The term “Sulfites” reffers to sulfur dioxide (SO2), a preservative used in wine-making and most food industries. Its antioxidant and antibacterial properties maintain the wine’s freshness. Usually the consumption of sulfites is harmless, but it can affect people suffering from asthma. People that lack sulfite oxydase, a digestive enzyme, can develop allergies like sneezing, swelling of the throat and headaches. Adding too much sulfur to grape juice before it start fermentation can modify the wine’s flavor. All wine bottles sold in the United States with a sulfite level above 10 ppm (parts per milion) must have a label stating that it contains preservatives. If the amount is less than 1 mg/liter the label says “No Sulfites”.
Sulfites can be found in foods like onions, wines, dried fruits and garlic. Because they are naturally occurring, it is impossible to remove all SO2, but you can learn how to make wine without sulfites added on purpose. Modern equipment makes this kind of production possible, although the wine must be consumed within a year. If you are allergic of just want to know how to make wine without suflites because it tasted better, follow these simple steps:
Step 1 – Prepare the equipment
All equipment used in wine-making must be cleaned and sterilized to prevent bacterial contamination. There are some special detergents and bleaches that can be fount at wine supply stores. Thoroughly clean and rinse the equipment just before using it.
Step 2 – Use carbon dioxide
If you want to learn how to make wine without suflites, you need to master the use of carbon dioxide (CO2). A layer of carbon dioxide can prevent oxidation. Before you start, put on some goggles and a mask to avoid overexposure. In a ventilated area, inject CO2 into the empty fermentation container and track the amount released with a pressure regulator. Do this before you move the wine into the vessel.
Step 3 – Harvest and crush
Select the grapes and toss out the rotten ones and the stems. Wash them and make sure they are free of insects. Bacterial colonies compromise the preservation process, so look carefully for signs of mold or abnormal growth. Crush the grapes and and release the juice into the fermentation container.
Step 4 – Add yeast
Yeast can repress microbial buildup because it consumes the sugar and produces alcohol instead. Dry yeast is usually used in wine-making and commercial yeasts are the strongest. Because they are sold in large quantities you can try and obtain a small batch from a local distillery.
Step 5 – Keep alcohol levels high
A 14 percent alcohol level or higher keeps bacteria away. The desired alcohol level must be reached quickly because the wine must be consumed within a year.