Campden tablets

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Graye
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Campden tablets

Post: #120559 Graye
Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:01 pm

We are about to make some country wines but have just reviewed our stock of demijohns etc and discovered we forgot to buy some Campden tablets last time we were in the UK. I've made enquiries on a French forum to see if we can get an equivalent here but would like to be out picking this afternoon.
OH is convinced we won't be able to manage without them and we will have to wait until I can get my hands on some.
The blackberries are ready to be picked around here and I really don't want to miss them. Someone on another forum has suggested using part of one of the chlorine tablets we use for the pool but that seems more than a little extreme! Are the campden tablets crucial right from the begining or is there some other method we could use please?
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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #120598 MKG
Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:15 pm

Campden tablets do two things ...

1. Disinfect equipment and fruit. You can use anything for the equipment and boiling water for the fruit. So you don't need tablets for that.

2. Prevent oxidation when racking. That's a month in the future, so you certainly don't need tablets right now. Even then, if you rack carefully and slowly, you don't really need the tablets.

So no - you can make perfectly good wine without ever having seen a Campden tablet. But they do make life a tad easier.
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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #120673 Green Aura
Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:06 pm

We don't use campden tablets. I agree that if you're careful racking and top up the demijohn to the neck each time there shouldn't be any need. Giving the demijohn a good scrub with a bottle brush and hot soapy water should be sufficient - we've not had any trouble thus far - although I must confess to nicking a couple of my mother's Steradent tablets to clean a particularly grotty one we found in the shed when we moved in!
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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #120701 becks77
Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:52 am

Hi
As an alternative how about baby bottle sterilising fluid :flower:
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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #120727 ina
Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:36 am

Never used them myself, either! Aren't they sulphur? I know that a lot of people who thought they were allergic to wine actually found they were allergic to the sulphur that was used in the making of it... I used to buy wine from a vineyard in Germany where they didn't use it, either, and a friend of mine who'd not been able to drink any wine for a long time could have that without ill effect.

So I rely on the powers of hot water.
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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #120881 Wombat
Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:38 am

ina wrote:Never used them myself, either! Aren't they sulphur? I know that a lot of people who thought they were allergic to wine actually found they were allergic to the sulphur that was used in the making of it... I used to buy wine from a vineyard in Germany where they didn't use it, either, and a friend of mine who'd not been able to drink any wine for a long time could have that without ill effect.

So I rely on the powers of hot water.


Sodium metabisulphite I think, Ina :wink:

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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #120895 ina
Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:34 am

Wombat wrote:Sodium metabisulphite I think, Ina :wink:


Well, there's a sulph in there somewhere. What do I know... :oops:

(Chemistry never was my strong point! :mrgreen: )
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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #234400 sandysmall
Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:22 am

Hello folks. I am new to this. I am an asthmatic, highly allergic to sodium metabisulfate, opening a jar nearly killed me. I am unable to drink commercially made wine and beer in Aus, but found to my great surprise and joy had no problems in places like Italy, France and Spain. On my return to Aus I learnt these countries do no use these chemicals. So I want to make my own wine, preferrably red. Can anybody help me with the purchase of wine yeasts? I have made beer in the past, using baby bottle sterilisng solution which hepled. Any advice would be welcome. :iconbiggrin:

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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #234415 MKG
Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:38 am

Sorry to hear of your allergy, sandysmall, but I'd suggest that it isn't related to sodium metabisulphite (opening a jar of that stuff and sniffing it would knock anyone's head off). The fact of the matter is that sulphites, in fact, ARE used in most French, Spanish and Italian wines (but it may be well-hidden or even absent from the label). There's actually a lot of discussion around the net on this subject - and no-one has yet worked out why, as you say, drinking wine IN those countries should differ markedly from drinking wine FROM those countries. It's the same stuff.

As far as yeast goes, start off with a general-purpose wine yeast. You can go on to specific yeast varieties later when you have more experience (if, indeed, you ever need to. 99 times out of a hundred, GP yeast does the job for me).

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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #234503 frozenthunderbolt
Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:06 pm

Please note: do NOT use chlorine to sterilize anything - yeast cant handle it at all. If you have, try adding some ascorbic acid (vit c) powder to your must (wine liquid) as this helps to drive off free chlorine.
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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #235013 sandysmall
Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:03 pm

Thanks for the information on yeast to use, but I can assure you I am highly allergic to sodium metabisulfate - allergy tests conducted by a specialist have proven it. It makes me extremely ill. Ingesting anything at all that contains this compound and its relatives has the same effect. This means sausages, mince meat, bacon, ham manufactured in this country. Imported wine from Italy and bottled in Aus has the same effect. Wine bottled in Italy does not. What I don't understand is did wine makers 2000 years ago have this compound in their wine? :scratch:

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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #235014 frozenthunderbolt
Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:24 am

sandysmall wrote:. What I don't understand is did wine makers 2000 years ago have this compound in their wine? :scratch:


Not sure, but i can tell you they probably burnt brimstone (sulfur) inside their barrels to disinfect them (certainly from the middle ages onwards at least! ) - use of sulfur compounds has been around for ages.
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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #235015 MKG
Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:43 am

The reason I said that metabisulphite shouldn't be the culprit is that there's none in the wine. Yes, it's added to the wine for stabilisation purposes, but that stabilisation comes from the breakdown of the metabisulphite. Wine is a weak acidic solution with a number of complex acids in there. The first thing that happens is that the metabisulphite reacts with water to produce sulphur dioxide and (theoretically) sodium hydroxide. It's the sulphur dioxide which does the stabilisation and preservation bit. The hydroxide - which is actually caustic soda, or lye - doesn't last long, as it reacts with the acids in the wine to form the salts of those acids plus water. Ergo, no metabisulphite.

However, you DO have the sulphur dioxide in solution and that CAN cause adverse reactions. However, it dissipates, over a period of time, when a bottle of wine is opened. Most of it disappears almost immediately, but traces will be left for up to 24 hours. I wonder how long European restaurants leave an opened bottle before serving it?

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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #235407 SaveSomeGreen
Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:40 pm

Sodium meta bisulphite is one of the cheapest ways to do things, it gives things that extra touch of sterility and as mentioned before it can be used to arrest yeast activity after racking to make a more stable medium for the wine (it can undergo secondary reactions many weeks after bottling).

If you are worried about physical reactions consider that the sulphite is in a chemical base very different to sulphur, like salt which is sodium chloride. A teaspoon of sodium put into water would explode and chlorine is highly poisonous. Together they form a stable bond which we can put on chips.

Therefore you should be ok.

However you can use a steam cleaner or boiling water after a very thorough clean to sterilise everything and you can also use a very weak solution of milton equivalent fluid to be extra sure. Videne is also used but I haven't used it myself.

MKG is spot on, but if you follow the above you should be absolutely fine. Just make sure that everything brewed has finished it's fermentation and you should have no further reactions. What you may find is that the wine you make without will be very dry so you may have to back sweeten after racking with a non fermentable (artificial) sweetener or use a yeast that has a lower attenuation point (like a bread yeast) which will mean the alcohol level is lower but leaves a sweeter wine as more sugar is left as opposed to being converted into alcohol.
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Re: Campden tablets

Post: #260028 luvraspberry
Tue May 08, 2012 4:45 am

Hi there,
Sallysmall I'm new to this site but just read your post about sulphites and I totally believe you! I had an allergic reaction from a couple sips of wine several years ago with hives all over my body for two weeks. I thought that I was allergic to wine but found out from a wine dealer that I was probably allergic to sulphites. Here in the USA we can get sulphite free wine in a few places, which has been great for me. And I heard the same thing from the wine dealer...in most European countries they don't use or add sulphites while making the wine which is why you had no problem in those countries.
Just about every time I go to dinner at my parent's house they have a bottle of wine and my father reminds us, "You know Jesus' first miracle was turning the water into wine." lol Do you think there was sodium metabisulphite back then?


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