Using Campden Tablets: The How, When And Why

Campden tablets to be used in wine makingI crushed fresh Syrah juice from grapes last September into 3 six-gallon plastic fermenters w/air gaps. I added 1 Campden tablet per gallon into the 3 six gallon plastic fermenters 24 hr. before adding the wine yeast. I separated out the sediment in January. I plan to bottle in mid-May. From your guidance, I plan to add 1 Campden tab per gallon before bottling. Should I have also added Campden tabs when fermentation was finished in September? I tasted the wine in January and it tasted good.

Name: Brad T.
State: California
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Hello Brad,

This is a great question about using Campden tablets in wine making. I’ll need to answer this from a couple of different perspectives…

When you add Campden tablets to a wine, your are essentially adding sulfites. Sulfites protect the wine by destroying any mold, bacteria or anything else that wants to grow in the wine. During the fermentation this is not a problem. It’s when the wine must is still and not fermenting that sulfites become important.

The issue is that over time the sulfites want to leave. They dissipate into the air as SO2 gas. For example, the Campden tablets you added before the fermentation are long-gone by the time the fermentation had ended. So there is a need to replenish the sulfites to help keep the wine protected.

From a winery’s point of view, you always want 40 to 70 PPM (parts-per-million) of sulfite in the wine after the fermentation. The winery will measure and maintain this level all the way through the clearing process and on to bottling. They can easily afford the time and effort to do this because a lot of wine is at stake.

From an individual winemaker’s point of view, it may be a little overkill to constantly test the sulfites and make adjustments as called for — particularly if you’re only making 5 or 6 gallons at a time, and you’re going to bottle the wine in a few weeks, anyway.Shop Potassium Bisulfite

So as a compromise, I recommend using Campden tablets directly after the fermentation, then again, right before bottling. So to summarize, you are adding sulfites:

  • 24 hours before fermentation
  • After the fermentation
  • Right before bottling.

By handling the wine in this way you can keep the wine more evenly protected without a lot of effort on your part with tests and measurements.

From a home winery’s point of view, say you are making 30, 50, 100 gallons, you may want to spend the time and energy to keep track of your sulfites. This can be done with Titret Test Vials and the Titret Hand Tool that works with it. By running this test you can determine the sulfites that are currently in your wine, in PPM, and how much you need to add, if any.

You may also want to switch to a Campden tablet substitute such as potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite. These bothShop Grape Concentrate come in a granulated form. They add sulfites to the must or wine, just as Campden tablets, but they come in a granulated form. It’s much easier to use when needing larger amounts. Instead of crushing up a bunch of tablets, you just measure it out by the teaspoon.

This is the basics of using Campden tablets in your wine making. To delve a little deeper you might want to take a look at, Campden Tablets: What They Can And Can’t Do.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

3 Questions About Using Potassium Sorbate In Wine Making

Potassium Sorbate For Wine MakingThanks again for being there.  You’re greatly helping an amateur wine-maker get by the label “amateur”.

Three part question, all using potassium sorbate in wine making.  This is a question recognizing that potassium sorbate does not stop fermentation, but is used to keep wines from starting to ferment again after the fermentation has been completed.

1).  When should the potassium sorbate be added to the wine — is it sufficient to add to the wine at day of bottling or should it be added earlier (like 7 to 10 days before bottling)?

2).  Will the answer to part 1) change if the wine has a sweetener added?  Is the potassium sorbate ALWAYS added to the wine AFTER the sweetener, or does it not matter as to the sequence?

3).  Does using a wine filter at time of bottling impact any of the above? Or is the filter process just the filter process?

Thanks, Steve S.
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Dear Steve,

Thanks for the great questions on using potassium sorbate in your wine. Let me see if I can put a dent in this subject.

 

First, A Little Background On Potassium Sorbate And Wine:

Potassium sorbate is one of those wine making ingredients that often gets used incorrectly or confused with other ingredients such as sodium metabisulfite.  I’d like to go over exactly what potassium sorbate will do for your wine and maybe that will clear up how it should be used.

Potassium sorbate does not destroy wine yeast. Let me repeat this for more emphasis:

 

“Potassium Sorbate Does Not Destroy Wine Yeast.”

 

What potassium sorbate does do is keep wine yeast from increasing in numbers. It stops the wine yeast from reproducing itself into a larger colony.

Shop Wine BottlesAs an example, if you add potassium sorbate to an active fermentation you will see the fermentation become slower and slower, day after day. This is because some of the wine yeast is beginning to naturally die off and new cells are not being produced to take their place. Eventually the yeast colony will either run out of sugars to ferment, or they will all die off from old age.

If you add sugar to a finished wine to sweeten it, and the wine is still laden with residual wine yeast, it does not matter if you add potassium sorbate or not. The wine yeast will ferment in either case. The only difference the potassium sorbate will make is whether the fermentation is going to become a full-blown one or just sputter along, almost unnoticeable, until the aging yeast cells can do no more.

 

What This Means For The Home Wine Maker:

What this all means for you is that before you add a sugar to a wine to sweeten it, you need to make sure that it is completely done clearing out as much of the wine yeast as possible. You want to give the wine plenty of time to drop out as many of the yeast cells as possible. Then rack the wine off these yeast cells. This is key to eliminating any chance for re-fermentation when sweetening a wine.

Whether or not the sugar is added to the wine before or after the potassium sorbate is immaterial. Just adding them both on the same day is sufficient. And to take this a step further, you can bottle the wine right after adding them. The only requirement is to be doubly sure that both the sugar and potassium sorbate are completely dissolve and evenly disbursed throughout the wine.Shop Wine Filter System

As a side note, you should always add sulfites such as potassium metabisulfite to the wine at bottling time, regardless if you are sweetening it or not.

As to your question about wine filtration… running a wine through a wine filter can only help not hurt during this process. This is simply due to the fact that wine filtration will get more of the yeast cells out of the wine. All three of the pressured wine filter systems we offer have sterile filtrations pads at .50 microns available to them. This will typically get 90% percent of the residual yeast cells that are left.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

What Are Yeast Nutrients In Wine Making?

Yeast Nutrient In Wine MakingIn home winemaking for the keep-it-simple winemakers, you toss yeast into wine must and see what happens.  What’s the problem here?  There are a lot of problems here, but the one we are referring to relates to the ability of that yeast to complete a wine fermentation.   One major component that’s missing from this equation is yeast nutrients!  Just as humans need sustenance to move and be active, wine yeasts also need nutrients to keep their metabolism going and to keep the fermentation going strong. But what are yeast nutrients in wine making?…

For wine yeasts, it takes a heck of a lot of energy to multiply themselves into a viable colony, then turn the sugars of the juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide, so their energy really needs to be thoroughly replenished in order for them to not give up and die from exhaustion. The alternative is a stuck fermentation where the yeast activity comes to a complete halt.  Wine yeasts are living creatures (yes, they are teeny tiny, but they are still alive and kicking!), and they need to have their nutrients replaced when it is depleted through the rigorous activity of fermentation!

OK, so your wine yeasts need yeast nutrients in order to avoid a stuck or stopped fermentation.  What do I give them?  Multivitamins?  Pasta primavera?  Red Bull?  Surely those items will cause more harm than good for your wine, so instead, we’ll recommend some nutrient products for your wine yeast to munch on in order to ensure your wine fermentation keeps on going until the end.
Shop Wine Yeast

  • Di-Ammonium phosphate:  This is a common ingredient in a lot of wine yeast nutrients, and is the primary ingredient in the product Yeast Nutrients.  Basically, the yeasts utilizes the nitrogen component of the Di-Ammonium phosphate in order to supply the energy they need to keep that fermentation going strong.  Nitrogen to the wine yeast is like oxygen to us humans.  How much Yeast Nutrient to add will depend upon what kind of wine you are making, You can always add more Yeast Nutrient later if your fermentation becomes sluggish, so don’t worry too much if you think you aren’t adding enough.
  • Yeast Energizer: Sometimes when the yeast nutrients you added aren’t enough, you end up with a slowing, sluggish, or otherwise stuck fermentation.  Yeast Energizer is a great product to help jump-start the fermentation again and get your wine back on track.  The primary ingredients in Yeast Energizer are Di-Ammonium phosphate (the same stuff we’ve seen before), yeast hulls, magnesium sulfate, vitamin B complex, and tricalcium phosphate.  Not only will these ingredients help re-start your fermentation, but they also will ensure that your wine fermentation will keep going and at a rapid rate.Shop Wine Making Kits

As a general rule-of-thumb, Di-Ammonium phosphate is used by itself with wines made from grapes or hearty fruits similar to grapes such as bush-type berries. But as you start making wines with fruits that are more dissimilar to grapes, you are more likely to need Yeast Energizer. Herb wines such as dandelion, rose hip are prime candidates for Yeast Energizer, as is honey wine or mead. If you are following a wine recipe it will most likely tell you which type of yeast nutrient to use in your wine.

Remember, a wine that is lacking in yeast nutrients will not only cause a slow, sluggish, or even stuck fermentation, but can cause off-flavors and aromas in your finished wine.  So, don’t forget to feed your yeasts!
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Why You Should Be Using Sulfites In Your Wine Making Endeavors

Wine with sulfitesSulfites are a very important part of wine making. They are commonly used in both commercial wine making and home wine making. They can be used in granulated form such as potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite. Also for the home winemaker, sulfites can be used in tablet form called Campden tablets.

There are several reasons for using sulfites in the wine making process. They are extremely versatile and thus valuable in many ways. They act as a sanitizer in both the wine and on the equipment. Sulfites are also a protector against the damaging effects of oxygen.

Very briefly, when sulfite granules are added to a wine, sulfite gas is released and over time is passed through the liquid and escapes into the air.

One reason for using sulfites in wine making is sanitation.  For example, you may want to consider adding it directly to your juice prior to making the wine. Any fruit juice can be riddled with natural yeasts, bacteria, or other microscopic critters that could wreak havoc on the quality of your finished wine if left up to their own devices.  Adding sulfites directly to the wine will destroy unwanted organisms in the wine must so you don’t run the risk of ruining your wine before you’ve even begun.

Another reasons for using sulfites in wine making is to preserve your wine throughout the storage and aging process. Too much oxygen exposure to your wine can be problematic. It can cause it to become oxidized and lose many of its desired aromas and flavor characteristics while taking on undesired aromas, flavors, and colors.

By adding sulfites to the wine right before the bottling process, the sulfite gas molecules that are released into the wine have a opportunity to “push out” the excess oxygen into the atmosphere.  Think of it as the sulfite gas acting like a big bully and pushing the oxygen out of its way so the sulfite can sit in the wine and not oxygen. In short, when using sulfites in your wine making in this way, you prolonging the life of your wine, thus allowing you to enjoy it for longer than if you hadn’t used the sulfites.

shop_potassium_bisulfiteThere is a big myth floating around out there that sulfites cause headaches in people after drinking red wine, giving winemakers the idea of making sulfite free wine. So far, there is no credible evidence to support this idea, and it’s more likely that the histamines, tannins, or some other compound in red wine are causing some people to get headaches.

It’s also important to point out that many dried fruits such as prune and apricots have significantly higher doses of sulfites than any wine – typically more that 10 times – so if you do not get headaches from eating such dried fruits, then they are not allergic to the sulfites in wine.

The point is: using sulfites in your wine making is a good think note a bad thing. Take advantage of it, and claim all the benefits they have to offer.
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Did Using Distilled Water In My Wine Ruin It?

Distilled WaterI just started my first batch of home made wine. I didn’t use my tap water because it’s salt water from water softener. I used distilled water in this wine, instead. After coming to your site I found out that it’s not good to use distilled water in wine making. Is there anything I can do to save my homemade wine? Or would I be better of starting over?

Name: Rory
State: Michigan
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Hello Rory,

Let me start off by saying that using distilled water in a wine does not mean the wine is ruined. We do not recommend using distilled water because it may cause problems with the fermentation.

Distilled water is water that has been ran through a still, or rather, steamed from one vessel to the next. This process drives out all the free oxygen and leaves the trace minerals behind. This is significant to a fermentation.

The one thing that wine yeast needs is oxygen, particularly in the first stages of the fermentation. Oxygen is what helps wine yeast to multiply into a larger colony. Without a larger colony, you will have a sluggish, drawn-out fermentation.

The little packet of wine yeast that is typically added to a fermentation needs to multiply itself between 100 to 150 times to sustain a vigorous fermentation. Most of the sediment you will see at the bottom of the fermenter are all these yeast cells that were created during the fermentation.Shop Yeast Nutrients

If you’ve used distilled water in your wine, we recommend adding yeast nutrient, if you haven’t done so already. Yeast nutrient is a singular form of nitrogen – diammonium phosphate. The recommended dosage for this is 1 teaspoon per gallon of wine. This yeast nutrient will work in place of free oxygen to help start the wine yeast to multiply successfully.

In rare and extreme cases, it may also be necessary for you to aerate the wine. This can be done by splashing the wine to allow air to saturate into the wine must, or you can siphon the wine must from one vessel to the next, holding the siphon hose back so the the wine splashes.

Minerals make up part of the nutritional meal that wine yeast need to ferment sugar into alcohol. Minerals are needed for yeast to metabolize these sugars freely. Without minerals, wine yeast have a difficult time consuming the sugar that is right in front of them. For this reason, if you use distilled water in your wine making we recommend adding a little magnesium sulfate to your wine — 1/2 teaspoon per 5 gallons is more than enough.Shop Magnesium Sulfate

I would like to mention again that using distilled water in your wine making does not mean you have ruined your wine, but what it does mean is that you need to take some simple actions to mitigate the effects of the distilled water. By adding yeast nutrient and magnesium sulfate you can go on to have a great tasting wine.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Is Grape Juice Quality the Key to Making Great Wine?

California Connoisseur With White WineThe art and science of winemaking has been around for millennia, though certainly the techniques and procedures have evolved throughout the course of winemaking history.  It takes a lot of time, practice, and patience to become an expert winemaker, and even then, a bad batch can come along despite all your best intentions and efforts.  With all that being said, one thing has always remained true over time:

“It doesn’t matter how skilled you are at making wine, if you don’t have quality grape juice, you are not going to make quality wine.”

How do you get quality grape juice for winemaking?  Well, there are several different sources, all of which can result in quality wine if you are careful and follow the instructions.

The first source for grape juice for winemaking is to simply buy a grape juice concentrate. There is an extremely wide selection of grapes varieties to choose from when shopping for a grape juice concentrate.  Some of the concentrate on the market are produced by using low-quality grapes. These are fine for drinking sweet, but not so much for making wine, so it is important to do some research into the overall quality of the grapes used to create the grape juice concentrate. There are a lot of products out there utilizing known vineyards and quality grapes, so do your research!

The next source for grape juice for winemaking is freshly pressed juice.  This may be a more expensive option, as you will need to work directly with a vineyard, which may or may not be charging higher prices than the easy-to-get grape juice concentrate.  Keep in mind that when purchasing freshly pressed grape juice for winemaking, you will only be able to attain the juice at a particular time during the year, and you will be bound to the grape variety that is being grown by that particular vineyard.  Grape juice concentrates stay perfectly fresh in the packaging for years.

Another source of grape juice for winemaking is to grow the grapes and press them yourself!  This, of course, is the most labor intensive and most expensive method, however, it can be very rewarding, particularly if you have a “green thumb” and would like to be a part of the entire winemaking process from vine-to-wine, as they say.  Similar to getting fresh grape juice from a vineyard, you will only be able to get the juice at a certain time of the year (harvest) and only the same variety year after year.

There are many sources for attaining winemaking juice: grape juice concentrate, local vineyard, or you own backyard. Any of these sources are fine. Just be certain you are getting quality juice from quality sources, otherwise you can end up with bad wine before you’ve even begun making it!

Another blog post that discusses the virtues of grape juice concentrate and fresh grapes is, Concentrate vs. Grapes.
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Raising the Specific Gravity of a Wine With Sugar Syrup

Sugar syrup for raising specific gravityI have a question! After making a sugar-syrup, how much of it do I use to raise 5 gallons of wine? I mean how much does the S.G. [Specific Gravity, hydrometer reading] go up say per cup added? Thanks for any help.

Name: Thomas R.
State: New York (Long Island)
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Hello Thomas,

Raising the specific gravity of a wine with sugar syrup is perfectly fine. It’s a great way to get the S.G. up to where you need it to be when making a fruit wine or even a grape wine the just needs a little boost.

Knowing how much sugar syrup add to the wine to get from point A to point B on a hydrometer scale would be great to know ahead of time, but to do this you need to know the specific gravity of the sugar syrup. Not a sugar syrups are the same.

You can use a wine hydrometer to determine the specific gravity of the sugar syrup you’ve made. Just put the hydrometer in a sample of the syrup, just like you would when testing your wine. If the reading goes off the scale, you can still get a reading. Just add an equal amounts of water and sugar syrup in a sample. Then take a gravity reading and times it by two.

As an example, let’s say after you added equal parts of water and sugar syrup, you get a reading of 1.150. That would mean that the sugar syrup’s “actual” S.G. is 1.300. You double the “gravity” part of your reading, because you cut the sugar syrup by half.Shop Hydrometers

Once you know the S.G. of the sugar syrup, raising the specific gravity of your wine with sugar syrup is easy. It’s all just math.

Let’s say you want to add 6 ounce of sugar syrup that has an specific gravity of 1.300 to a gallon of wine:

A gallon of wine has 128 fluid ounces in it. You want to add 6 more fluid ounces of sugar syrup for a new total of 134 ounces. Now you need to spread the gravity of (300 times 6) over the 134 ounces (128 + 6). So it is (300 X 6) divided by 134. That equals 13.44. Let me shorten it up:

(Gravity of Syrup * Ounces of Syrup Per Gallon)/(128 + Ounces of Syrup Per Gallon) = Rise in S.G.
or
(300 * 6)/(128 + 6) = 13.44

What this means is that if you are raising the specific gravity of a wine with a sugar syrup that has a specific gravity reading of 1.300, and you add 6 fluid ounces of that syrup to each gallon of homemade wine, then the specific gravity of that homemade wine would be raised by 13.44 points on the gravity scale. For example, if the wine has a specific gravity of 1.060, the new reading would be 1.07344. You could round it to 1.073.Shop Conical Fermenter

Hope this helps you out. Just plug the numbers into the equation as needed and you’ll know ahead the results with raising the specific gravity of a wine with sugar syrup.

There is also another blog post that is somewhat related to this subject that I’d thought you might be interested in: “Controlling Your Wine’s Alcohol“.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Do Wine Kits Need More Ingredients?

I’ve been making wine using wine kits such as KenRidge for several years. These kits seem quite complete with all the ingredients needed – but reading many of the posts on your site causes me to wonder. Should I, could I, must I supplement the ingredients provided in these wine kits with other ingredient such as Yeast Nutrients, Acids, Tannins, Potassium Sorbate, Wine Conditioner? Should I add Campden tablets between bottling?

Name: Paul
State: New Jersey
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Hello Paul,

One of the great things about using one of these wine kits is that the all of these wine making ingredients have already been taken care of for you. This has either been done directly by including the ingredient in the grape juice, or indirectly by eliminating the need for the ingredient, all together.

As an example, you mentioned acid blend. This is typically included in a wine recipe to bring the wine’s acid up to the proper level. If a wine’s acid level is too low, it will taste flat and flabby. With one of these wine kits, however, the grape juice has already been adjusted to the correct acidity level.

Not only is it been adjusted to a proper range for wine, it is adjusted to the optimum level for each specific type of wine. This is done by bench-testing a batch-sample of the juice with an actual fermentation beforehand, then test-tasting the resulting wine for balance and overall character. The optimal amount of acid is determined, then applied to the all of the grape juice. And, all of this is done before the grape juice goes through any packaging into one of the wine kits.

The same can be said about the yeast nutrient and the wine tannin. Each are already in the grape juice at a level that will result in the best possible wine for that wine kit.

Another aspect to this is the speed at which the wine progresses through the fermentation, then the clearing, and then the bottling. The wine kits on the market today are set up to get in the wine bottle so quickly, that they do not have a need for sulfites such as Campden tablets to be addedShop Conical Fermenter along the way. It should be pointed out that most wine kits do include a packet of potassium metabisulfite. This is the same thing as Campden tablets, but they only recommend adding it if you plan on storing your wine for longer than 6 months in the bottle.

The last item I will mention is the Wine Conditioner. This is essentially a sweetener designed specifically for wine. It is something that can be added to taste before bottling, but only if you desire to change the wine kit manufacturer’s intended favor. If you decide to do so, proceed cautiously. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out.

If you would like to read more whether or not your wine kits need more ingredients, here is another blog post that continues on with this subject, Do Your Wine Juice Kits Need Adjusting? It has some additional info on this.

With that being said, don’t’ feel left out because you are not concerning yourself with all these wine making ingredients. Feel fortunate. Wine kits have come a long way toward making the process simple, and the results outstanding.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Using Pasteurized Juice For Making Wine

Pasturized JuiceI have decided to get in to the mysterious world of wine making. I have gotten my hands on carboys, yeast, corks, airlocks, etc. My only problem is that I can’t find any preservative free, unpasteurized apple juice, or any juice, to use in my first batch. Is using pasteurized juice for making wine OK? I’ve been told that the pasteurization process takes away from the final flavor. How much of an impact does it actually make? Thanks for the help!

Name: Steve G.
State: North Carolina
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Hello Steve,

I’m glad you’ve decided to make some wine. Using a pasteurized juice for making your wine, is a pretty good place to start for a beginning winemaker. The process is fairly straightforward and representative of the winemaking process in general.

You are correct in your assumption that you need to read the label and see what’s in the juice before actually buying it and using it to make wine. You need to look for preservatives that could sabotage your fermentation.

For example, you want to make sure that the juice does not have sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate. These specific preservatives will interfere with wine yeast ability to multiply and start a fermentation. However, things like potassium metabisulfite or ascorbic acid are just fine and will not give you any troubles whatsoever.

Shop Grape ConcentrateAbout the pasteurization, it is perfectly fine to make wine from a juice that has been pasteurized. It does not effect the flavor in any way and is a good thing for the juice to go through. While this process does have a big fancy name — named after Prof. Louis Pasteur, the creator of process —  it is really a very innocent and simple process. Pasteurization is simply performing a flash heating and cooling of the juice.

These days, the juice is heated and cooled so fast that it does not even have a chance to oxidize the juice. But it is being heated long and hot enough to kill any microbes that would have eventually caused the juice to spoil. This process has no chemistry to it and is nothing more than what I have described. So as far as affecting flavor, it does not.

The bottom line is that using pasteurized juice for making wine is perfectly fine. What you want to be on the look-out for is things like sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Dealing With A Cloudy Peach Wine

Cloudy-Peach-WineI have tried to make fresh Peach wine, it has been six weeks and it still is not clear, I followed all the basis steps in wine making, even put a clearing agent in it. Do I need just to weight longer.

Thanks Tbone
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Hello Tbone,

What your wine may be experiencing is what’s called a pectin haze. Peach wines are notorious for having this kind of fault.

Certain fruits have a lot more pectin in them than others. Pectin is the thick, gelatinous stuff that holds the fruit’s fiber together. Peaches, strawberries and certain other fruits have an abundance of it. Normally, pectin is broken down by the yeast during the fermentation and does not cause any issues. The yeast actually produce enzymes that help to break-down the pectin resulting in a clear wine. But when there is more pectin than the yeast can handle, the result is a pectin haze.

A pectin haze cannot be settled out by a fining agent such a bentonite, isinglass or other clarifier designed to settle out particles. That’s because a pectin haze is not made up of particles. It’s made up of an organic structure that is bound to the wine itself. The only way to rid yourself of it is to break down its molecular structure.

This is where pectic enzyme comes in. If you did not add pectic enzyme to this batch, or used pectic enzyme that was too old, a pectin haze is most likely what you are dealing with. Pectic enzyme is additional enzyme that can be added to the fermentation to help the yeast break down the pectin cells. The yeast produce it naturally during the fermentation, but with some fruit – such as your peaches – it’s just not enough. More pectic enzyme needs to be added.Buy Pectic Enzyme

At this point, I would go ahead and add a double-dose of pectic enzyme to this batch. The amount will vary depending on the type of pectic enzyme you are using. Just double the recommend dosage that is stated on the container it came in.

If you purchased the pectic enzyme from us, that would be a 1/4 teaspoon per gallon – a standard dose is 1/8 teaspoon. Be sure to rack the wine into a clean fermenter first so that you do not stir up any sediment when mixing in the pectic enzyme.

The results will not be immediate. It takes pectic enzyme longer to work once the activity of the fermentation has gone. But if a pectin haze is what you are dealing with, you should start to see improvements in the wine’s clarity within a couple of weeks.
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.