Winemaking Cleaning & Sanitation
Proper sanitation is an essential component of making a great batch of wine. If you fail to properly clean and sanitize all your equipment, you run the risk of making a bad tasting wine, or at worst, ruining an entire batch. We want to avoid this at all costs, so it is important that you follow these steps to ensure you have properly cleaned and sanitized all of your equipment.
What needs to be sanitized?
If in doubt, clean it and sanitize it.
Airlocks, bottles, brushes, bungs, containers, hydrometers, measuring equipment, paddles, stoppers, tubing, rods, spoons…. Pretty much anything that comes in contact with the wine will need to be sanitized.
The process of cleaning & sanitizing:
Step 1 - Pre-Rinse:
Use fresh water to remove any dirt, dust, or excess materials before you begin.
Step 2 - Prepare cleaning/sanitizing agents:
Follow the instructions provided with your particular cleaning/sanitizing agent.
It is very important that you use the recommended cleaning agents for your equipment, with the proper dilution rates. If you use the wrong agents or wrong dilution rates, you may damage or ruin your equipment. Caustic (corrosive) cleaners should be handled very carefully and used only on plastics and stainless steel.
Step 3 - Clean thoroughly
Be sure that your cleaning solution reaches the entire surface. Use a soft brush or other soft material to scrub residues and stains. You should not use any abrasive material, because scratches become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Rinse your equipment with fresh, warm, clean water before sanitizing.
***You cannot sanitize a dirty surface, so be sure to clean well.***
Recommended Cleaning Agents:
One Step Cleanser - is a no-rinse cleanser and uses active oxygen to clean and sanitize your home-brew and winemaking equipment.
B-Brite - Active oxygen and sodium carbonate base. Great for barrels, but can be used for equipment and wine bottles as well.
Caustic Soda - Not recommended for home winemakers.
Professional Brewery Wash (PBW) - PBW is an alkaline, non-caustic, environmentally and user friendly cleaner. Safe for use on stainless steel, glass, brass and plastic.
Pro Foam Plus VF41 - Chlorinated alkaline foam cleaner. Good for deep cleaning.
Sal Soda (Soda Ash) - Alkaline cleaning agent... works well to remove grape stains.
Step 4 - Sanitize
Be sure to use a suitable sanitizing agent for the material being sanitized, and use as directed.
Recommended Sanitizing Agents:
Campden Tablets – This method is preferred by some due to its long shelf life. Rinsing is not necessary, but keep in mind that the tablets need to be crushed using a mortar & pestle. The tablets contain the same active ingredient as potassium metabisulite.
Potassium Metabisulfite and Citric Acid – We often recommend this method to our customers. It creates a cost-effective sanitizing rinse, meaning no additional rinsing with clean water. Potassium metabisulfate has a strong odor and those allergic to sulfites may be aggravated by its potency. Measure carefully. In a gallon of water, add 2 teaspoons of potassium metabisulfite and 1 tablespoon of citric acid. Use it as a rinse. If you’re rinsing bottles, just go from bottle to bottle. You can reuse the rinse until you notice it losing its odor. Just mix up another gallon and pick up where you left off. Drain bottles and air dry. You can use this method for your equipment as well.
Rinse out equipment (unless you use a no-rinse cleanse) with fresh, clean, cool water. Make sure there are no residual