Chapter 18

Sulfur Dioxide Use in Winemaking

Forms of Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur dioxide has the advantage of being available in various forms capable of responding to different situations. Sulfur dioxide may be applied by the combustion of sulfur, as gaseous form, as liquid stock solution, and by salts that release sulfur dioxide.

Combustion of Sulfur

The combustion of sulfur is the oldest and most known form of sulfurization to sanitize oak barrels. This sulfur type is available in different shapes (e.g., wicks, candles, discs), but the most used are the perforated discs which, when lit, are suspended in the center of the barrel with a metal wire (Figure 18.3).

Salts of Sulfur Dioxide

The use of solid salts that release sulfur dioxide is practically compatible with all the phases of winemaking, and it is certainly preferable in wine sulfitation, since it does not involve the addition of water.

Liquid Stock

Given the risks in handling gaseous form, medium and small cellars producers prefer to use a liquid stock that are easier to manage and dispense. Preparation of a liquid sulfur dioxide stock solution (in water) is also a possibility for wine additions.

Gaseous Form

The use of sulfur dioxide in gaseous form is possible by dispensing it from tanks that contain it in liquid form, under pressure from which it is possible to dispense it as a gas or liquid form. This method is particularly useful for direct application to wine, using specially dosing equipment which can be adjusted to give exactly the right concentration.

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