Campden Tablet Uses
Whether you’re new to winemaking or you’ve been doing it for decades, there’s no doubt that you’ve realized that the only thing more commonly used than Campden Tablets in the winemaking process is… well, grapes. Though, using Campden Tablets doesn’t guarantee that your wine will be perfect, this magical little tool can be used at different times throughout the entire course of making the wine to mitigate the risks of imperfection.
So, What Exactly are Campden Tablets?
Essentially, Campden Tablets are just metabisulfite in tablet form. Some are made of sodium metabisulfite, but most are potassium metabisulfite.
What Do They Do?
Initially, Campden Tablets were used in wine making to keep the wine from spoiling after it had been bottled. When added to wine during bottling, you can practically eliminate any risk of your wine falling victim to mold, bacteria and other foreign enemies. You’ll want to add one Campden Tablet for every gallon of wine. Once you’ve figured out how many tablets you’ll need, crush them up and add them to a cup or two of wine that you’ve separated from the rest of the batch. Once the tablets have completely dissolved, combine it with the rest of the batch and stir the wine thoroughly.
Winemakers also routinely use Campden Tablets to sterilize their juice prior to fermenting it. By adding the tablets a day before adding the yeast, it will eliminate all of the unwanted microorganisms, essentially giving your wine a slate to begin fermenting. To add the Campden Tablets, follow the same steps as you would for pre-bottling, but add the Campden Tablets at least 24 hours prior to adding yeast.
Another popular use of Campden Tablets is to create a sanitizing solution by adding them to warm water. This method is used by many home winemakers to safely sanitize fermenters, air-lock, stirring spoons, hoses and all the other pieces of equipment that may come into contact with the wine must. Add four tablets for each quarter of water used and soak your equipment in it overnight.
What Don’t They Do?
A common myth is that there’s a magic pill that can stop a fermenting wine in its tracks… That pill isn’t the Campden Tablet… in fact, it isn’t ANY tablet. Although adding Campden Tablets to wine while it’s fermenting will suspend the fermentation, this effect is only temporary. There’s really no solution to stopping the fermentation process other than just letting it run its course.
As previously stated, Campden Tablets contain either potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite. As an alternative to Campden, these two can be used in powder form, however, measuring them out is quite tedious as 1 Campden Tablet is equal to 1/16 of a Teaspoon of the metabisulfite.