Technique

Making White Wines with Less Sulfite

Managing oxygen is key in making reduced-sulfite or sulfite-free wines. A dissolved oxygen (DO) meter is a wise investment; you can buy a portable model for less than $300. Then you can ensure that your DO level at bottling is less than 2 mg/L to give you peace of mind that your wine will age gracefully and show its full freshness once uncorked; the higher the DO at bottling, the more sulfite you will need to add. Note: In the following, 100 mg/L translates to 2.3 g or approximately 0.08 oz. per 23-L (6-gal.) carboy.   General considerations In all protocols, it is absolutely imperative that you remove any and all rotten grapes; otherwise, laccase enzymes will cause browning in must and can linger on in wine to continue their browning effects. Always insist on high-quality grapes; any comprise in fruit quality will compromise wine quality and possibly lead to microbial spoilage. For white varietals rich in polyphenols from overripe grapes, whole-cluster pressing is preferable to minimize polyphenol extraction and oxidation, and must browning. Must from overripe grapes will need