WineXpert Bottling first kit ever, SO2 question

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

mjc925

Junior
Joined
Mar 28, 2022
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
First, I wanted to thank all the member's who's posts I have read the past months as I am working on my first efforts at winemaking. I made two 5-gallon batches (on FWK Tuscon and one WE Chard batch) last March. I am getting ready to think about bottling them soon. My main question is, up until this point I have used Sanstar to sanitize my carboys when racking. For bottling I am thinking it would be better to use SO2 based sanitation. (Correct me if I am wrong). Anyway, I have the gadget that pumps the sanitizer into the bottle attached to a bottle tree. What I can't seem to get solid information on is what is the ratio of Sodium Metabisulphite to water to use. I plan on letting the bottles sit for at least 4-6 months before opening (for the red), probably 1-2 for the Chard (to get to at least 1 total year). Any input on a good ratio? As I stated, this is my very first wine batch, so some groping in the dark is occurring, so any tips or tricks would also be appreciated. Thanks.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
5,606
Reaction score
8,645
Location
O'Fallon, MO - Just NorthWest of St. Louis, MO
When I make sanitizing solution, I use two heaping tablespoons of potassium metabisulphite and one healing tablespoon of acid. Many use only citric acid. Sometimes I use acid blend, sometimes citric, sometimes tartaric acid. All that to one gallon of water and I just use regular tap water.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
7,090
Reaction score
18,188
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I use the same recipe as Craig (@cmason1957) -- I used to use 3 Tbsp K-meta, but 2 stinks just as bad!

Run a fan when working with K-meta -- it's nasty in the lungs. If it stinks, it's still good. Sniff VERY gently, like wafting you hand over the jug towards your nose. You do NOT want a sniffer full of fumes, so don't sniff directly from the jug.

This is basic safety when working with all chemicals.
 

GaDawg

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
1,462
Reaction score
2,015
I’ve been using Star San for 12 years on my bottles without a problem.
 

mjc925

Junior
Joined
Mar 28, 2022
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Thanks all for the replies. Still a little confused regarding Star San vs K-meta. I use Star San for the steps up to this point (and when I make beer), but I was trying to figure out if K-meta at bottling is better to get the SO2 level in the bottle up slightly to help offset the O2 introduced during bottling. Am I incorrect in that thought cause I sure would use Star San if there was no difference. Or should I just add S02 directly into the 5-gallon carboy right before bottling to modify the S02 levels and use Star San for convenience of sanitizing the bottle (and if so, how much added directly into the car boy). Thanks again for all info.
 

Jim Welch

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
Messages
475
Reaction score
742
I add k meta to the wine if needed then bottle in Star San sanitized bottles. Either way described here will work to sanitize but not sure how much meta k will get into the bottle if they’re drained as in on a bottle tree.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
7,090
Reaction score
18,188
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
Thanks all for the replies. Still a little confused regarding Star San vs K-meta. I use Star San for the steps up to this point (and when I make beer), but I was trying to figure out if K-meta at bottling is better to get the SO2 level in the bottle up slightly to help offset the O2 introduced during bottling. Am I incorrect in that thought cause I sure would use Star San if there was no difference. Or should I just add S02 directly into the 5-gallon carboy right before bottling to modify the S02 levels and use Star San for convenience of sanitizing the bottle (and if so, how much added directly into the car boy). Thanks again for all info.
You want to add a dose of K-meta to the wine, stirring well, before bottling. This is the last dose the the wine will receive, so it is important for long shelf life. I use K-meta regardless of how long I expect a wine to last, as things change, and once it's bottled, it's bottled.

The normal dose is 1/4 tsp K-meta in 5/6 US gallons of wine.

I prefer to use K-meta solution at bottling time, but if you dosed the wine with K-meta (as described), I doubt there is any significant difference if you use Star San. Use whichever you feel more comfortable with.

A lot of what we do may not be strictly necessary -- but better to take one precaution too many than too few.
 

bstnh1

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
1,817
Reaction score
4,295
Location
In the woods of New Hampshire
I add k meta to the wine if needed then bottle in Star San sanitized bottles. Either way described here will work to sanitize but not sure how much meta k will get into the bottle if they’re drained as in on a bottle tree.
According to Tim Vandegrift, sanitizing bottles with k-meta leaves virtually no SO2 in the bottle. According to Tim, within a couple of minutes the measurable SO2 in a bottle or other sanitized surface is negligible. He talked about this in an article where he discussed no need to rinse after sanitizing with K-meta. I'll post a link to it if I can find it.

See 23:55 of this video.

https://www.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnEasQsVcyoyoutube.com/watch?v=GnEasQsVcyo
 
Last edited:

Jim Welch

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
Messages
475
Reaction score
742
According to Tim Vandegrift, sanitizing bottles with k-meta leaves virtually no SO2 in the bottle. According to Tim, within a couple of minutes the measurable SO2 in a bottle or other sanitized surface is negligible. He talked about this in an article where he discussed no need to rinse after sanitizing with K-meta. I'll post a link to it if I can find it.

See 23:55 of this video.

https://www.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnEasQsVcyoyoutube.com/watch?v=GnEasQsVcyo
I’m not surprised, I’ve no real world experience nor until now have seen any documentation on residual meta k from using it to sanitize but it is very volatile and reactive so felt intuitively that there’d be little or no SO2 contribution from a sanitizing solution made with it.
Maybe I’m incorrect here but reading between the lines in the OP I get the feeling he thinks there may be a meta k contribution to the bottled wine from the sanitizing solution. He has Star San, the bottle pump, and a bottle tree after all.
What you link to shows there will be a negligible contribution at best.
 

mjc925

Junior
Joined
Mar 28, 2022
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Thanks, these answers have removed much of the uncertainty I had about this step. To clarify for Jim, my uncertainty was that I usee Star San up to now in the process (mainly cause I am familiar with it from beer brewing and had a bunch laying around), but I assumed there is no SO2 contribution from Star San. My confusion was thinking you wanted/needed a SO2 contribution from the sanitizer for the final bottling phase so when I watched some videos of people using K-meta I assumed it both sanitized and added just enough kick of SO2 to work in the bottle. People here saying that there isn't enough SO2 to do that clarifies to me I misunderstood that step so thanks all for setting me straight. So is it OK to assume I should just add like 1/4 teaspoon to the carboy right before bottling and mix it in and not worry about which of the two sanitizers I use? And an even (possibly) dumber question, does the amount of K-meta vary between whites and reds? Thanks again all for the help, I appreciate it!
 

Jim Welch

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
Messages
475
Reaction score
742
Thanks, these answers have removed much of the uncertainty I had about this step. To clarify for Jim, my uncertainty was that I usee Star San up to now in the process (mainly cause I am familiar with it from beer brewing and had a bunch laying around), but I assumed there is no SO2 contribution from Star San. My confusion was thinking you wanted/needed a SO2 contribution from the sanitizer for the final bottling phase so when I watched some videos of people using K-meta I assumed it both sanitized and added just enough kick of SO2 to work in the bottle. People here saying that there isn't enough SO2 to do that clarifies to me I misunderstood that step so thanks all for setting me straight. So is it OK to assume I should just add like 1/4 teaspoon to the carboy right before bottling and mix it in and not worry about which of the two sanitizers I use? And an even (possibly) dumber question, does the amount of K-meta vary between whites and reds? Thanks again all for the help, I appreciate it!
Most folks here add the 1/4 tsp before bottling I believe. Reds and whites do have different requirements for recommended SO2 levels.
If there is any sediment in the aging Carboy and you have a spare empty Carboy it would help to rack off the sediment with the 1/4 tsp already dissolved and in the empty Carboy before bottling to keep that sediment if any out of your bottles
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
7,090
Reaction score
18,188
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
Most folks here add the 1/4 tsp before bottling I believe. Reds and whites do have different requirements for recommended SO2 levels.
If there is any sediment in the aging Carboy and you have a spare empty Carboy it would help to rack off the sediment with the 1/4 tsp already dissolved and in the empty Carboy before bottling to keep that sediment if any out of your bottles
I always do a final racking before bottling, leaving a bottle or so in the carboy. This allows me to ensure the final dose of K-meta is distributed, and that I have 24 or 29 crystal clear bottles (depending on carboy size). The remainder is the last bottle, which if muddy is ok -- it gets used first.
 

GaDawg

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
1,462
Reaction score
2,015
I have been told Star San sanitizes on contact and k meta takes some amount of time. Is this correct?
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
14,158
Reaction score
16,574
Location
near Milwaukee
I have been told Star San sanitizes on contact and k meta takes some amount of time. Is this correct?
The manufacturer of Star San says there is a 1-2 minute contact time required:

Star San

  1. Thoroughly clean surfaces with PBW or compatible cleaner.
  2. Mix 1 oz. Star San for every 5 gal. of water.
  3. Apply on surface with cloth, mop, sponge, spray, or immersion.
  4. If using spray application, use a coarse mist, pump, or trigger sprayer and spray 6-8 inches from surface and follow up with a brush or sponge.
  5. Allow for contact time of at least 1-2 minutes.
  6. Drain, but do not rinse.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
7,090
Reaction score
18,188
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I have never given K-meta any "contact time". I use anything I've sprayed with K-meta as soon as I need it. That may be 15 minutes or it may be 15 seconds. I've never had an issue doing that.
If you are keeping your equipment clean, a sanitizer is probably not necessary. "Sanitizing" in our context is the removal of sufficient microbial life to reduce the risk to the wine to safe levels. Cleaning is the first step, and may be sufficient.

But it's not guaranteed -- IMO the risk of losing a batch because of not using the full sanitization procedure is not worth it.
 

bstnh1

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
1,817
Reaction score
4,295
Location
In the woods of New Hampshire
If you are keeping your equipment clean, a sanitizer is probably not necessary. "Sanitizing" in our context is the removal of sufficient microbial life to reduce the risk to the wine to safe levels. Cleaning is the first step, and may be sufficient.

But it's not guaranteed -- IMO the risk of losing a batch because of not using the full sanitization procedure is not worth it.
I have never found an article that confirms the contact time for sanitizing with K-meta. Surely somewhere, someone has done a study to establish adequate contact time, but I haven't been able to find any such animal.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
7,090
Reaction score
18,188
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I have never found an article that confirms the contact time for sanitizing with K-meta. Surely somewhere, someone has done a study to establish adequate contact time, but I haven't been able to find any such animal.
I've seen several that said 10 minutes, so I accept that. I didn't save bookmarks.

My process normally has the equipment setting for a while, although I admit that I've rinsed equipment in between batches, doused with K-meta, and used it. I don't consider that ideal, but so far I've not had problems.

I also note that commercial wineries do not go to the levels that home winemakers do.
 

Latest posts

Top