amounts. But if you are tasting it, it may help to decant your wine prior to serving. sulfides produce a gas in the wine that over time escapes. Leting your wine air out should allow some of that gas to escape.
 
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