Saving a wine kit from accidental sorbate

by Winemaking

You just sank $100 on a new wine kit.  You rip open the box and get to work on making your wine.  For your final step, you reach for the yeast packet and sprinkle it on the top.  Then you see the #2 on the packet.  It’s not the yeast.  It’s the potassium sorbate.’, ‘You scream.  You cry.  You write frantic posts to every forum you can think of asking what should you do.  You blame the kit maker for not making the pouches a different color.

What is your next step?  If you had grabbed the potassium metabisulfite, you’d be ok.  Wait a day or two, and then add the yeast. Potassium sorbate is a bit different.  It doesn’t kill the yeast.  It just prevents it from renewing a fermentation.  Unfortunately a fermentation is exactly what we want to happen.

The local homebrew and winemaking store suggested to try making a starter.  A starter is a small amount of grape juice, apple juice, or sugar water inoculated with yeast.  Also add some yeast food.  We want this yeast culture to be as happy as possible.  Once the cell count gets high, you add it to your fermenter.  Normally it is used to give a fermentation a good start.  In this case we are adding an existing fermentation to our wine kit.

The key is that potassium sorbate stops renewed fermentation, not existing fermentation.  We are adding a yeast culture that is currently fermenting.

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DJ Spiess

DJ Spiess

Beer buddy

I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!