Keep it clean (and sanitary) people! For the best winemaking experience, you've got to make sure your equipment is in tip-top shape and impeccably clean. Without proper cleaning and sanitation, you are just asking for run-ins with bacteria, molds, wild yeast and other undesirable elements that can destroy an entire batch of wine. Most winemaking failures are a result of improper cleaning and/or sanitation.
• It's important to remember that cleaning and sanitation are different. Cleaning removes deposits (i.e. dirt, sediment) from your equipment, but sanitizing treats your equipment chemically to remove or prevent growth of the things we can't see (i.e. bacteria, undesirable yeasts) that can spoil your wine. Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it's not there! Although it might seem tedious, you must properly clean and sanitize EVERYTHING that comes in contact with your wine during the winemaking process including (but not limited to) the thermometer, carboy, siphon hose, bung, airlock and even your hands. This is the best way to ensure you will be able to enjoy your delicious end product. See "How do I clean my equipment?" for details.
• You can use a range of cleansers available at your local winemaking supply store or online. Potassium metabisulphite is recommended as a sanitizer and is easy and economical to make - how's that for a win-win? Click here for instructions on how to make your own sulphite solution for sanitizing.
Dissolve 50 grams (3 tablespoons) of metabisulphite powder in 4 litres (approximately one gallon) of cool water. Submerge or spray all pieces of equipment with solution. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and drop dry. You can store leftover sulphite solution for two months in a tightly sealed container.
You must properly clean and sanitize EVERYTHING that comes in contact with your wine during the winemaking process (equipment, and even hands) using the following two-step process:
• Clean: Use a winemaking specific cleanser (available at winemaking supply stores) following the instructions. After cleaning, make sure everything is rinsed carefully.
• Sanitize: Immerse or spray each item with metabisulphite solution (click here for instructions on how to make your own). Make sure all equipment has been rinsed thoroughly after sanitizing.
Yes, double the wine double the fun! There are a few things to keep in mind if you double a batch:
• The primary fermenter must be large enough to comfortably accommodate the full contents of both juice bladders (allowing room for foaming during primary fermentation) plus any required water and grape skins (if included).
• The carboy must be large enough to allow all of the wine to be racked into it. Make sure to add all of the additives included in both kits (yeasts, clearing agents, f-packs, oak, etc.) at the appropriate times, following instructions.
• It’s recommended to make a double batch of the same style of wine, as combining styles can be tricky and negatively affect the success of the kits.