One of the most Important steps in winemaking is sanitizing and sterilization. Failing to do these steps properly or eliminating them can ruin your results. Every piece of equipment that comes in contact with the concentrate or finished wine must go through these processes. It should be done just prior to every step.

Sanitize, with pink chlorinated solution (VWP) to clean. Remember not all dirt is visible, so even equipment that appears clean must be sanitized. Rinse thoroughly with hot water.

Sterilizing, is to kill bacteria on clean equipment. This should be done with a solution of metabisulphite and then rinsed.

Note: Plastic equipment such as primary fermenters, plastic carboys and spoons should be be discarded and replaced as they get old. If the inside of the pail is scratched or if the plastic is badly discoloured, it may be time to change it. When these types of symptoms appear, cleaning or sterilizing are usually not enough.

If you store your carboys corked with a little sulphite solution in them, they'll be ready next time you need them. Just swirl to coat the inside, rinse and you're ready to go.

Clean and sterilize the lid of your primary first, then you can place it upside down on a clean surface and put your smaller items on it (floating thermometer, stirring spoon, hydrometer, etc) on it until ready to use.

Filter machines should be cleaned and sterilized before use and between each batch to be filtered as any yeast cells which would attach to the plates will transfer to the next batch.

Clean your glass carboys with warm water and Chlori-Clean. Do not use hot water, this can cause the carboy to BREAK.

When you are sterilizing, get a trigger spray bottle and fill it with your stock solution of sulphite. When it is time to sanitize, you can easily spray the inside and outside of fermenter, racking tubes, siphon hose, spoons, etc. Varying the spray to liberally coat large surfaces or directing a straight stream down your racking tube. If you have a one litre spray bottle, you can mix your sulphite solution directly in the sprayer, using two level teaspoons of sulphite to one litre of water.

In beer production nothing is more important than sanitation. Commercial breweries and wineries put a lot of their resources and time into it. Furthermore, poor sanitation causes the majority of home brewing problems. Be liberal with your sanitizing solution, when in doubt, scrub it, soak it and sanitize it.
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