Wine Conditioner

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I made a batch of peach wine using only perfectly ripe peaches and no water. I knew Wine Conditioner had K-sorbate in it but didn't know if additional amounts would be required. After several bench trials I found the sweetness I thought was right and it turned out to be 1.006 SG. I can't remember how many packs were use though I thing it was 5 per 10 gallons. As it turns out I now have a bubbly peach wine, about 80 bottles worth left. Not terribly bubbly and some may like it, bubbly just doesn't suit my taste.

I'm posting this so others know there is not enough sorbate in the conditioner to prevent refermentation. I'm not concerned since it's ever so slight and it has been bottled for over 5 months now.
 
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Thanks for posting! I've wondered about that.

We bottled my son's FWK Riesling a while ago, using 6 oz of the sweetening pack. I'm thinking he needs to pop a cork to see if anything is happening.

I'll look up the brand that FWK ships. There are different brands, so it may be that some work better than others.
 

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I didn’t Use wine conditioner but lightly sweetened a juice bucket Merlot. I thought it was stable and thin. Back-sweetened in December 2020. In the summer of 2021 I opened a bottle that was a fountain. Last month another bottle finally blew a cork. Moral is - even wine you think is stable can start re-fermentation.
 
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I see 2 problem with wine conditioner/sweetening packs:

1. Shelf life of sorbate.

How old is the package? It's sealed in an opaque package and if stored in good conditions, it should be good for ~2 years. If there is a manufacturing stamp on the package, it's wise to read it. I checked my packets and while there is a manufacturing stamp, there's no "best by" or "use by" date.

2. Amount of sorbate actually in the conditioner.

The sorbate I purchase has a dosage of 1/4 tsp per US gallon, so 1-1/4 tsp in a 5 gallon carboy. [I binned my last sorbate packet last year, as it was probably 3 years old, so I'm going by notes from fruit wine recipes.]

How much sorbate is in the conditioner? Sorbate needs to be limited as in excess quantities it can produce off flavors, but if Fred put 5 packets in 10 gallons? Either our collective understanding of sorbate is off, or there's a lot less sorbate in the conditioner than I'd expect. Or both. In any case, I can't imagine 2-1/2 packages of conditioner in 5 US gallons of wine is not enough.

This has me wondering if the wine is protected if only a partial package is used?

I'm going to contact Global Vintner and ask. The unknowns are a problem for me.

--

Fred -- my best guess at this time is that the conditioner was old. You may not have had it long, but it may have sat in a warehouse or on a shelf for too long. This is based on the factors I can think of, although I admit there may be things I didn't consider.

We used 6 oz of a conditioner for 6 gallons of Riesling a few months ago. The corks seem fine when I examined the bottles, but we're going to pull a cork this weekend to check. My concern is doubled here, as we used less than half the package on a 6 month old wine, so there was probably viable yeast.

@Matteo_Lahm, @Matt_Pruszynski -- you are on the manufacturing side of this question -- do you have any background knowledge regarding the conditioner packs?
 
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I have FWK Strawberry and Blackberry in production, and each comes with 2 conditioner packs. While I'm not expecting to use both in each wine, I will go by taste. If I have excess, I'll use that in an Elderberry I have in production.

My normal process (for the few wines I backsweeten) is to stabilize, backsweeten, and bottle. However -- based upon Fred's results, for any wine that I use a conditioner, I plan to bulk age at least 2 weeks after backsweetening. The FWK are due to rack this weekend, and I may backsweeten afterward, and let the wine rest in bulk for 3 months before bottling.
 
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There are several factors which can determine how much sorbate should be used:
Wine pH;
Concentration of free SO2;
Percent alcohol by volume;
Concentration of sorbate; and
Viable yeast cell concentration.

The hardest of those to determine is yeast concentration. Here's a chart of how much sorbate is required based on ABV:

% alcohol sorbate addition
10 0.20 g/l
11 0.17 g/l
12 0.135 g/l
13 0.10 g/l
14 0.07 g/l
 
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It occurred to me that with the FWK, a stabilizing pack is included (sorbate + K-meta). I suspect @winemanden is correct, and the conditioner does NOT include enough sorbate to stabilize the wine.
In my experience, @winemanden is correct. The Sorbate that is in wine conditioner is enough to stabilize the sugars in the Conditioner but not to prevent fermentation in the wine. The Potassium Sorbate in the stabilizing packet is what is needed to prevent renewed fermentation.
 

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