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Sodium Metabisulfite and Campden

Sodium Metabisulfite (Na2S2O5)

Commonly referred to as "meta" by wine makers, this is the most common chemical used for treating wine and disinfecting wine making equipment. When dissolved into water, sodium metabisulfite releases sulfur dioxide, which kills harmful bacteria in wine. In addition it can be used (and should be used) to sterilize all equipment that comes into contact with wine. This include any container that stores the wine (buckets, carbouys, etc...), and siphons used to transfer wine, bottles, corks, stirrers, etc...

Tip: Do not skimp on equipment sterilization--it is one of the most important aspects of the wine making process. If the equipment is not sterilized, there is significant risk that the wine will become contaminated, and go bad!

Potassium Metabisulfite

Also referred to as "meta" by wine makers. It also releases sulfur dioxide when dissolved in water, and can be used in the same capacity as sodium metabisulfite. Some claim that potassium metabisulfite is "better" than sodium metabisulfite, as it does not add sodium into the wine.

Campden Tablets

These tablets are made from either sodium metabisulfite or potassium metabisulfite and are made to treat wine with sulfur-dioxide to kill living bacteria within the wine. Typically campden tablets concentrated such that one tablet is used per gallon of wine. It is suggested that the campden tablets be crushed when adding to wine to assist with dissolving into wine.

Tip: I have found that crushing campden tablets can be very difficult, especially with your hands. It is suggested that a mortar and pestle be used for crushing.

Tip: I like to go "light" on preservatives. Typically, I will use only 1 campden tablet per two gallons of wine.

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