Experienced vintners will often stress the importance of sanitizing equipment and work areas for wine production in making their wines and vintages. There is so much that the new vintner might be concerned about whether they have done a good enough job before starting their winemaking process. One must keep in mind that sterilization is not a necessary requirement, that is where every micro-organism is killed and nothing can live on the surfaces of our equipment and work areas.
Indeed, sterilization is impossible under normal circumstances and definitely undesirable when producing wine. Sanitization on the other hand is the process of making our equipment unfavorable to bacteria growth. Bacteria, as a rule, can be very harmful. The acid bacteria of the damaging kind will turn wine into vinegar, and that’s what we as wine growers don’t want.
In essence there are numerous kinds of products available to winemakers for sanitation purposes, one really needs to just keep things very simple and use only one product for sanitation. In doing so, becoming distracted about what products that are being used or use one when you really actually meant to use another can be tricky. Potassium metabisulfite is used to stabilize and protect wines as an additive. It can also be used to make a sanitizing solution with water. It works, so why purchase other ingredients to do exactly what potassium metabisulfite accomplishes.
To make things easy and fast for home winemaking, one must make up a complete solution in a one gallon jug that has a tight fitting top lid. The accepted ratio is 3 tablespoons of potassium metabisulfite to one gallon of water. You can usually make the solution somewhat stronger. If you use five tablespoons, this will do, because the solution gradually can lose some of it’s strength over time, especially when stored above 65 degrees.
One can also use a small spray bottle that you can fill with the solution of water and potassium metabisulfite. For sanitizing the surfaces of airlocks, bungs and the plastic spoons, you can simply spray those surfaces with the solution using the spray bottle. Rinse with water, and you are done. The spray bottle is also helpful in sanitizing work areas such as counter tops and work areas. Using these three tips will help you sanitize your equipment and work area fast and efficiently, moreso than if you didn’t have them.