Stabilizing without added sulphites?

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CheerfulHeart

Still wineing
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Hello all,

Newbie question. Are chemicals available to stabilize wine without adding sulphites? I just found out a number of friends are sensitive to that.

Thank you.
 
A dry wine does not need to be stabilized, there is no sugar for refermentation.

Generally speaking sulphites are as important for preventing chemically produced off flavors. If you are looking at a work around you can look toward red wine with tannins that soak up oxidizers and non reactive head spaces, ,,, but is will not last as long as if you use sulphites.
If you are gallon size try it. You may not need shelf life.
 
Newbie question. Are chemicals available to stabilize wine without adding sulphites? I just found out a number of friends are sensitive to that.
David's question is important -- are you asking about stabilizing a wine or preserving it?

If you need to stabilize a wine, without sulfite, there are methods, which I've described in this post:

https://wine.bkfazekas.com/backsweetening-wine/
Wow, I wrote this in 1998. I need to update the article to include bulk aging for 9 months to let the yeast die.


OTOH, if you're looking to preserve the wine for longer and better shelf life, then there's not anything I know of that is as effective as sulfite, as it's an anti-oxidant as well as preservative. In this case, David's advice is the only one I know of. Generally speaking, plan to use sulfite-free wines within 2 years or less, or risk them declining. Sure some wines without sulfite will last longer, but you don't know a wine is declining until it does, and then it's too late.
 
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Good answers on the technical question already. I'm just writing to say that even if you make a wine with no sulfites added added, that wine is still very likely to contain naturally occurring sulfites. So if your friends are truly allergic or at least sensitive to sulfites it still may not be the best idea for them to drink your wine; and you should not call if sufite free, but instead say 'no sulfites added but some occur naturally in wine.'

But you also said that a number of friends are sensitive to sulfites, and I feel like folks often attribute things like sensitivity to sulfites, when in fact they may not be sensitive to sulfites at all. They may instead be sensitive to alcohol, or sensitive to tannins (which are similar to histamines), or phenolic flavonoids. Basically scientists say that only about 1% of people are truly sensitive to sulfites, but because this 1% is truly allergic to sulfites we see warning labels about sulfites and now everyone attributes things like 'red wine headaches' to sulfites which are likely not the culprit. Good read on the topic here: The science behind those painful wine headaches

You could draw a parallel between sulfites and gluten. Only a few people are truly gluten intolerant but many more people try to avoid gluten for a variety or reasons (some more sound than others).
 
Thank you everyone for your valuable and much appreciated insight and wisdom. I am most appreciative. I will definitely read all the information. More questions will likely come but I am grateful for all you have shared.
Many thanks!
 
Good answers on the technical question already. I'm just writing to say that even if you make a wine with no sulfites added added, that wine is still very likely to contain naturally occurring sulfites. So if your friends are truly allergic or at least sensitive to sulfites it still may not be the best idea for them to drink your wine; and you should not call if sufite free, but instead say 'no sulfites added but some occur naturally in wine.'

But you also said that a number of friends are sensitive to sulfites, and I feel like folks often attribute things like sensitivity to sulfites, when in fact they may not be sensitive to sulfites at all. They may instead be sensitive to alcohol, or sensitive to tannins (which are similar to histamines), or phenolic flavonoids. Basically scientists say that only about 1% of people are truly sensitive to sulfites, but because this 1% is truly allergic to sulfites we see warning labels about sulfites and now everyone attributes things like 'red wine headaches' to sulfites which are likely not the culprit. Good read on the topic here: The science behind those painful wine headaches

You could draw a parallel between sulfites and gluten. Only a few people are truly gluten intolerant but many more people try to avoid gluten for a variety or reasons (some more sound than others).
I love this, Something I think almost no one takes into account is how much water they have had that day. One article I found said 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. If you don't drink enough water and drink something that dehydrates you further... 8 glasses to a gal. a day, and I bet a lot of those headaches would go away.
 
Gilmango I liked your post
I watched a docu-vlog the other day that was about the modern sensitivity to glutens, peanuts, etc. and they explained that most those who claim these intolerances are not that. Yes there are some who it can do serious harm to, but they are not as many as to create a industry of restaurants that cater to them.
Sulfites have been argued for years and a lot of vineyards brag they do not use them. I use them and find they help the finished product.
 
When you guys talk about "sulfites" and "adding sulfites", what specific chemical are you referring to? K-meta, Na-meta, SO2 or something else?
 
When you guys talk about "sulfites" and "adding sulfites", what specific chemical are you referring to? K-meta, Na-meta, SO2 or something else?
Adding on to Paul's answer, Na-meta was commonly used decades ago as it was a lot cheaper to produce. However, in recent years its usage has been phased out in part to reduce the sodium level, and IIRC, the K-meta ionizes better. Overall, from our POV K-meta is a better product.

Both produce SO2, so if you see a reference to SO2, it's due primarily to the addition of K-meta. Grapes have a small amount naturally, but in winemaking circles mention of SO2 normally is related to adding K-meta.

To make things more confusing, folks (including me) will use "K-meta" in 2 different ways:

1. Adding powdered K-meta or Campden tablets to wine to produce SO2.

2. Using a sanitizing solution made with 2 to 3 Tbsp K-meta + 1 Tbsp acid (optional) in 1 US gallon of water.

For #2, any mention of K-meta with reference to sanitizing means using the solution. I usually remember to indicate sanitizing solution when that is the case, but admit that sometimes I fail.
 
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Thank you Bryan...I've bookmarked your website as another source of info. Boy there's a lot to learn! I haven't been this excited about a new hobby in a long time.
Glad to help!

Go to the Whitepapers page -- there are a few "overall process" posts that document my understanding and methods. And keep in mind that there are often numerous paths that all work, some of which are contradictory.
 
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