Hi BettyJ - They are new out of the packet, so I just hand wash them in flowing hot water, then boil in water for 20 minutes in a sausepan, then soak in a Na-met solution for 20 minutes, drip dry on Al-foil and there ready to go. I use same procedure to clean after use.
Occasionally a few marbles split in half while boiling, so there might be some glass chips in the bottom of the sausepan, but I just discard those.
Best to guesstimate the volume of marbles needed beforehand. If a lot are required, then roll at least two thirds of these into the demijohn 'before' racking wine in, since dropping them in through the neck can cause a little splashing (not much, but best to be avoided). If there is only a small amount of headspace to be made up then you might as well just hand feed these in after racking as they won't be falling from a great height and won't be too many.
Hi there Madriver, LOL - it seems I can never buy enough marbles to fill the head space.
The Strawberry and the Pineapple are almost 6 months now and quite clear, so will probably bottle those soon. I need a couple bottles soon to start a kiwi-fruit melomel or a mango wine. A few tartrate crystals (I think) in the bottom of the 2 pineapple demi's. I will do the sweetening in a couple weeks time then let sit for another month before bottling those 2 batches (probably bottle in mid-Sept). I'm dying to taste them, particularly the pineapple which was quite nice early on.
I think around 5-6 months the wines really improve noticeably. The Apricot at 5 and half months was really nice (compared to at 3 months).
They look tasty when you photograph them in the right light it seems! A flash in a dark basement seems to bring out the colour.