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Bottling my Muscadine wine

It’s lookin’ like my muscadine wine is finally ready to bottle. I’ve got a couple questions I’d appreciate some input on first.

  1. Do I NEED to add campden tablets when I bottle it? I know I’ve added some atleast once during one of the rackings. I don’t have any on hand, I can order some if i need them, but I plan on gifting these bottles in a few days.
  2. When do I need to add the sorbate? Time of bottling? Day before?
  3. There is still just a bit of sediment in the bottom of my carboy, do I need to rack it to another before bottling?

I know I had more questions, but we’ll start with that.
Thanks in advance!

Ok, so general disclaimer, I’m not the expert. Hopefully @rebuiltcellars sees this. But I’ll answer as best I can, and hopefully you can decide what to do.

  1. The purpose of campden (or potassium metabisulfate, don’t use sodium metabisulfate at this point), is as a sanitizer, and an anti-oxidant. Whenever you transfer the wine, you’ll introduce some oxygen, and the k-meta does an excellent job of scrubbing the oxygen before it can do any damage. That being said, if you’re careful in racking or bottling, and don’t splash any more than necessary, it probably won’t introduce much. As a sanitizer, it can prevent any microbes that may be introduced during bottling from spoiling the batch. Practice good sanitation, like using star-San on everything, and you shouldn’t have a problem. So yes, you should add some. But I don’t, for the reasons mentioned above. You can get away with it, but the “correct” thing to do is to add some sulfate.

  2. Sorbate is added to prevent continuing fermentation. If you’re going to sweeten the wine with a fermentable sugar, you need to do something to stop the yeast from fermenting the added sugar. Sorbate does that, assuming the wine has cleared. If you’re not adding sugar, and fermentation has stopped (and the yeast have dropped), sorbate isn’t necessary. I bottle dry wines, and don’t add sorbate. I bottle sweet wine if the final gravity has been stable for several months, meaning the yeast have quit. No need to add sorbate, the yeast are dead or dormant. But add sugar to sweeten? Better use sorbate. Best practice is to back-sweeten the wine, add the sorbate, and give it a few weeks to make sure fermentation doesn’t re-start. Or use a non-fermentable sugar and don’t worry about it.

  3. Sediment. Are you going to bottle right from the carboy? It can be done, just be careful to not stir up the sediment. Adding sorbate, sugar, or campden? Transfer it first, otherwise you’ll bottle cloudy wine. It’s really pretty easy to transfer it to a bottling bucket, and that will make bottling day much easier. For a 1-gallon jug, I don’t bother. Just be careful not to stir up sediment. 5 gallons? Rack it carefully to a bottling bucket or cleaned and sanitized carboy.

Hope this helps!

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Helps a lot, much appreciated.
I don’t think I’m gonna bother with the kmeta or the sorbate. I have the sorbate, but I dont plan on sweetening. I like the taste as is, and plan on gifting these bottles for Christmas, so I think I’ll keep as is. Although I may advise the recipients to not let it age too long…

Glad it helps! I don’t know that I’ve given away a bottle of wine that wasn’t opened within a few weeks. Most people aren’t in the habit of storing things like that. But you know your audience. Cheers!

Good advice from porkchop, and thanks for calling me out :slight_smile: Only a couple of comments to add:

  1. kmeta also protects the wine long term from oxidizing in the bottle, which can happen if you are using natural corks. If some of the wine might not be drunk in the next year or so, adding one campden tablet per gallon is cheap insurance that could allow it to stay good longer.

  2. When adding sorbate (which should ONLY be done for wines with significant residual sugar), add kmeta at the same time. The sorbate doesn’t stop the fermentation, it stops the yeast cells from reproducing. The current population of yeast will keep on fermenting just fine. But the kmeta will stun the yeast and cause a lot of the population to drop out, allowing the kmeta to be much more effective.

Thanks cellars!
If the only sugar added was added at the start (mid-August) should there be any “residual suagar”?

Best way to tell would be with a hydrometer measurement. A dry wine without residual sugar will have a gravity measurement below 1.000.

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