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Cleaning & Sanitizing

At all stages in the winemaking process any tools and equipment that is going to come into contact with the juice or wine will need to be sanitized. This is done to eliminate spoilage yeast and bacteria that could contaminate our wine and ruin it. Sanitization is done in two steps:

Step 1: Expose the surface to be sanitized
Make sure the surface area to be cleaned is free of any dirt, solids, film or grime. If it isn’t, then you will need to scrub it off with a sponge or white scrub pad and water. Exposing the surface to be sanitized is important because sanitizers only work via direct contact. If you have a layer of dirt or a dried grape skin that doesn’t get removed before you sanitize, then this actually prevents the sanitizer from reaching the bacteria and/or yeast and they will not be killed. Only clean surfaces can be sanitized!
  • PBW” (Powdered Brewery Wash”): Stubborn stains and new equipment (which often has residual oils from the manufacturing process on it) can be easily cleaned using PBW, a non-hazardous, buffered alkaline cleaner. PBW will not corrode soft metals.
  • Short brushes and hoses can be cleaned with a long hose/line brush made for this purpose. Longer lengths of hose can be cleaned by filling them with sanitizer and passing a rubber sponge cleaning ball through them using a wine pump.
Note: Avoid stainless scrub pads on stainless or plastic vessels as they can scratch the surface and create grooves which can harbor spoilage organisms. In extreme cases you may even compromise the finish of stainless steel itself! 

Step 2: Sanitize!
Once the surface is clean it can now be sanitized. This is done by preparing the sanitizer* and pouring, wiping, or swirling to make sure the sanitizer wets all the surfaces needing to be sanitized. It is important that the surfaces remain wet during the entire sanitization period! After waiting for the manufacturers recommended contact time, rinse the equipment off with fresh, clean water. Congratulations, you have now sanitized!

*Note: We recommend using Star San or SaniClean as your sanitizer, as it is much friendlier and easy to deal with than the traditional SO2 and citric acid solution that is often referred to in many winemaking books. Unlike the SO2 solution, Star San has no dangerous fumes and is perfectly safe to come into contact with. In fact during our winemaking, often the first step when we begin working is to dunk our hands into a bucket of prepared Star San!

Complete information on cleaning & sanitization can be found in our Cleaning & Sanitizing manual.