Making Wine at Home: Sanitizing

We have already covered:

Step 1: The Equipment: Getting Started

Step 2: Grape Selection

Today we’ll discuss SANITIZING.

It is MOST IMPORTANT to keep everything that comes in contact with your wine EXTREMELY CLEAN. This single point cannot be stressed enough. This is especially critical when cleaning the fermenting vessels. You don’t need to sterilize, as it is impossible to keep things sterile.

Clean first, and then sanitize the press, crusher, fermentation vats, carboys, destemmer, and anything that will come in contact with the grapes, must, or wine during all phases of the wine making process. It cannot be stressed enough how important cleanliness and sanitation are. Taking shortcuts here will undoubtedly, sooner or later, ruin an entire batch of wine. All of the time, money and labor you’ve invested up to that point will have been wasted.

BASIC SANITATION RULES:

Here are some basic rules for maintaining a sanitized winery.

  1. Keep the winery clean and free of refuse both inside and out.
  2. Inspect the winery premises, the equipment and the cooperage at least once each month.
  3. Keep all equipment clean and in good working condition. Equipment should be arranged in an orderly way and the work areas kept free of clutter.
  4. Use plenty of clean hot water, sterilizing materials and cleaning agents, and the winery should be cleaned on a regular basis.
  5. Get rid of harmful bacteria, yeast, mold, insects and rodents. Then take any measures necessary to prevent a recurrence of these pests.

CLEANING:

The first step in the process is ensuring that the equipment is clean. All new equipment should always be cleaned prior to sanitizing. It should also be cleaned up after each use. Simply rinsing out equipment after use does not always remove all the organic material. If you don’t clean your equipment after using it, you will likely find mold growing in it the next time you pull it out to make a batch of wine.

                                          

Cleaning instructions using Soda Ash and Citric Acid:

Step 1: Soda Ash
Use 3 tablespoons Soda Ash dissolved in 1 gallon of HOT water to clean everything. Run the same solution through all of your carboys (from container to container). Brush clean and then discard the solution and rinse with plain water.

Step 2: Citric Acid
Follow the same instructions as used for Soda Ash.

Step 3: META (Kills bacteria)
Finally, dissolve 4 tablespoons of META in 1 gallon of water. Swirl this solution through all of your carboys, bottles etc. and rinse thoroughly.

Check back soon for the next stage in Wine-Making when the real fun begins…We’ll sort through the grapes and give you an old school demonstration on stomping!

Thanks for stopping by!

Gio

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© Giovanni Cucullo 2011

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Making Wine at Home: Getting Started

Making your own wine at home might seem daunting at first, but once you have purchased all the equipment and have gained a firm understanding of the wine-making process you will quickly begin to embrace something that began almost 8000 years ago.

I will separate the process into 8 stages, today being the first.

 
The first critical step is to find a reputable supplier for all your wine-making needs. In Westchester County, New York, there’s a family run institution where everyone goes to for all their wine-making supplies…Prospero Winery!


Here’s a list of all the equipment you will need:

                
Above:
1. Table Top De-Stemmer
2. Fermentation Vat with Lid
 
I opted to NOT use the de-stemmer and chose to de-stem the grapes by hand. I will give a detailed explanation about that when we get there.
 
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Below:
4. Stainless Steel Puncher
5. Press
  
  
         
  
  
Here are the nutrients, chemicals & additives you will need:

                                  
Citric Acid and Sodium Carbonate are used for sanitizing EVERYTHING!

                                                 
 
You MUST use yeast…never rely on natural yeast!
Metabisulfate is used to:
1. Create sulfur dioxide gas
2. Inhibit bacteria and wild yeasts
3. Increase the aging
4. Protect color and flavor
5. Sterilize equipment
                                      
DAP (Dimaonium Phosphate) and Fermaid are foods which the yeast will feed on…It helps the wine to ferment.
                        
 
                                                 
MicrosEssentials Oenos and Viniflora are nutrients which contain a mixture of organic proteins that help induce Malolactic Fermentation.
 
 
This is a hydrometer. It’s used to measure the amount of sugar in the wine and it will tell you when you should press the grapes into juice.
 
                                       
 
 
You will need Demijohns (carboys) to store the wine while it ferments.
They come in different shapes and sizes but I recommend the standard 5 gallon water-cooler type…just make sure you use glass and not plastic.

 

You will also need additional bottle sizes for later in the wine-making process when you will have odd amounts of wine.

                     

You will need rubber corks (bungs) and airlocks for each bottle.

                                          

Get yourself a syphon kit for transferring wine from jar to jar.

                                      

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Other items:

     Pails / Buckets

Measuring Cups and Spoons


Strainer


Clear Packing Tape

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And of course…
Grapes!

 

Check back soon for the next stage in Wine-Making when we’ll discuss the grapes and how to choose the right one for you!

Thanks for stopping by!

Gio

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© Giovanni Cucullo 2010