Why is oxidation bad?

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Hamsterflu

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My first batch of wine alkmost killed me because it turns out I am allergic to sulfite and apparently I have asthma too since my reaction only affects asthmatics and only 5% of them.
Anyway, I didn't add any bisulfite any time during the fermentation, it was only a year later after it sat on the yeast in the carboy. It went from purple to an amber color in that year. I was told by the lady at the winemaking shop that it smells like Sherry, and that is caused by oxidation. And I added WAY too much Potassium bisulfite (tablespoons of it in 5 gallons) when I finally did last week. And that I should throw it away since it was hopeless to save. Well, it will likely kill me by drinking it so that's not such a bad idea.
Anyway (again), what is wrong with oxidation in wine? So its amber color instead of purple, is that so bad? I have never drank so I have no idea what Sherry smells or tastes like, though I have heard of Sherry of course. What I made just smells like wine to me, and it tastes like wine to me (awful) except it makes me literally gag.
I know I messed up that batch pretty badly, since it seemed like it was gonna kill me, but I don't know why some things are so bad.
So tell me.
 

rawlus

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sulfite additions to wine act as a preservative of more than just color. in an o2 environment, spoilage bacteria can thrive and turn your wine into vinegar. sulfite scavenges oxygen from wine to work against that happening. now maybe you like vinegar... do you like it enough to make 6gal batches a few times per year?

where did you get the info that you were allergic to sulfites? from an allergist MD? sulfite allergies are very rare though they do happen, more commonly, people have what they suspect is an allergic reaction to sulfites but it is actually a reaction to other compounds in red wines... (red wine headache/histamines)

not saying youre not allergic, just interested in how you came about the diagnosis.

there are commercial wines on the market advertised as sulfite-free, however, even with no sulfite additions, fermenting grapes produce some levels of sulfites as a byproduct (so does bread, garlic, onion, cabbage, broccolli, etc). wines considered "sulfite free" must have levels below 10ppm. most commercial wines have around 150ppm but are permitted to contain up to 350ppm.
white wines generally contain more sulfites than reds (because tannins and other compounds in reds aid in preservation), so if your reaction is typically to red wines, sulfites may not be your problem. lastly, sulfite free wines have a dramatically shortened shelf life, 18 months being the general window for drinkability.... so you'll see commercial examples of sulfite-free wine being early drinking styles and predominantly white wines... no big cabernets.
 

Leanne

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Can I just ask why you are making wine? If you don't drink and lose interest in the process then I have to ask.
 

xanxer82

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I think this might be a job for St. Allie. Don't you?
 

wyntheef

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I'm not a chemist, but I'm pretty sure that's what happens to an apple if you take a bite and set it on the counter overnight. It turns brown and starts breaking down(rotting). Compliments of oxidation.
 

Hamsterflu

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sulfite additions to wine act as a preservative of more than just color. in an o2 environment, spoilage bacteria can thrive and turn your wine into vinegar. sulfite scavenges oxygen from wine to work against that happening. now maybe you like vinegar... do you like it enough to make 6gal batches a few times per year?

where did you get the info that you were allergic to sulfites? from an allergist MD? sulfite allergies are very rare though they do happen, more commonly, people have what they suspect is an allergic reaction to sulfites but it is actually a reaction to other compounds in red wines... (red wine headache/histamines)

not saying youre not allergic, just interested in how you came about the diagnosis.

there are commercial wines on the market advertised as sulfite-free, however, even with no sulfite additions, fermenting grapes produce some levels of sulfites as a byproduct (so does bread, garlic, onion, cabbage, broccolli, etc). wines considered "sulfite free" must have levels below 10ppm. most commercial wines have around 150ppm but are permitted to contain up to 350ppm.
white wines generally contain more sulfites than reds (because tannins and other compounds in reds aid in preservation), so if your reaction is typically to red wines, sulfites may not be your problem. lastly, sulfite free wines have a dramatically shortened shelf life, 18 months being the general window for drinkability.... so you'll see commercial examples of sulfite-free wine being early drinking styles and predominantly white wines... no big cabernets.
Well, no, it wasn't an MD, it was the lady at the winemaking shop who told me based on my reaction to trying the wine. When I drank some, I quickly started to get a feeling of my lungs clogging up, I had fluid I was coughing up, it felt like hair was growing in my lungs, I was wheezing and couldn't get full breaths, and when I tried to lie down I couldn't get rid of the fluid in my lungs and felt like I was drowning. I really thought I was going to suffocate! I cannot afford to go to an emergency room, not even if I am suffocating, so I had to just suffer thru it. I took a Benedryl hoping that would help, and I guess it did since I lived thru it. My lungs hurt the next day, and not so bad the following day.
Anyway, the lady at the winemaking shop told me its only asthmatics who have my reaction, and only 5% of asthmatics have that reaction. I wouldn't have known anything about it if she hadn't told me. I suspected I might have asthma but have never been diagnosed that way, it was only strenuous exercise that made me wheeze before, but I never felt like I was drowning in fluid filling my lungs.
 

Hamsterflu

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Can I just ask why you are making wine? If you don't drink and lose interest in the process then I have to ask.
Well, I like Science things and this is sort of scientific. It isn't hard to ferment something so its not like I taking on something impossible. What would be hard would be for *me* (and maybe everyone for all I know) to ferment something that would pass for "Good" wine, because I'm interested in the -process- of making wine and seeing what happens along the way, and the end result of having actual wine is interesting, and I'm glad I did it well enough to have alcohol and not vinegar, but once I have it then its not really that interesting any more because its over and done. Its then just a useless souvenir to look at, like a shell you pick up on the beach on vacation. Something like that.
So, now I am starting a new batch, and trying to do it better so it will end up purple, not amber, and won't be toxic from 50 or 100 times the correct amount of sulfite, and that kind of thing.
 

Hamsterflu

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I'm not a chemist, but I'm pretty sure that's what happens to an apple if you take a bite and set it on the counter overnight. It turns brown and starts breaking down(rotting). Compliments of oxidation.
So, do you mean that the wine I made is rotting? Its amazing that something with so much alcohol in it (that's what the lady at the winemaking shop said anyway, a lot of alcohol) would be able to rot. It seems like things would be pickled in it before they could rot the wine.
 

Hamsterflu

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Thank you for all of your replies! :hug
There was another question where people seemed to be attacking me for being soooo ignorant of what I am supposed to do.
I have NO ONE to ask about these things. Drinking is not something that people do among people I associate with. Making alcohol would be unheard of, completely wrong in every way. I am being more than just naughty, I am doing the wrong thing. :sh
Why am I doing such a thing? Good question.... Its my "science project"? :?
 

Julie

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Thank you for all of your replies! :hug
There was another question where people seemed to be attacking me for being soooo ignorant of what I am supposed to do.
I have NO ONE to ask about these things. Drinking is not something that people do among people I associate with. Making alcohol would be unheard of, completely wrong in every way. I am being more than just naughty, I am doing the wrong thing. :sh
Why am I doing such a thing? Good question.... Its my "science project"? :?
How old are you?
 

Torch404

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It seems to me that all the symptoms you described from your "allergy" can also be caused by taking in a big lung full of super powerful sulfite gas. When it happened did you just uncork the bottle and then maybe give it a deep sniff? Alergies I also think of rashes and hives not fluid in the lungs.
 

Leanne

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I'm not seeing allergy here. I think it was just a reaction to the huge amount of sulfite.
Nobody here would attack you. We were probably a little surprised at the way you went about things.
 

non-grapenut

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Did anybody catch this phrase in Hamsterflu's original post:
"it was only a year later after it sat on the yeast in the carboy."....

So, my question, Hamsterflu, is....how many times has this wine been racked into a new carboy for clearing? If it sat on lees (old yeast) this is what could have caused some of the trouble and it tasting real bad...
 

Julie

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LOL,

I am not really sold on the fact that there ever was a wine that sat for a year. Too many holes in this story. I am wondering if we have a little boy just playing with everyone.

Sorry Hamsterflu but you haven't convinced me that you are legit.
 

Runningwolf

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LOL,

I am not really sold on the fact that there ever was a wine that sat for a year. Too many holes in this story. I am wondering if we have a little boy just playing with everyone.

Sorry Hamsterflu but you haven't convinced me that you are legit.
:f:d I am with you Julie! Or a big boy playing little boy games!
 

IQwine

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:rdo I am with you guys... notice the times of the posts.... suspect for sure.
 

koda_ky

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LOL,

I am not really sold on the fact that there ever was a wine that sat for a year. Too many holes in this story. I am wondering if we have a little boy just playing with everyone.

Sorry Hamsterflu but you haven't convinced me that you are legit.
Most definitely with Julie on this one.
 

Hamsterflu

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Oh brother

I guess it doesn't matter to me whether you believe the truth or not.
It occurred to me when I left the site last night that you are probably sloshed as you write these things anyway, so you don't realize what you are saying.
 
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