I started a batch of the SunCal California red [grape concentrate]. This is first time I have used a kit like this. I noticed it does not call for Campden tablets to be used. Is this correct, or does this wine concentrate need sulfites?
When making wine from fresh fruits it is important to treat the wine must with a sulfite of some kind before starting the fermentation. You could use the Campden tablets you mentioned. You could also use potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite. Any of these will release sulfites into the wine. The dosage is right on the container they come in.
The reason for adding sulfites to a wine must is to destroy any wild molds, bacteria and other unwanted, microbial nasties that could eventually grow and ruin your wine. The sulfites release into the juice killing these wild elements. After that, they leave the wine, dissipating into the air as a gas. Once the wine must has sat for 24 hours, with the cover off the fermenter, you can then add wine yeast and start the wine making process as you normally would.
However, when making wine from wine concentrates you do not need to add sulfite. Any of the SunCal concentrates or other packaged wine making juices have already been treated and are ready to go when you get them. All you need to do is mix in the wine yeast and other ingredients, and let it ferment.
As an additional note, it is important to remember that even thought wine concentrates do not need sulfites added before fermentation, they do need them before bottling. By adding sulfites to any wine before bottling, you are are dramatically reducing the chance of the wine spoiling. You are also dramatically increasing the wine’s ability to retain its freshness for an extended period of time.
There is no reason to wait 24 hours after adding the sulfites. Just blend it in and bottle immediately. You can find more info on when to add sulfite to a wine on our website.
David, I hope this information helps you out. Now you know that wine concentrates don’t need sulfites added before fermentation It was a great question, and I’m glad you asked it.
Happy Wine Making,
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.