|The Five Most Common Wine Making Mistakes:
How to Avoid Them
by: RJ Spganols
1. Using the Wrong Equipment
When you start making your wine, don't just grab anything you see
around the house—like your Grandma's pickle crock, peanut butter pails,
garbage cans, or wooden spoons. These can't be sanitized easily and
might taint your wine.
Proper winemaking equipment is made of food-grade plastic and is
designed to give you the best results possible. Life's a lot easier
when you've got the right gear. (Kind of like mountain climbing—what if
you forgot the rope that holds you to the side of the mountain?) Your
retailer can help you find the equipment you need.
2. Dirty Equipment
Cleaning means removing visible residue. It's really important. It's
kind of like washing your dishes—you aren't likely to make dinner with
dirty pots and pans. Use an unscented detergent on your equipment and
rinse well. Your retailer can suggest something appropriate. Once
everything is clean, you can move onto sanitation...
3. Poor Sanitation
Sanitizing means treating equipment with a substance that will reduce
or remove bacteria. There are several sanitizers you can use, including
metabisulphite solution and Iodophor. They all work a little
differently. Ask your winemaking shop for advice when choosing a
sanitizer. Or you can call us and we'll recommend something that suits
Clean and sanitize everything that touches your wine—fermenters,
carboys, hoses, thermometers, spoons. You get the picture. It's easy
and worth it: ninety percent of winemaking failures can be traced to
poor cleaning or faulty sanitation.
4. Ignoring or Changing the Instructions
Follow each manufacturer's instructions carefully. Wine kit
manufacturers usually have plenty of experience making wine, and their
instructions should be clear and easy to follow. These people find the
best procedures for getting the best possible results from the
ingredients in the kit.
5. Using the Wrong Water
Many people think they need to be concerned about the water they use in
winemaking. In reality, this is one of those 'problems' that is not a