I put in Potassium Meta instead of sorbate!

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Senior Member
Feb 21, 2009
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Yesterday I was degassing my wine and I grabbed what I thought to be the sorbate, put it down and then promptly forgot and grabbed the potassium meta. Will this hurt the wine? I was planning on bottling on Tuesday.

You should have both in there. You really shouldnt use sorbate without k-meta as as a malo lactic fermentation can start and in the presence of sorbate will cause an off flavor. Are you asking this because you already added sulfite?
I'm asking this because I didn't want to add the sorbate if I had already added the potassium meta in case i wasn't suppose to. So then I will add the sorbate when I get home today.

I may have to start marking my plain white bottles with colored markers.
Right I added potassium metabisulphite, yesterday. I'm wondering if I can just not add the sorbate at all? I don't want to chance continued fermentation and possible exploding bottles (though I checked the SG and it's below .999.
If you are not going to sweeten the wine then you will be alright without the sorbate but sorbate additions do also help fight off bacteria infections. Ill see if I can find a post about it that I did on another site.
For those of you who dont know this there are more reasons for using sorbate then just to make sure your wine doesnt start fermenting again in the bottle after sweetening a wine. There are reasons to use it even if you havent sweeten your wine. Here is an article copied from Wikipedia for you to help understand this a little better. I know Masta posted something like this quite awhile ago but sometimes stuff gets forgotton and there are many new winemakers who could benefit from this.

Potassium sorbate is the potassium salt of sorbic acid. Its primary use is as a food preservative (E number 202). Potassium sorbate is effective in a variety of applications including food, wine, and personal care.

(1) Chemistry

The molecular formula of potassium sorbate is C6H7O2K and its systematic name is potassium (E,E)-hexa-2,4-dienoate. Its has a molecular weight of 150.22 g/mol. It is very soluble in water (58.2% at 20 °C). It is prepared by the reaction of sorbic acid with potassium hydroxide.

(2) Use

Potassium sorbate is used to inhibit molds and yeasts in many foods, such as cheese, wine, yogurt, dried meats, apple cider and baked goods. It can also be found in the ingredients list of many dried fruit products. In addition, herbal dietary supplement products generally contain potassium sorbate, which acts to prevent mold and microbes and to increase shelf life, and is used in quantities at which there are no known adverse health effects.[citation needed] Labeling of this preservative reads as "potassium sorbate" on the ingredient statement. Also, it is used in many personal care products to inhibit the development of microorganisms for shelf stability. Some manufacturers are using this preservative as a replacement for parabens.

Also known affectionately as "wine stabilizer", potassium sorbate produces sorbic acid when added to wine. It serves two purposes. When active fermentation has ceased and the wine is racked for the final time after clearing, potassium sorbate will render any surviving yeast incapable of multiplying. Yeast living at that moment can continue fermenting any residual sugar into CO2 and alcohol, but when they die no new yeast will be present to cause future fermentation. When a wine is sweetened before bottling, potassium sorbate is used to prevent refermentation when used in conjunction with potassium metabisulfite. It is primarily used with sweet wines, sparkling wines, and some hard ciders but may be added to table wines which exhibit difficulty in maintaining clarity after fining.
thanks again wade. Sometimes it's ahard to navigate the older posts. I don't know about others but sometimes I'm unsure of how to word the question that I want to ask. Thank you again for your help and patience.
That post was actually off another forum that I moderate so you could have been searching for months and never found that 1!
I would add the Sorbate. There is no reason you cant go ahead and add it. Wade is correct, you should add it after sulfite's. I didn't know that or really agree if it is really an issue though as the first couple dozen kits I made I put the sulfite and Sorbate pack together in a cup of water and added it to my wines with no ill effect. I have read that you can get a vegetale odor effect from not adding Sorbate after sulfite's but it has never happened to me.
That vegetal smell is what is to be believed from a malolactic fermentation inprogress with the sorbate and that is why the sulfite should always be added first as it will kill off a MLF.
I use sorbate only for wine that's sweetened with added sugar after fermentation has completed, and that's only one little batch per year because we like dry wine. Once all the sugar has been turned into alcohol, the instability in dry grape wines at this point is due to malic acid, and MLF starting up spontaneously after bottling. Adaquate sulphite levels will prevent it, as will purposely having the wine undergo an MLF with a starter culture.

Your best bet against bacteria infection is cleanliness, high alcohol content (12% +), low pH ( < 3.8), and SO2 (k-meta). Commercial wines (at least here) don't contain sorbate.
I assume you are saying commercial dry wines?

Yup, commercial dry wines. They have a lot of rules about what you can put into a commercial wine - both for good and for bad. For example, we home winemakers can balance grape wines and even add sugar without the wine police busting us! ;)

Interestingly, k-meta is allowed in wine up to a certain free ppm (forget the number), but Na-meta is strictly illegal. I guess the sodium is something many need to avoid; even the little bit added to wine. But then I wonder why people with ultra-high blood pressure are drinking wine to begin with.
The amount of sulfite they typically use is most of the time way more then we use as their wine is subjected to lots of light for store shelves and because they dont want it to go bad sitting on those shelves for extended periods of time.