Creating the best environment for making wine.
Your winemaking set up is a very important part of crafting you own wine. Make sure you follow the tips below to make sure your space is not negatively impacting your winemaking process.
Maintaining a clean and sanitary working environment is extremely important to the success of your winemaking process. Spoilage micro-organisms (yeasts & bacteria) are ubiquitous waiting for the “right” conditions to strike and once an area is infected it is difficult to clean up.
- Avoid puddles and clean up spills immediately (water and especially juice / wine); these can become a breeding ground for spoilage micro-organisms.
- Develop a strict cleaning & sanitizing regimen, and get into the habit of always cleaning & sanitizing equipment before and after use.
- Avoid areas with odours (e.g. oil, gas, mildew) which could otherwise affect wine quality.
- Ensure that the outside of all winemaking equipment is thoroughly sanitized, not only the inside of equipment.
- Install hand sanitizing stations in washrooms and winemaking area.
Maintain an adequate temperature and monitor with a good quality thermometer.
- 20°–25°C (68°–77°F) is the ideal ambient temperature for the must (juice) and ideal temperature for fermenting wine.
- This aspect of the winemaking environment is often overlooked and is the number one contributor to stuck and sluggish fermentations
- Avoid temperature spikes and fluctuations from HVAC units and sun, esp. in the fall & spring when furnace is not cycling as often.
- Regulate water temperature to reconstitute concentrate.
- Don’t stress the yeast with high or low temperatures; you may end up with a stuck fermentation that could prove difficult to restart and could result in a flawed wine.
- Alcoholic fermentation produces an appreciable amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas.
- CO2 is heavier than air and therefore it does not displace easily.
- CO2 is colourless however it can be detected on the nose in the form of a sharp tingling sensation similar to “smelling salts” or strong vinegar.
- Ensure good ventilation to the outdoors during fermentation.
- CO2 is a deadly asphyxiant in concentrations >10%.
- CO2 has proved fatal in both the commercial and craft winemaking industry.
- Install a CO2 detector!