I recently read an article on your website that said not to use distilled water, but bottled water labeled spring water. Should I treat the water with sodium metabisulfite before beginning the primary fermentation in my plastic fermenter or is the bottled spring water okay to use straight from the bottle?
Deciding if you should add Sodium Metabisulfite before the fermentation or not isn’t determined by the type of water you use. Regardless if it is bottled spring water or just plain tap water, it does not make a difference. Either water is fine and does not require the addition of sulfites.
What does matter is whether or not you are making wine from fresh fruits. When making wine from fresh fruits, sulfites should be added before the fermentation to destroy any wild molds, bacteria, etc. If you are making wine from a packaged wine making juice of some kind, then there are no wild molds or bacteria to be delt with, so no sulfites are needed.
Sodium Metabisulfite is added 24 hours before you add the wine yeast. During this time the sulfites release into the must and then slowly disipate into the air. This is why you only want the fermenter to be covered with nothing more than a light towel. Once 24 hours has past, you can then add your wine yeast. If you add the yeast before this time, you run the risk of killing the yeast with the sulfites.
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.