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Expert Tips- Importance of Adding Sulphite and Stirring


Adding sulphites to homemade wine is important for several reasons. Firstly, sulphites act as a preservative, preventing the growth of bacteria and yeast that can spoil the wine and cause it to develop an off flavor or become undrinkable. Secondly, sulphites protect the wine from oxidation, which can cause the wine to lose its flavor, aroma, and color over time. Thirdly, sulphites can also help to stabilize the wine, preventing changes in color, flavor, and aroma as the wine ages.

Although sulphites are naturally present in wine, the levels are often not sufficient to prevent spoilage and oxidation, so additional sulfites are added during the winemaking process.

When making homemade wine, it is important to follow recommended guidelines for adding sulphites. Too little sulphites can result in spoilage and oxidation, while too much sulphites can affect the flavor and aroma of the wine.

Tips using Sulphite

On day 1, the wine kit needs to be stirred very vigorously! This is because the juice and concentrate are very viscous, and don’t mix easily with water. If it seems that dumping the contents of the bag into the primary with the water has done its job, it hasn’t.

The wine lies on the bottom of the primary with a layer of water on top. When it comes time to stabilize and fine the wine, it has to be stirred vigorously AGAIN. All the CO2 needs to be driven off that accumulated during fermentation. If you don’t drive off the CO2, the dissolved gas will attach to the fining agents, preventing them from settling out.

Here in Calgary, we are 3,557 feet above sea level, so driving off the CO2 takes much longer. You can stir and stir and stir daily as long as it takes / you can use a Vacuvin / or at The Home Vintner we have degassers you can rent for $ 5.00 a day. We have free CO2 testers we give to our customers. You may think you have all the CO2 out, but a test with our tester will tell the tale. If you hear a pop or a fizz, you still have CO2 and “back to the drawing board!” Only when the gas is driven off, can the fining agents work their magic.


(excerpt from Tim Vandergrift’s wine blog)