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Wine sterilisation

Hits 1455 | Created 2007-05-23 | Modified 2007-05-23

The most common failing in wine making is caused by two agents Wild Yeast and Acetic Bacteria.

The yeasts of certain fungi, present in the air around us, can make wine turn flat or insipid. Similarly, acetic bacteria (also present in the air around us) can turn wine into acetic acid, or vinegar.

The solution is sterilisation, which will destroy the undesirable anti-wine elements.

Two good methods:

1. Boiling Water.
Washing all equipment in boiling water is normally sufficient to sterilise them. After washing, allow to drain for a few minutes before use.

2. Sterilisation Solution.
These solutions can be bought from any shop selling winemaking, home-brew equipment, or made yourself as follows:

Mix 2oz Sodium Metabisulphite or Potassium Metabisulphite

(from chemists) to gallon of warm water and use as required.

Add the mixture to the bottle or jar etc to be sterilised, or submerse tubes, locks etc into the solution. Rinse, repeat. Afterwards, rinse equipment in cooled, boiled water and allow to stand for a few minutes draining - don't dry with a tea towel or anything.

* It is important to remember that yeasts and bacteria are all around us, and on everything. Therefore, err on the side of caution and sterilise everything that is going to touch the wine you are making. There is nothing worse than a month old fermentation jar full of smelly vinegar...

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