Want to avoid some chemcials what are the alternatives ?

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artooks

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Hi,

As I am just starting out, I am reading quite a lot, I want to make the wine as natural as it can be is it possible, I see that some people are using the following chemicals, could you please tell me what I can use naturally instead of these chemicals.
  1. Wine Tannin
  2. Yeast Nutrient
  3. Acid Blend
  4. Pectic Enzyme
  5. Camden Tablet
  6. Potassium Sorbate
  7. Bentonite
I will be more than happy to find out, As fas as I understand, I think I can use steeped tea instead of tannin, for acid blend lemon juice, for potassium sorbet, pasteurization method, so are these true ?

Thanks
 

hounddawg

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Hi,

As I am just starting out, I am reading quite a lot, I want to make the wine as natural as it can be is it possible, I see that some people are using the following chemicals, could you please tell me what I can use naturally instead of these chemicals.
  1. Wine Tannin
  2. Yeast Nutrient
  3. Acid Blend
  4. Pectic Enzyme
  5. Camden Tablet
  6. Potassium Sorbate
  7. Bentonite
I will be more than happy to find out, As fas as I understand, I think I can use steeped tea instead of tannin, for acid blend lemon juice, for potassium sorbet, pasteurization method, so are these true ?

Thanks
wine tanning, i use crab apples,
i don't use Bentonite
numbers #2,,#3,,#4,, #6,, are pretty well needed as for Camden tablets i'd go with potassium metabisulphite powder also called K-Meta instead of campton, it protects you wine from oxidation and come bottle time sorbate and K-meta =potassium metabisulphite will stop refermentation,
i go as natural as possible, i make country wines, fruits an berries, sweet and a few semi-sweet, i never heat nothing, i freeze all my fruits and berries, you get more juice that way, what are you wanting to make,, grape wines, country wines, dry , sweet,, more info on what you wish to make and they can guide you all the way, do you have hydrometers, ph tester, carboys, ect, look on the forum page, you'll learn the terms used, and how to read a hydrometer, and so on ect,,, welcome and good luck
Dawg
 

artooks

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wine tanning, i use crab apples,
i don't use Bentonite
numbers #2,,#3,,#4,, #6,, are pretty well needed as for Camden tablets i'd go with potassium metabisulphite powder also called K-Meta instead of campton, it protects you wine from oxidation and come bottle time sorbate and K-meta =potassium metabisulphite will stop refermentation,
i go as natural as possible, i make country wines, fruits an berries, sweet and a few semi-sweet, i never heat nothing, i freeze all my fruits and berries, you get more juice that way, what are you wanting to make,, grape wines, country wines, dry , sweet,, more info on what you wish to make and they can guide you all the way, do you have hydrometers, ph tester, carboys, ect, look on the forum page, you'll learn the terms used, and how to read a hydrometer, and so on ect,,, welcome and good luck
Dawg
Hi,

Thanks for the quick reply, I am myself coming from distilling so I am not very far away from the concept, but again I never made a wine, I would like to make wine from fruits mainly, triple berry wine, I know about the gear so in that part I am ok, I see people use too many chemicals, and some people don't so I really would like to opt to use natural ingredients.
 

hounddawg

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Hi,

Thanks for the quick reply, I am myself coming from distilling so I am not very far away from the concept, but again I never made a wine, I would like to make wine from fruits mainly, triple berry wine, I know about the gear so in that part I am ok, I see people use too many chemicals, and some people don't so I really would like to opt to use natural ingredients.
distilling is big time taboo, they ban people for life on distilling or politics . read the forums rules,
Dawg
 

artooks

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distilling is big time taboo, they ban people for life on distilling or politics . read the forums rules,
Dawg
Sorry about it, I did not know that and I did not speak about it just mentioned it to show that I know about the gears that's all.
 

franc1969

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They aren't really chemicals, any more than normal recipe ingredients are chemicals, like vanilla extract, or baking powder, or corn starch, or sugar, or salt. Most of those are refined before they are sold for cooking. Salt can be found as 'sea salt', but is generally mined and refined. White sugar is refined from beets, or cane, Dried cane sugar is still refined from cane juice, some things are removed during processing to make the result palatable. Date syrup is made from fruit, but is not fruit, it is processed. Who knows how to get agave syrup, but it is certainly a manufactured product. Unless you are using honey - that can be found unrefined, but is otherwise stripped of pollen, and much generic big box store 'honey' isn't. Even wheat flour is generally not a whole grain - that would go bad pretty quickly, and doesn't work for many American foods.
  1. Wine Tannin - typically oak or chestnut tannin, or grape tannin extracts. You could use oak powder, essentially sawdust sold for purpose. Tea is fine, if you can decide on amounts of tannin you get. Many country wine recipes use this. Crabapples or tannic apples in cider. I've not aged in wood, I don't know what tannin that adds, but wood will also add flavors.
  2. Yeast Nutrient - go for the organic version, no DAP. Or boiled bread yeast. Essentially you want nutrients, if you use all grapes, you might not need it, some grapes have very low nitrogen though. Lack of nutrients cause yeast stress, and volatiles you do not want. Some old-world winemakers don't worry about flies and maybe a mouse, but -ew-. [Adds B vitamins!]
  3. Acid Blend - again, grapes may not need acids. Other fruits may need acids- lemon juice has a different acid, research what you want to taste. Blends can be weird anyway, various companies can do what they want, use tartaric or a given acid instead.
  4. Pectic Enzyme - don't need if grapes, apples or pears no choice, other fruits maybe. You may have haze, no way to get past that if not willing to use.
  5. Camden Tablet - I hate these, use potassum metabisulfite powder. I have always had something floating after using tablets. I don't know what they are, but I know the kmeta is only kmeta. Don't use if you'd rather not, but your wine is prone to other organisms besides your chosen yeast, and will be prone to oxidation. It also will not store long, as in, drink within a year, or two at most. Bottle quickly from fermentation, and keep carboys full.
  6. Potassium Sorbate - do not sweeten your wine. You will not need this unless you do. Add what you might want as you drink it. Do not pasteurize, that is awful for wine, and dangerous to figure out.
  7. Bentonite - used in kits, mostly. It's a refined clay, same stuff you can get for facial masks or making your own tablets but is food grade clay. If you are attempting 'natural' I doubt you want kits, they are concentrates. You will likely want no clearing agents, the only 'natural' one is some variation of mixing your own egg whites. Waiting long enough for wine to clear on it's own before bottling means more use of #5, but most of my wines dropped in the first month, maybe two. It's enough, I have never filtered, but I own one now, so maybe. If you are doing country wine, most do not clear fast, at least for me.
I make wine the same way I bake, cook, and eat. I don't use much packaged food, but I do buy lots of processed things. My niece was appalled by my cabinets full- "It's all ingredients!" Not entirely true- lots of crackers, jams and salsa, but the cans of tomato and coconut threw her.
 
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I see people use too many chemicals, and some people don't so I really would like to opt to use natural ingredients.
@franc1969 described things well; most of what you listed is a refined version of what is already in the wine. There are alternatives for most things.
  1. Wine Tannin -- add toasted white oak chips, shreds, or dust during fermentation, or as @hounddawg said, blend in a fruit that is high in tannin. Note that either method flavors the wine while tannin powder adds only structrure.
  2. Yeast Nutrient -- yeast needs nutrient; if it's stressed it can produce H2S, which you really don't want. While you can make your own, it's not significantly different from packaged.
  3. Acid Blend -- lemons work, although it's citric acid, not tartaric.
  4. Pectic Enzyme -- if you have a pectic haze, add enzyme or live with the haze. I don't know of an alternative.
  5. Camden Tablet -- sulfite is not required, but without it the wine is susceptible to a host of competing organism, more likely to oxidize, and will have a shorter shelf life. Sulfite has been used in winemaking for centuries -- Campden tablets and K-meta powder are FAR easier to use than burning sulfur sticks ...
  6. Potassium Sorbate -- only needed if backsweetening. While you can pasteurize, this typically negatively affects the wine.
  7. Bentonite -- it's just clay, clarified for winemaking purposes. Fining agents are not required as most wines clear on their own. However, for white wines, bentonite removes a protein haze if it exists.
Two huge advantages of using the refined additives are ease of use and measurability. Powders are easy to work with, and you know exactly how much is going into the wine. "Make strong tea from 2 tea bags" is very subjective, as is "juice of 2 lemons".

Some of the guys that taught me did things "naturally". Crush the grapes, let the yeast on the skins do their thing, press, and start drinking it. Shelf life was NOT an issue. Occasionally the wine was really good, sometimes it was really bad, and most of the time it was something to get drunk from. Applying a bit of science to the art of winemaking produces consistently better results.

I recommend reading further on each item you listed, to get more background. This will give you better information with which to make your decisions.
 

Scooter68

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There are always exceptions but on your list the only real "Chemicals" are numbers 5 & 6. Bentonite is volcanic clay. The others are extracts which can be made through natural means.

If you really want to go 'old-school' you might want to look up/read about the way the Europeans made wine back in the 1800s. BUT keep in mind that spoilage is likely to creep in and quality may vary greatly. And you are pretty much going to be left to making ONLY wine from grapes, which might be your intent anyway.

I also would like to point out that while wine is very resilient to mistakes, back in the olden days, if a family suffered from a bad case of food poisoning or consuming spoiled products, there weren't newspapers publishing the latest sad story, it just happened - so just be careful and sanitary with your processes. Those chemicals that are used these days are aimed at product safe, good tasting and longer lasting wine. So if you make a large batch, you best have the help to consume that wine quickly as it typically does not keep well.
Oh and be very careful about following any You Tubers "WIne Making Made Simple" videos. In general such videos are of a very "iffy" accuracy in terms of good practices.
 

balatonwine

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these chemicals.
  1. Wine Tannin
  2. Yeast Nutrient
  3. Acid Blend
  4. Pectic Enzyme
  5. Camden Tablet
  6. Potassium Sorbate
  7. Bentonite

I grow my own grapes. From that list I only use potassum metabisulfite powder, which is the same as camden, but not in tablet form.

All other things are not really needed for me. If you have good quality fruit, and know how to make wine with grapes* the traditional way, and happy to make a vintage (i.e. accept whatever chemistry the grapes give, and do not try to correct to make it "perfect") you do not need these chemicals. For example, bentonite is used to clarify wine more rapidly, but time will do that also. Thus, you do not need to use bentonite.

* Fruit wine may need other additions to assist with the wine making, but I do not make fruit wine so I can not comment on that. If you make fruit wine, please defer to opinions of others, not mine.
 

hounddawg

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Sorry about it, I did not know that and I did not speak about it just mentioned it to show that I know about the gears that's all.
i have nothing against them, i was only trying to warn you, i should of phrased it better, just trying to see you had smooth sailing, yup seems we both have close history, but wine is my love,,, once you've made something then aged it, pour you a glass and wonder who in hells bells made this, man you talk about feeling pride in your hobby/addiction,, lol
Dawg
 

Rice_Guy

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@franc1969 gave a good run down. I will twist this to be asking what can I use which follows natural foods rules?
Tannin; the definition of tannin is any of a family of naturally occurring compounds that will complex with protein. Tannins have been used as long as hides have been tanned making leather, ie you could collect tree bark or tannic apples or grapes to produce your own tannin.. All of the tannins are natural and they could be organic if they are from a source which is not sprayed. The commercial product contain non-tannin adjuncts in part because purification could remove their functionality and in part because they are frequently found with related compounds like phenolics which are good good antioxidants and finally the actual concentration is low (I use Prairie Fire crabapples at 1% in rhubarb and cyser ~~ the total phenolics in one reference are 57 mg per milliliter). Tannins are antioxidants and provide long flavor notes to wine. Tannins are a family with flavor descriptions as “soft” “bitter” “hard” “astringent”
Yeast Nutrient; this was not used 200 years ago/ was less important before cleanliness standards were established. A natural source of nitrogen would be bird poop or insects in the fruit. Some old cider recipes have the cidermaster putting a steak in the primary for nitrogen. What else, ,, nutrient demand is less at low temperature ( run at 50F) and at low ABV (build a must at 1.045). The yeast will make the sugars go away with high octane ferment, they canabilize their sisters to finish the job releasing H2S.
Acid Blend; I attempt to do “natural foods rules” which means that I put together mixes like 4 parts juneberry (low TA/ pH5) with one part gooseberry (high TA/ low pH). If you start this you need to run TA on everything and do a Pearson’s square on the proposed mix. Sometimes theory doesn’t work because of buffering.
Pectic Enzyme; this is an extract from a aspergillus fermentation. As with tannin the weight of actual enzyme is very low. Unfortunately I don’t know of any natural food source. Fortunately this fixes a cosmetic problem, ,,,,, ie we didn’t need it in the first place.
Camden Tablet; most of the use of metabisulphite is fixing sloppy technique. If you had university equipment you could use vacuum when sampling for tasting or bleed/ flush nitrogen in carboys when racking or run the whole process in a glove box with a CO2 atmosphere. If you had university equipment you could put a probe in the tank and monitor ReDox potential to tell where your sloppy technique is. NOT practical, even UC Davis or Cornell don’t exclude air from where the professors live and work, ,,, but UC Davis does monitor ReDox so they can see the damage of the chemical soup called wine as it occurs. On the positive 200 years ago no one had metabisulphite and red wines worked, (phenolics are good antioxidants),,,, not so good for whites or fruit wines. This is the first synthetic chemical in your list. ,,, OH should add yeast produce free SO2 so if you hunted the genetics labs you might find a clone which gives 25ppm or more (legal US rules) during active fermentation
Potassium Sorbate; this is the second chemical on your list. (If you eat bread in the US you are consuming it.) This chemical is not organic and never will be. It is GRAS for the US food system with quite a bit used, ex cow silage has it sprayed on it or breads. I basically don’t use it, I let wines age nine plus months so the yeast are dead. (are you patient?) Another choice is pasteurize the wine like apple cider folks do, OR 0.45 micron filtration which commercial wineries do (commercial guys do not use sorbate/ it looks bad on the ingredient statement).
Bentonite; this is clay of volcanic origin. It is recognized as organic and meets natural food rules. If you don’t want it from the store you could drive to Oregon with your shovel and dig some out of the old volcanic flows. There are two types mined, a sodium or a calcium clay.

3000 years ago wine was made in clay amphora without any of the additives. It wouldn’t be crystal clear, ,,, it wouldn’t ever be sweet, ,,, BUT the process was reliable enough that one wouldn’t get food poisoning.AND the shelf life might end up with other safe natural foods like balsamic vinegar ,,,, so how important are the cosmetic traits?

by the way welcome to wine making talk
 
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Bkat

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If you really want to go 'old-school' you might want to look up/read about the way the Europeans made wine back in the 1800s. BUT keep in mind that spoilage is likely to creep in and quality may vary greatly. And you are pretty much going to be left to making ONLY wine from grapes, which might be your intent anyway.
Any good reference books on this front? In English, preferred.

Actually, I remember reading about a project in Italy that was growing grapes and making wine using ancient Roman methods and guided their work using texts by writers like Lucius Iunius Moderatus. Kinda cool experiment.
 

Swedeman

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so I really would like to opt to use natural ingredients
Perhaps we need to understand what you mean by "natural ingredient" vs a "chemicals"? Or at least I do. :) Everything is a chemical but the source can be either from a natural source or man made. Those from a natural source can in turn be more or less modifies/manipulated. But I assume that what you are looking for is covered in @Rice_Guy excellent post above (#11).

which follows natural foods rules
Are there rules for this in the US? I was under the impression that the FDA hasn't defined it? In Europe there is currently no legal definition except for mineral water and flavorings but the pressure for it is high. The food administration in Sweden in their guideline states that something has to exist "as is" in nature and only have undergone minimal treatment (like peeling, dicing etc). So a combined product can't be "natural" even if all used ingredients are natural (like a mixture of organic vegetables).

Another choice is pasteurize the wine like apple cider
There is a private initiative in France for "natural wine" - Vin Méthode Nature, that doesn't allow pasteurization but they allow the addition of metabisulphite at the point of bottling (I think it is <30 mg/l).
 

Rice_Guy

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the US does not have natural food regulations which are in the CFR, my look at natural foods is that it basically is a trade group marketing gimmick which gives product developers more freedom than organic rules (years without pesticides on a farm).
I find it interesting that a lot of organic wines contain sulphites possibly because there aren’t good replacements, possibly because God made volcanos and yeast metabolism so SO2 is naturally occurring.

natural food . . . Are there rules for this in the US? I was under the impression that the FDA hasn't defined it?
 

Bkat

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Under EU law, any wine containing more than 10mg/l of sulphur dioxide must be labelled as 'containing sulphites'. From there, various certifying agencies, whether organic or biodynamic, subsequently have their own lower numbers, right down to accepting zero added.

I would be hesitant to use US rules as the standard for what you seem to be striving for. US regs tend to be as weak and non-specific as possible in order to appease big corporations that want to use the word "natural" on their packaging with legal impunity. For example, you can use GMO corn syrup then dose whatever your making with radiation, and it can still be called "natural."

That said, I applaud your efforts. I think the best phrase to describe the spirit behind "natural wine" is low intervention. And that sounds like what you seem to be targeting.
 

Scooter68

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Some of the excellent points made in the above posts like the term "natural" is essentially meaningless these days. "Organic" Does have some relatively precise definition per the FDA. Also it helps if there is a reliable list of ingredients and you have some knowledge of what those names really mean in plain English.
As to the the yeast nutrient/energizer, Pectic Enzyme, and Acid Blend - That too depends on the makers process but as Rice Guy states acid blend is less likely to be an issue if YOU make the blend or you can use single variety acid additions.
The entire issue or reason for using chemicals is all about trying to produce more stable and consistent results and of course with some non-grape wine varieties it would be just about impossible to make a decent wine without using some of them.

To me the biggest things are to have a sound plan/process,, good reliable fruit(grapes) and good sanitation procedures. I think many have seen some of those YouTube videos and the movies (Hollywood produced) that show very simplistic methods to making wine. I certainly don't doubt that those processes work and are safe BUT, the key is the people - their knowledge of the process and what they do and don't permit as well as the timing. I remember the one movie where the old wine maker tells the new land owner/wine maker to watch the candle that they light when they start the fermentation process - the candle is their safety device like the canaries in mines - if the bird keels over or the candle goes out - YOU get out. Not applicable to our typical wine making efforts but it represents how simple, effective and important the LITTLE things can be, those nuances that can be overlooked by one not educated in the old ways.

PS: When doing things the old way I'd not try to take ANY shortcuts. As RiceGuy said some of those "impurities" like bird poop or insects, might just be what makes or breaks a good ferment. The old wine makers might not even know why they do somethings a certain way, but; that's the way they've don it for years and it works.
 
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oppyland

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The US had "contains sulphites" labeling requirements years before the EU. The myth that Europe's food supply is safer than North America's is just plain silly. People have been fooled by the notion that "chemicals"=bad by slick marketing.
 
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