New Bottle Sanitizing

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

vouxwines

Owner - VOUX Wines
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
17
Reaction score
6
Location
Temecula, CA
I purchased 70 new cases of bottles from morewinepro.com and because this is our first bottling I’m not sure if they should be sanitized before use. Again they are new, inside down in their cases on a wrapped pallet. I’m getting conflicting information from a local wine equipment supplier saying don’t bother, and a lot of published info on YouTube and online saying absolutely sanitize. Because of the 840 bottle count and the labor involved with sanitizing them I want to get this right. Would it be ok to hit them with StarSan or should I use Potassium Metabisulfite?
 

vouxwines

Owner - VOUX Wines
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
17
Reaction score
6
Location
Temecula, CA
Absolutely without question sanitize before filling with the sanitizer of your choice. Me personally I would also use a water jet spray to wash out any cardboard dust from the container it was shipped in.
Is there a particular machine you would use or could recommend? That was my inclination to do so but just wanted to confirm also since I’m dealing with such a large quantity how close to bottling do you usually sanitize and allowed to dry?
 

Rice_Guy

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
2,928
Reaction score
3,812
Location
Food Industry - - Retired
Expect different answers from different points of view, ,,, when I have pulled bottles from a pallet of new bottles I expected there might be dust inside the bottle therefore washing the bottle with tap water was worth while, the risk of something that actually needs to get washed out is in the range of one bottle per 10,000. ,,, I expected that the glass was new and heated over 1000F therefore it really wouldn’t matter if I sanitized or not.

home bottles get washed after emptying, and then sometimes sanitized before use. ,,,, “wine at 12% ABV is a preservative”

washing = shaking with a tasting cap on
 
Last edited:

vouxwines

Owner - VOUX Wines
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
17
Reaction score
6
Location
Temecula, CA
Keep in mind that commercial wineries pull bottles out of the case and plunk 'em on the bottling line.
I was thinking that if I do need to sanitize that’s an enormous bottle neck (no pun iintended) in the workflow…how do I time out sanitizing and drying 840 bottles just before filling. I’m going to need a massive dry rack/tree.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
6,026
Reaction score
15,237
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I was thinking that if I do need to sanitize that’s an enormous bottle neck (no pun iintended) in the workflow…how do I time out sanitizing and drying 840 bottles just before filling. I’m going to need a massive dry rack/tree.
The short answer is, "you're not". I bottle from 25 to 150 bottles at a time, and the sanitizing process for that many bottles is daunting.

The bottles don't need drying -- if you feel the need, put a splash of sanitizer in a bottle, pour it out, then let the bottle rest (Star San 1 minute, K-meta 10 minutes) before filling.

As a beginner, I had a bottling conversation with a winery owner, who had been in the business, both working for others and as his own winery owner, for over 20 years. He laughed at the process I went through with bottles-n-corks. I spent a lot of time in the NY Finger Lakes during that period and sounded out other winery owners, and they all agreed.

If you are buying new bottles, they are clean. Same with corks -- wineries cut the bag and pour into the hopper. They are clean and in a sealed bag. If anything, the hopper is the dirtiest part of the process.

As I get bottles, I soak the labels and ensure they are clean, inside and out. They dry on the tree and go into clean cases, mouth down. There is nothing in the bottle for anything to grow on, and being upside down and the mouth sealed against the case, there's no dust. At bottling time I visually inspect bottles and then line 'em up.
 

vouxwines

Owner - VOUX Wines
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
17
Reaction score
6
Location
Temecula, CA
The short answer is, "you're not". I bottle from 25 to 150 bottles at a time, and the sanitizing process for that many bottles is daunting.

The bottles don't need drying -- if you feel the need, put a splash of sanitizer in a bottle, pour it out, then let the bottle rest (Star San 1 minute, K-meta 10 minutes) before filling.

As a beginner, I had a bottling conversation with a winery owner, who had been in the business, both working for others and as his own winery owner, for over 20 years. He laughed at the process I went through with bottles-n-corks. I spent a lot of time in the NY Finger Lakes during that period and sounded out other winery owners, and they all agreed.

If you are buying new bottles, they are clean. Same with corks -- wineries cut the bag and pour into the hopper. They are clean and in a sealed bag. If anything, the hopper is the dirtiest part of the process.

As I get bottles, I soak the labels and ensure they are clean, inside and out. They dry on the tree and go into clean cases, mouth down. There is nothing in the bottle for anything to grow on, and being upside down and the mouth sealed against the case, there's no dust. At bottling time I visually inspect bottles and then line 'em up.
Thanks for the detailed response. Makes sense.. regarding your last paragraph, in the case of soaking the labels off you are dealing with used bottles correct? …so that’s a no brained to sanitize. But in the case of new bottles just skip it?
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
6,026
Reaction score
15,237
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
Thanks for the detailed response. Makes sense.. regarding your last paragraph, in the case of soaking the labels off you are dealing with used bottles correct? …so that’s a no brained to sanitize. But in the case of new bottles just skip it?
Yes -- I soak labels from both commercial wines and my wines, using Oxyclean and hot tap water. I have a drill-mounted bottle brush (has felt strap) that I use if there is I see anything during visual inspection. I rinse twice with hot tap water and dry on the tree before storing.

In decades of winemaking, I've purchased 14 cases of bottles, and did nothing to process them.
 

distancerunner

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Messages
254
Reaction score
309
Commercial bottling line:

I've seen clips of bottling lines that employ a blast of air into the bottle to blow out any potential dust before filling. I don't know how many wineries use this kind of tech. Or if it is something that only the larger firms can afford.

To the OP:

If you have a bottle tree and sanitizer, use Star San in the bowl, you will be amazed at how fast you can do this. A couple of weeks ago I manned that rig at a bottling party. There were two people filling with auto-siphons and two people corking. They couldn't keep up with me. Fifty cases of bottles, forty five minutes of sanitizing time, with another forty five minutes of down time waiting for them to pull enough bottles from the trees to make room for more.

I suggested they look into an All In One Wine Pump with the new filler head. Fills a bottle in fifteen seconds when it's set up and operated correctly. Three people operating at three stations can fill twenty cases per hour. Almost painless.
 

Raptor99

Fruit Wine Alchemist
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
547
Reaction score
832
Location
Oregon
Joined
Nov 24, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
8
I purchased 70 new cases of bottles from morewinepro.com and because this is our first bottling I’m not sure if they should be sanitized before use. Again they are new, inside down in their cases on a wrapped pallet. I’m getting conflicting information from a local wine equipment supplier saying don’t bother, and a lot of published info on YouTube and online saying absolutely sanitize. Because of the 840 bottle count and the labor involved with sanitizing them I want to get this right. Would it be ok to hit them with StarSan or should I use Potassium Metabisulfite?
I’ve never sanitized new bottles nor have I seen wineries in Napa or Sonoma sanitize new bottles. They’re put in the boxes upside down because they’re dumped into the bottling machine and ran through filled and corked( caped. Can you imagine sanitizing 65,000 bottles?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

TurkeyHollow

Turkey Hollow Winery
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
146
Reaction score
232
Location
North Smithfield, RI
I sanitize bottles with K-meta just before bottling. For me, it's time well invested when bottling only 30 or 60 bottles. After all, we sanitize everything else that comes in contact with the wine.
You never know the environmental conditions that pallet of cases (wrapped or not) has been through. Funky air leads to funky bottles leads to funky wine. Great if you like funky wine...
 

Rocky

Chronologically Gifted Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Messages
7,602
Reaction score
10,166
Location
Central Ohio
I was thinking that if I do need to sanitize that’s an enormous bottle neck (no pun intended) in the workflow…how do I time out sanitizing and drying 840 bottles just before filling. I’m going to need a massive dry rack/tree.
That is good news, because you don't have to worry about an "enormous bottle neck." It is the small bottle neck that causes problems. Things should just flow through large bottlenecks. 😉

(Sorry for that. Just being a smartass!)
 

wineview

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
797
Reaction score
405
I purchased 70 new cases of bottles from morewinepro.com and because this is our first bottling I’m not sure if they should be sanitized before use. Again they are new, inside down in their cases on a wrapped pallet. I’m getting conflicting information from a local wine equipment supplier saying don’t bother, and a lot of published info on YouTube and online saying absolutely sanitize. Because of the 840 bottle count and the labor involved with sanitizing them I want to get this right. Would it be ok to hit them with StarSan or should I use Potassium
 

Latest posts

Top