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RylanJacobs

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Are there any other wine analysis companies besides Vinmetrica that makes equipment to test SO2, pH, TA, and YAN?

I’m interested in a Vinmetrica sc-300, but want to make sure I’ve looked at all the competitors and options that are out there.

Thanks in advance!
 
Hanna instruments make a series of auto-titrators for measuring SO2, TA and YAN, but I think they're substantially more expensive than Vinmetrica. I have no experience using either, nor the Sentia device that you mention in your title.

At the other end of the spectrum you could just get a burette which (together with a pH meter) would let you measure all of the above. The advantage of this is simplicity - very little to break or go wrong - and only one (pH) probe to maintain. You could also measure TA using an indicator (phenolphthalein) instead of pH meter.

I use my pH meter and burette to measure TA (titrate with NaOH) and SO2 (Ripper method, titrate with iodine or AO method, titrate with NaOH*). I haven't done YAN yet but could easily do so with a couple of other reagents. The formol titration method for YAN is the same as the Vinmetrica kit uses, in fact if I decide to try this I might just buy the Vinmetrica reagents. Be aware that this test does use formaldehyde, which is rather bad for you and needs to be handled with respect in a well ventilated environment.

* You do need some additional apparatus to do the AO method of SO2 measurement.
 
Hanna instruments make a series of auto-titrators for measuring SO2, TA and YAN, but I think they're substantially more expensive than Vinmetrica. I have no experience using either, nor the Sentia device that you mention in your title.

At the other end of the spectrum you could just get a burette which (together with a pH meter) would let you measure all of the above. The advantage of this is simplicity - very little to break or go wrong - and only one (pH) probe to maintain. You could also measure TA using an indicator (phenolphthalein) instead of pH meter.

I use my pH meter and burette to measure TA (titrate with NaOH) and SO2 (Ripper method, titrate with iodine or AO method, titrate with NaOH*). I haven't done YAN yet but could easily do so with a couple of other reagents. The formol titration method for YAN is the same as the Vinmetrica kit uses, in fact if I decide to try this I might just buy the Vinmetrica reagents. Be aware that this test does use formaldehyde, which is rather bad for you and needs to be handled with respect in a well ventilated environment.

* You do need some additional apparatus to do the AO method of SO2 measurement.
Interesting. I have a good pH meter. So you’re saying that I can do the SO2, TA, and YAN tests using my current ph meter, burettes, and the reagents??

That seems like a solution I am interested in.
 
Hanna instruments make a series of auto-titrators for measuring SO2, TA and YAN, but I think they're substantially more expensive than Vinmetrica. I have no experience using either, nor the Sentia device that you mention in your title.

At the other end of the spectrum you could just get a burette which (together with a pH meter) would let you measure all of the above. The advantage of this is simplicity - very little to break or go wrong - and only one (pH) probe to maintain. You could also measure TA using an indicator (phenolphthalein) instead of pH meter.

I use my pH meter and burette to measure TA (titrate with NaOH) and SO2 (Ripper method, titrate with iodine or AO method, titrate with NaOH*). I haven't done YAN yet but could easily do so with a couple of other reagents. The formol titration method for YAN is the same as the Vinmetrica kit uses, in fact if I decide to try this I might just buy the Vinmetrica reagents. Be aware that this test does use formaldehyde, which is rather bad for you and needs to be handled with respect in a well ventilated environment.

* You do need some additional apparatus to do the AO method of SO2 measurement.
Would you be able to provide info on the SO2 testing that can be done with a ph meter? I see the ripper method involves to testing to a color change. Not sure how accurate that is
 
Interesting. I have a good pH meter. So you’re saying that I can do the SO2, TA, and YAN tests using my current ph meter, burettes, and the reagents??

That seems like a solution I am interested in.
TA is the easiest, you just need 0.1N (or similar) NaOH. Titratable acidity (at least in the US) involves titrating your sample to pH 8.2 endpoint, which is why you can use phenolphthalein - that's where it changes from clear to pink. I prefer to use the pH meter since the phenolphthalein color fades with time, so you need to titrate 'fast' - too slow and you run the risk of over-titrating. It's not hard, but there is a bit of a technique to it.

SO2 by Ripper method is very fast, you add sulfuric acid and starch indicator to your sample and titrate until you get a dark purple color. Like the TA/phenolphthalein titration, the color fades eventually so you have titrate fairly rapidly. Disadvantages to Ripper method are (a) it's harder to see the endpoint in red wine, so you have to dilute out your samples and (b) Iodine solution isn't stable so you need to calibrate it from time to time. There is an alternative protocol using potassium iodide/potassium periodate which overcomes the stability issue. I think the Vinmetrica uses this method but with a potentiometric probe instead of color indicator.

SO2 by Aeration/oxidation method... you need some sort of apparatus to bubble air through your sample, through a tube and into an indicator vessel. Basically the SO2 liberated from the sample is converted to sulfuric acid in the indicator vessel (turns the indicator pink), then you titrate it with 0.01N NaOH until the pink color goes away. It's not affected by wine color and is considered the gold standard in wineries, but it is much slower, 10 minutes for bubbling the sample plus set up and titration time. Here is my AO setup. The sample is in the round bottomed flask on the left in the ice bath. SO2 is liberated from the (acidified) sample and is drawn into the indicator vial (pink); vacuum pump is on the right.

AO method.jpg

YAN - as I said I haven't done this but it seems doable with appropriate reagents. I would ideally do this in a fume cabinet, but since most of us don't have one lying around the house I would at least open all the windows when using formaldehyde. I believe @Rice_Guy mentioned home-lab YAN assays in a recent thread, so he may be better placed to comment.

References:

Free SO2 by Ripper: https://www.enartis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/SO2-Free-by-Ripper.pdf
Free SO2 by Ripper (includes method for standardizing Iodine): http://seniorchem.com/8. Sulfur-Dioxide-by-Ripper-Titration.pdf
Alternative Ripper method: https://biomedress.com/pdf/CJBRT-19-22-034.pdf
Free SO2 by AO: https://www.enartis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/S02-Free-by-AO.pdf

Edit: typos
 
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Would you be able to provide info on the SO2 testing that can be done with a ph meter? I see the ripper method involves to testing to a color change. Not sure how accurate that is
The aeration-oxidation method is definitely more accurate that Ripper; another potential drawback of the Ripper method is that iodine can bind to phenolics in red wine so you might tend to overestimate the amount of SO2. But the question is, how accurate do you need to be? I'm not sure I could discriminate between 30 and 35ppm using Ripper, but I don't think that is actionable difference. On the other hand, I'm sure I could distinguish 10 and 30ppm.
 
TA is the easiest, you just need 0.1N (or similar) NaOH. Titratable acidity (at least in the US) involves titrating your sample to pH 8.2 endpoint, which is why you can use phenolphthalein - that's where it changes from clear to pink. I prefer to use the pH meter since the phenolphthalein color fades with time, so you need to titrate 'fast' - too slow and you run the risk of over-titrating. It's not hard, but there is a bit of a technique to it.

SO2 by Ripper method is very fast, you add sulfuric acid and starch indicator to your sample and titrate until you get a dark purple color. Like the TA/phenolphthalein titration, the color fades eventually so you have titrate fairly rapidly. Disadvantages to Ripper method are (a) it's harder to see the endpoint in red wine, so you have to dilute out your samples and (b) Iodine solution isn't stable so you need to calibrate it from time to time. There is an alternative protocol using potassium iodide/potassium periodate which overcomes the stability issue. I think the Vinmetrica uses this method but with a potentiometric probe instead of color indicator.

SO2 by Aeration/oxidation method... you need some sort of apparatus to bubble air through your sample, through a tube and into an indicator vessel. Basically the SO2 liberated from the sample is converted to sulfuric acid in the indicator vessel (turns the indicator pink), then you titrate it with 0.01N NaOH until the pink color goes away. It's not affected by wine color and is considered the gold standard in wineries, but it is much slower, 10 minutes for bubbling the sample plus set up and titration time. Here is my AO setup. The sample is in the round bottomed flask on the left in the ice bath. SO2 is liberated from the (acidified) sample and is drawn into the indicator vial (pink); vacuum pump is on the right.

View attachment 108736

YAN - as I said I haven't done this but it seems doable with appropriate reagents. I would ideally do this in a fume cabinet, but since most of us don't have one lying around the house I would at least open all the windows when using formaldehyde. I believe @Rice_Guy mentioned home-lab YAN assays in a recent thread, so he may be better placed to comment.

References:

Free SO2 by Ripper: https://www.enartis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/SO2-Free-by-Ripper.pdf
Free SO2 by Ripper (includes method for standardizing Iodine): http://seniorchem.com/8. Sulfur-Dioxide-by-Ripper-Titration.pdf
Alternative Ripper method: https://biomedress.com/pdf/CJBRT-19-22-034.pdf
Free SO2 by AO: https://www.enartis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/S02-Free-by-AO.pdf

Edit: typos
This is a phenomenal reply. Thank you so much!!! This is why I come to WMT.

I agree that accuracy is important, but I do not need to be exact. Small differences will not lead to actionable changes with the wine.

I will get a burette with stopcock, lab stand w/ clamp, pipettes, and reagents. I’ll continue to use my same pH meter. That will likely save me hundreds over a Vinmetrica Sc-300.

Thank you so much!! Happy holidays to you!
 
I get most of my labware from Amazon - there is some good quality cheap gear available. I like Karter Scientific for glassware, though there are several other brands that I'm sure are also good. You can see in the picture that I have a small magnetic stirrer (blue, with the beaker on top) - I think it was about $25 and even came with a magnetic stir bar. That's what I use for TA titrations. For Ripper method I prefer to swirl a conical flask under the burette while controlling the stopcock with my other hand. If you're measuring red wines, as I mentioned the color change can be hard to see. It's helpful to have a white light underneath - if you have a tablet, you can get a free app that basically turns the screen into a white light.

Happy sciencing!
 
get a burette with stopcock, lab stand w/ clamp, pipettes, and reagents. I’ll continue to use my same pH meter. That will likely save me hundreds over a Vinmetrica Sc-300
* I have burettes but find that a five ml plastic syringe with 0.1 graduations is faster. The plastic syringe will “wear out” when the rubber starts to stick.
* my pH based testing is with an Extech. This style of meter lets me measure small drop size samples. A good meter reads 0.01 unit. A good meter has a replaceable probe, when they build up a film they start reading slow. A traditional probe requires larger samples which cascades into more reagent for testing. I will cut a sample of lemon or currant or rhubarb to one ml and try to use about three ml of titrant rather than twenty ml.
* I chose the SC 100. When something breaks I would rather lose one test, not everything. Both SC300 and 100 beep so you don’t have to watch the read out.
* Titrets are a good way to start. About $1 per test.
* accuracy, one drop is about as good as you can get for accuracy. I will do testing with 0.1 NaOH for back titrating formaldehyde (highest has been 2 ml) and 0.2 N for TA (sometimes 20 ml) Vinmetrica sells 0.133 N.
* personal preference, a good beaker is round bottom meaning small samples and tall enough to help support the pH probe. I actually use juice glasses that are about 300 ml.
* formaldehyde is high school rat preservative. Some folks are sensitive but we didn’t know that fifty years ago. I run formal outside or in the bathroom with the fan running. ,,, and have remained married
* My next test if interest is DO. Gut feel is tracking oxidation due to racking or pressing or sitting three months or bottling will improve shelf life control/ off flavor generation.
* If you are playing with fermcalc.com a starting point is assume that whites and country wines are zero ppm SO2 which leads to do you have a balance accurate to 0.01 gram.
* how many clean/ dry pipettes do you own? When I looked at testing 30 samples from a club truckload I switched to weighing all samples and tossing a density number in the formula. Practically I wind up weighing buckets and carboys so I keep both % by weight and % by volume. I keep a hundred disposable pipettes tips on the shelf.
 
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I don't think what I'm talking about would be useful for anyone here but just for the knowledge - They are special wine analyzers made for commercial wineries that can measure any thing you can think abot wine analysis - so2, YAN, organic acids, glucose-froctose, ABV, VA and so on, just to mention 2 of them i know they use them in wineries here in Israel:
WineScan™ by FOSS
CDR WineLab®

If you have some tens of thousands of dollars extra you can get them for your winemaking...
 
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For $55 you can send a sample to Lodi wine lab and use their cellar panel, I’ve used their service and they are very fast with results. Here’s the panel
Includes
pH Analysis
(Units: pH, Technique: Manual)

Titratable Acidity (TA)
(Units: g/L, Technique: Auto-Titration)

Volatile Acidity VA (as Acetic Acid)
(Units: g/L, Technique: Sequential Analyzer)

Free & Total Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
(Units: ppm, Technique: Sequential Analyzer)

Molecular Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
(Units: ppm, Technique: Calculation)
 
For $55 you can send a sample to Lodi wine lab and use their cellar panel, I’ve used their service and they are very fast with results. Here’s the panel
Includes
pH Analysis
(Units: pH, Technique: Manual)

Titratable Acidity (TA)
(Units: g/L, Technique: Auto-Titration)

Volatile Acidity VA (as Acetic Acid)
(Units: g/L, Technique: Sequential Analyzer)

Free & Total Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
(Units: ppm, Technique: Sequential Analyzer)

Molecular Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
(Units: ppm, Technique: Calculation)
That's great to know!

I am almost 3,000 miles away from Lodi, so maybe not the best option for us east coasters!!
 
I want to resurrect this thread to ask a question.

How necessary is free SO2 testing? I add SO2 every three months in accordance with the pH. I assume 0ppm and calculate accordingly. If my wine has more than 0ppm at the time, then I am over-sulfiting maybe 20-30ppm. That's hardly a big deal, especially for home winemakers oxidative setups.

Has anyone found that SO2 testing (aeration/oxidation, ripper, vinmetrica, etc) has led to actionable changes in their winemaking?
 
@RylanJacobs 6 years back there were two Vinmetrica in the vinters club, mine made it 3, This year we are up to 5 out of 75 people. ,,,, most folks do not know what the number is. No one runs Ripper, but I have seen the setup in the UW food lab.

Making good wine, one of the best wine makers out of the group tests nothing. Well that isn’t correct since he is excellent at tasting. We have some PHDs in the club, they measure. Which wine maker are you.
 
How necessary is free SO2 testing?
It all depends on who you ask. For me? Totally unnecessary.

The rule-of-thumb I was taught was 1/4 tsp K-meta per 19-23 liters of wine at each post-fermentation racking, every 3 months during bulk aging, and at bottling. @NorCal conducted a test a while back where he measured the free SO2 shortly after adding, and the value was roughly 25-35 ppm ... which is the supposed target.

The amount of K-meta that is typically added is far below the safe value set by the US FDA, so I don't worry about that. I'm more concerned with having too little SO2 to protect the wine.

The old rule-of-thumb was probably deterrmined through years or decades of practical use, and it works fine, so that's what I use.
 
@RylanJacobs 6 years back there were two Vinmetrica in the vinters club, mine made it 3, This year we are up to 5 out of 75 people. ,,,, most folks do not know what the number is. No one runs Ripper, but I have seen the setup in the UW food lab.

Making good wine, one of the best wine makers out of the group tests nothing. Well that isn’t correct since he is excellent at tasting. We have some PHDs in the club, they measure. Which wine maker are you.
I'm in favor of lab analysis, so long as it leads to specific actions that produce better wine.

If I follow the conventional wisdom of @winemaker81, and add 50ppm every 3 months, the absolute most I could have in the wine would be 100ppm (50 from the prior dose + the current dose). In reality, it's likely to be a lot less. However, even 100ppm is still undetectable in terms of taste and far below the safe limits set by the FDA.

I'd rather use slightly more SO2 than necessary, as opposed to being low.

SO2 testing does not seem to be actionable, relative to conventional wisdom. Unless I'm a commercial entity trying to market "low-sulfite" wines, I struggle to see how this test is worth the effort.

Now, YAN/pH/TA/MLF testing certainly seems to be worth it. For me, those results determine the timing, and type, of interventions I'll do with my wine.
 
I think I missed this thread somehow and didn't see any mention of what I use for SO2 testing (cheap turnkey setup) and that is the one sold my MoreWine:

https://morewinemaking.com/products/economy-aerationoxidation-free-so2-test-kit.html

If your NOT using barrels (only glass carboys, etc) to bulk age your wine then free sulfite testing is not that important. If you do use a small barrel of sorts then SO2 testing is really important (since SO2 levels drop quickly in a barrel) making monitoring very necessary for long term aging/storage.
 
I think I missed this thread somehow and didn't see any mention of what I use for SO2 testing (cheap turnkey setup) and that is the one sold my MoreWine:

https://morewinemaking.com/products/economy-aerationoxidation-free-so2-test-kit.html

If your NOT using barrels (only glass carboys, etc) to bulk age your wine then free sulfite testing is not that important. If you do use a small barrel of sorts then SO2 testing is really important (since SO2 levels drop quickly in a barrel) making monitoring very necessary for long term aging/storage.
@ibglowin thanks for the reply. It appears that kit from Morewine is out of stock.

I am curious, has the use of SO2 testing led to changes in your winemaking that otherwise wouldn't have occurred without the testing? @winemaker81 does not use SO2 testing and simply makes a 50ppm addition each time he opens a barrel.
 
If your NOT using barrels (only glass carboys, etc) to bulk age your wine then free sulfite testing is not that important.
Not sure I fully agree here... certainly there is less chance of O2 ingress in a carboy/keg than in a barrel but there are other SO2 reactions that can occur, particularly if there is some underlying/undetected issue with the wine (chemical or microbiological). My current approach is to test barrels monthly and carboys/kegs every 2 months, adjusting SO2 as appropriate for the wine. I view it as an early warning system, in that if SO2 is dropping more than expected there may be some flaw and I might need to be more diligent with my SO2 management.
 

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