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facn1989

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Hi,

I'm making a Winexpert Brunello kit with grape skins and the instructions say to add 1/4 tsp of crushed campden tablets before bottling if aging more than 6 months (this is additional from all the additives provided in the kit). I've seen many forums where people add campden tablets at many stages and way higher amounts. I understand they are making wine from fruit, as opposed to me who's making a kit. But is 1/4 tsp enough to prevent 6 gallons of wine from spoiling? It just seems like such a small amount that it wouldn't do anything.

Please help, this is my first batch! I contacted winexpert and the instructions say to add the sulphite during secondary clearing (all clearing and fining agents are added, wait 8 days and rack plus add the 1/4 tsp of sulphite, and then secondary clearing is 14 days before bottling). But the winexpert rep says it's better to add the sulphite on bottling day instead of in secondary clearing.

Does anyone have experience on when it's best to add the suphite?

Thank you!

Fred
 

Johnd

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Hi,

I'm making a Winexpert Brunello kit with grape skins and the instructions say to add 1/4 tsp of crushed campden tablets before bottling if aging more than 6 months (this is additional from all the additives provided in the kit). I've seen many forums where people add campden tablets at many stages and way higher amounts. I understand they are making wine from fruit, as opposed to me who's making a kit. But is 1/4 tsp enough to prevent 6 gallons of wine from spoiling? It just seems like such a small amount that it wouldn't do anything.

Please help, this is my first batch! I contacted winexpert and the instructions say to add the sulphite during secondary clearing (all clearing and fining agents are added, wait 8 days and rack plus add the 1/4 tsp of sulphite, and then secondary clearing is 14 days before bottling). But the winexpert rep says it's better to add the sulphite on bottling day instead of in secondary clearing.

Does anyone have experience on when it's best to add the suphite?

Thank you!

Fred
Generally speaking, whether it's a kit, grapes, or other fruit, the first sulfite dose is added after alcoholic fermentation (assuming that malolactic fermentation is not part of the plan).

Thereafter, add 1/4 tsp for every six gallons, every three months, up until the time you bottle. I try to time my bottling operation to coincide with a sulfite addition to keep it simple.

And yes, 1/4 tsp is plenty of sulfite to protect 6 gallons of wine with pH in the normal range.
 

facn1989

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Generally speaking, whether it's a kit, grapes, or other fruit, the first sulfite dose is added after alcoholic fermentation (assuming that malolactic fermentation is not part of the plan).

Thereafter, add 1/4 tsp for every six gallons, every three months, up until the time you bottle. I try to time my bottling operation to coincide with a sulfite addition to keep it simple.

And yes, 1/4 tsp is plenty of sulfite to protect 6 gallons of wine with pH in the normal range.
Thank you for your response. So since I added the additional sulphite (by this, I mean extra sulphite not included in the kit to age more than six months as instructed by the manufacturer) during clearing, I should not add anymore, right? Basically I added it 17 days before bottling, which I will do tomorrow.

But for future reference, should I add the extra sulphite during clearing or on bottling day? And if so, should I stir it in and wait a while so it can settle or just get to bottling?

Thanks!
 

Johnd

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Thank you for your response. So since I added the additional sulphite (by this, I mean extra sulphite not included in the kit to age more than six months as instructed by the manufacturer) during clearing, I should not add anymore, right? Basically I added it 17 days before bottling, which I will do tomorrow.

But for future reference, should I add the extra sulphite during clearing or on bottling day? And if so, should I stir it in and wait a while so it can settle or just get to bottling?

Thanks!
After only 17 days, no need to add any more prior to bottling.

After your initial dose, add sulfite every 3 months. I have no idea how long you wait between clearing and bottling, I wait about a year, some wait six months, some bottle cloudy wine. Just make sure it gets a dose every three months. If you bottle 1 month after your last dose, add 1/3 of the dose before bottling; if bottling two months after your last dose, add 2/3 of a dose before bottling.

When you add sulfite and don't need to rack the wine, nor bottle it, remove 100 ml or so with the wine thief, put in a beaker, add sulfite, mix until it is completely dissolved, add it back to the carboy. If you're bottling, you should rack before you bottle, do as above, excupt add sulfited wine to your target carboy, rack into it, and bottle afterwards.
 

facn1989

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Thank you John! I'm clearing and then bottling about 25 days later as per instructions. There basically two clearing steps. I was shocked how clear my wine (it's as clear as any commercial wine) was since it was really cloudy two weeks before (it actually didn't even look like wine).

I'm using a conical fermenter instead of carboys. I live in a tiny apartment so I can't have 4-5 carboys laying around. Plus you lose a little bit less wine with the conical method.

I plan on doing about 5-6 batches a year so that's ~150 - 180 bottles per year, not bad at all.

If you've ever experimented with kit wines, can you name your all time favorite?

Thanks again for helping out a newbie
 

Johnd

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Thank you John! I'm clearing and then bottling about 25 days later as per instructions. There basically two clearing steps. I was shocked how clear my wine (it's as clear as any commercial wine) was since it was really cloudy two weeks before (it actually didn't even look like wine).

I'm using a conical fermenter instead of carboys. I live in a tiny apartment so I can't have 4-5 carboys laying around. Plus you lose a little bit less wine with the conical method.

I plan on doing about 5-6 batches a year so that's ~150 - 180 bottles per year, not bad at all.

If you've ever experimented with kit wines, can you name your all time favorite?

Thanks again for helping out a newbie
If you are following the kit instructions and bottling on their schedule, you shouldn't need to add any more sulfite at bottling time. It's only when you start to age your wine beyond that schedule that you need to consider keeping your sulfite levels on par.

Personally, I've had most success with the higher end kits that include grape packs, WE Stags Leap Merlot, Lodi Ranch II Cab, Mosti Mondiale Meglioli Amarone and Old Vine Zinfandel, RJS Showcase Amarone. For the most part, these higher end kits require aging to be at their best, 2+ years. They're ok when young, but reward you for stashing them away.
 

facn1989

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If you are following the kit instructions and bottling on their schedule, you shouldn't need to add any more sulfite at bottling time. It's only when you start to age your wine beyond that schedule that you need to consider keeping your sulfite levels on par.

Personally, I've had most success with the higher end kits that include grape packs, WE Stags Leap Merlot, Lodi Ranch II Cab, Mosti Mondiale Meglioli Amarone and Old Vine Zinfandel, RJS Showcase Amarone. For the most part, these higher end kits require aging to be at their best, 2+ years. They're ok when young, but reward you for stashing them away.
Thank you John. You are correct, I'm only adding additional since they instruct to add 1/4 tsp if aging more than 6 months. I plan to try a single bottle at 6 months, 9 months and 1 year to see how they develop. But I'm planning on leaving 25+ bottles and waiting for the 2 year mark at least.

Since I will need to wait about 2 years to have good wine, I'll make some cheaper kits in the meantime while I build a rotation of only super premium kits. I've heard good things about all the kits you mentioned and have them on my "to do list" How would you compare the super premium kits to commercial wine if aged 2+ years? $20/bottle? $30/bottle? I'm not expecting them to be comparable to an amazing $80 wine, but would hopefully have a more than decent bottle with different layers of complexity and finish.

Thanks again for sharing the wisdom
 

Johnd

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Thank you John. You are correct, I'm only adding additional since they instruct to add 1/4 tsp if aging more than 6 months. I plan to try a single bottle at 6 months, 9 months and 1 year to see how they develop. But I'm planning on leaving 25+ bottles and waiting for the 2 year mark at least.

Since I will need to wait about 2 years to have good wine, I'll make some cheaper kits in the meantime while I build a rotation of only super premium kits. I've heard good things about all the kits you mentioned and have them on my "to do list" How would you compare the super premium kits to commercial wine if aged 2+ years? $20/bottle? $30/bottle? I'm not expecting them to be comparable to an amazing $80 wine, but would hopefully have a more than decent bottle with different layers of complexity and finish.

Thanks again for sharing the wisdom
Your plan is a good one, pretty similar to my start, which has yielded a pretty good selection of varietals and blends with some age.

As far as the commercial wine comparison, that's a heavily loaded question. I've made some wines that I'd take over $30 bottles, crappy $30 bottles. Conversely, the enterprising wine buyer can find bottles under $15 that I'll probably never top with a kit wine. With most kits, you can produce wines for under $5, you did it with your own hands, and they're very good drinking wines, and that's good enough for me.
 

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