Why are Campden Tablets, Acid Blend, Yeast Nutrients and Pectic Enzymes so Important to Wine Making?
When you first start getting into wine making, you're going to be recommended various brands of Campden tablets, acid blends, yeast nutrients and pectic enzymes. Before you can make an informed purchasing decision on any of these products, you're going to need to know what they do in the first place. Here's a brief rundown of why these ingredients matter:
Think of Campden tablets as your wine's immune system. Campden tablets are used in the making of wine and other alcohols to inhibit the growth of wild yeast and to destroy unwanted bacteria in the wine. In short, these tablets prevent your wine from spoiling. While you do want certain yeast to grow inside your wine, allowing wild yeast free reign is a sure way to ruin your wine.
Acid blend is actually a generic term; it can refer to anything from a blend of citric acids to a blend of tartaric or malic acids. Every brand will have its own acid blends that can be used to acidify your wine. This is necessary to create a balanced wine.
Yeast nutrients can help to ensure that your yeast thrives and produces the alcoholic content that you're looking for. Yeast nutrients can be used to prevent a stuck fermentation, which is what happens when your yeast lacks the nutrients it needs and the wine can no longer ferment. Remember, your yeast is a living thing, and you won't get the results you're after if you don't feed it.
Pectic enzymes, or pectinase, are a series of enzymes such as polygalacturonase, pectolyase and pectozyme. These enzymes can help to break down pectin. What this essentially means is that it helps to break down the plant matter and get a richer bounty of flavors from the grape, and it can help to break down the cloudy appearance that you see in some wines.
These four ingredients weren't always used, but more recently, you simply don't want to make wine without these products on hand to help you get the results that you're after.
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