Cleaning and Handling Grapes for Winemaking: What Are the Best Practices?

Preparing the grapes in the right manner for winemaking will improve the quality of the outcome of your efforts. Whether you have a vineyard or are purchasing your grapes from one, you first need to ensure that they are at the ideal ripeness for use in wine. Next, you should clean and handle them properly prior to crushing them. We are here to explain the best practices for both these necessities in the following facts.

Inspect the Grapes and Remove Any Visible Debris

Thoroughly examine your grapes and remove any that are undesirable. Also, remove any leaves or debris that the crusher cannot do for you. The stems are fine left since part of crushing is the destemming of the grapes.

Wash Grapes in a Safe, Effective Solution

While there is disagreement among winemakers about washing grapes to prepare them for winemaking, we prefer to clean ours to ensure that they are free of pollen, residue from air pollution and other elements that can contaminate your wine batch. We use a citric acid solution to cleanse the grapes since it is totally natural and will not harm the grapes. After they have soaked a bit in this solution in baskets, we spread them on a conveyor and spray them again with a mixture of citric acid and water. Then, we rinse them with clear water.

Allow Grapes to Dry Some Before Crushing

You need to let the grapes dry completely before you place them in the crusher. This step is to ensure that unwanted moisture does not negatively affect the rest of the winemaking process. It is this excess moisture that causes some not to wash their grapes at all, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Clean grapes ensure that your wine does not contain unpleasant or even unhealthy substances that may affect the fermentation of it.

Process the Grapes Into Must and Begin the Rest of the Winemaking Process

Now that you have washed the grapes and allowed them to dry, you can place them in your crushing equipment and proceed with your winemaking. Remember to monitor the entire process correctly, including the amount of yeast that is present for fermentation. With all the chemical reactions going on in the wine, anything can go wrong quickly without proper monitoring.

For further information about the cleaning and handling of grapes for winemaking, consult with Grapeworks Consumables. Since we carry a wide assortment of winemaking supplies and equipment, we stay up on the latest methods for producing the highest-quality wines.