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Sulfur Calculator

Created by Komal Rafay
Reviewed by Purnima Singh, PhD and Adena Benn
Last updated: Jan 18, 2024

Some of you might be wondering why you would need a sulfur calculator, while others may be glad you have access to a sulfur calculator. Whichever reason has brought you here, we have the answers for you.

We will be talking about some interesting topics like:

  • Whether wine has sulfur in it or not;
  • The molecular sulfur in wine; and
  • How to calculate the sulfur dioxide in wine.

Molecular sulfur in wine

Sulfur dioxide gas added to the wine-making process converts into either of the three, molecular SO2, bisulfite, or sulfite. Depending on the pH of the wine, molecular SO2 and bisulfites are more common forms of sulfur in wine.

Now, you might be wondering, "why does wine have sulfur in it?" Well, the molecular sulfur dioxide gives the wine antioxidant and antimicrobial effects.

The sulfur in wine also helps prevent the oxidation and browning of wine.

If you want to learn more about molecular sulfur in wine, our molecular SO2 calculator is an exciting and informative read.

Sulfur calculator

You might be wondering why you would need a sulfur calculator. Isn't sulfur something found in soils? But there is more to it than that.

Sulfur in the form of molecular SO2 and sulfites is a crucial product used in winemaking. It acts as a preservative, but there is a limit to how much you should use in your winemaking.

Whether it's red, white, or any other fruit-based wine, each has a different requirement for the amount of sulfur used to make it. So, our tool will come in handy when you are making your wine.

Our tool calculates the amount of molecular sulfur dioxide in your wine using the free SO2 molecules and the pH of your wine.

Now that you understand that, the first thing you input is your wine's free SO2 content. The default unit is milligrams per liter, but you can choose other units from the list based on your information.
The second thing to input is the pH of the wine.

As a result, the tool determines the amount of molecular sulfur in your wine.

So, for instance, you input the free sulfur 29 mg/L29 \text{ mg/L}, and the pH of your wine is 3.23.2. The result is molecular sulfur dioxide at 1 mg/L1 \text{ mg/L}.

Our pH calculator can help you understand the significance of pH on various substances.

Calculating sulfur dioxide in wine

Let's dive into understanding how to calculate sulfur in wine.

The formula to calculate the molecular sulfur content of your wine is:

Molecular SO2=Free SO21+10(pH1.8)\small \text{Molecular}\ \text{SO}_2 = \frac{\text{Free}\ \text{SO}_2}{1+10^{(pH-1.8)}}

Don't be overwhelmed by the math involved in solving the equation. Once we walk through the breakdown of each step, it will be easy as pie.

  1. First, subtract 1.8 from the pH value.
  2. Take the result of step one as a power of 10.
  3. Add 1 to the result of step two.
  4. Divide the value of free SO2 by the result of step 3.
  5. As a result, you have the molecular sulfur of your wine in mg/L.

See that doesn't seem too difficult. And if it does, use our efficient tool and forget about doing the calculations yourself. It is for your convenience, after all.

Reduce total sulfur dioxide in wine

The presence of sulfur in your wine might sound strange, but it is there for a good reason.

It protects the wine from oxidation which helps sustain its color and taste. The presence of sulfur keeps the unwanted microorganisms at bay.

The appropriate amount of sulfur in wine helps promote yeast growth for better fermentation.

The pH affects the wine's acidity and the final amount of molecular sulfur.

The level of molecular SO2 to aim for is:

  • 0.8-1.5 mg/L for white wines; and
  • > 0.6 mg/L for red wines.

As long as we discuss different wine types, checking out our alcohol dilution calculator would be a good idea.


Does wine have sulfur in it?

Yeast is the fermenting agent in wines, and sulfites are a bi-product of the fermentation. That is why it is safe to say almost all wines have sulfites.

Sulfur dioxide is added during the wine-making process and has been so for years. The sulfites protect the wine against oxidation and preserve the color and taste of the wine.

What is free sulfur dioxide in wine?

Sulfites release sulfur dioxide gas, the active agent helping preserve food.
Wine has two forms of sulfites, free and bound sulfites.

The free sulfites are available to react and are the ones to give the wine antioxidant properties. In contrast, the bound sulfites are the ones that have reacted in the wine with other molecules.

How can I calculate sulfur in wine?

The formula to calculate the molecular sulfur content of your wine is:

Molecular sulfur = Free SO2 / (1 + 10^(pH - 1.8))

The steps involved might seem complicated at first glance, but let's look at them one step at a time for simplicity:

  1. First, subtract 1.8 from the pH of your wine.
  2. Take the result as a power of 10.
  3. Add 1 to the result.
  4. Divide the free SO2 by the result of step 3.
  5. The result is molecular sulfur in your wine, in units of mg/L.

How much molecular sulfur is in my wine, if free SO₂ is 84 mg/L?

Let's assume that the pH of the wine is 3.6, then the molecular sulfur in your wine is 1.3 mg/L.

The formula to determine the molecular sulfur in your wine is:

Molecular sulfur = Free SO2 / (1 + 10^(pH - 1.8))

All you have to do is input the pH of your wine and the amount of free sulfur in it.

So it would look like this:

Molecular sulfur = 84 / (1 + 10^(3.6 - 1.8))

Molecular sulfur = 84 / 64.15

Molecular sulfur = 1.3 mg/L

Komal Rafay
Wine pH
Free sulfur dioxide (SO₂)
Molecular sulfur in wine
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