Sanitation

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I squirt mine with some K-Meta, maybe wait long enough after that, maybe don't. It's hard to say. I have a cellar rat (my wife) who insists on sanitation, even if I might forget to do some, sometimes, like take an airlock and bung off, set it on the counter, add something to the wine, better spray the sides and bottom of that bung, before you insert it, just in case.
 

wineview

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I squirt mine with some K-Meta, maybe wait long enough after that, maybe don't. It's hard to say. I have a cellar rat (my wife) who insists on sanitation, even if I might forget to do some, sometimes, like take an airlock and bung off, set it on the counter, add something to the wine, better spray the sides and bottom of that bung, before you insert it, just in case.
I have a small measuring cup that I give a spray then place the bung into it while working with an open carboy. I end up spraying the bung before I replace it as well.
 

Rice_Guy

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Meta is an irritant, star San is an irritant. I would avoid getting sanitizer it on my skin. @Ohio Bob has a good compromise.

Me personally, when I was a freshly graduated foods major I would have done similar. After a few “oh this is what a factory is like” I tend to say “wine is a multi layer preservative system” and I pick microbial fences like free SO2 and low pH to be concerned about. Think back to the good old days where tanks were wood or concrete and the labor shoveled solids into the grape press. The risk of food poisoning is extremely low! The potential risks are infections/ off flavors as Acetobacter or bret and air exposure.

Having had micro, I know the organisms will be found if we have a big enough sample. I relied on “fences” to keep them from reproducing/ spoiling a lot.
 
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I try to stay out of topics like this this because it always leads to debates. Sanitation shouldn't be taken lightly or totally disregarded. I have to agree with @Rice_Guy that, in other words, wine is somewhat forgiving. There are obvious considerations that must be taken to produce a flawed or fault free wine but excessive sanitation practices, although it doesn't hurt, are really not necessary.

Again I'm not saying sanitation should be ignored and excessive sanitation not be a consideration. If anyone has the opportunity to volunteer at a winery during production I would highly recommend it. You may cringe or never want to drink their wine again but it will give you a perspective of the limitations a large scale producer has with regard to sanitation practices.
 

bstnh1

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I'm kind of a nut when it comes to sanitation. Does anyone else out there sanitize your hands before squeezing out skin bags?
Yep, I spray K-meta on my hands quite often when working with the wine. I also don't set any sanitized equipment down on an unsanitized surface. As they say ..... an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 😁
 

Mike Parisi

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I use Star-San and dip my hands in it whenever I am doing anything with the wine that requires the lid off (fermentation bucket) or airlock off (carboy). I haven't noticed any hand/skin irritation.
 

VinesnBines

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I'm with Fred and RiceGuy. I take more pains with beer sanitation because of the lower alcohol level. I do sanitize tools and vessels but not to the point of washing myself with k-meta or Starsan. Bacteria are in the air and keeping the wine from air does the most good.
 
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If anyone has the opportunity to volunteer at a winery during production I would highly recommend it. You may cringe or never want to drink their wine again but it will give you a perspective of the limitations a large scale producer has with regard to sanitation practices.
This is food production in general. Consider that the US FDA allows a certain amount of insect parts per volume of peanut butter. Why? 'Cuz it can't be prevented, but can be limited.

Having grown up on a small dairy farm and having spent a fair amount of time in commercial wineries, I'm aware that home winemakers tend to be more zealous in sanitation than the professionals. Based upon my experiences, I'm in the camp with @Rice_Guy, Fred, and @VinesnBines.

Keep in mind that "sanitizing" is reducing microbial life to a level low enough to prevent it being a practical danger to the wine. This starts with washing -- I wash all equipment as soon as possible to eliminate residue. Depending on many factors (such as something sitting on a shelf for 6 months) I may wash or rinse it again before use, and hit everything with sanitizer. And I always wash hands before starting, and may do so in the middle if I deem it appropriate.

Note that I'm not telling anyone what to do -- if anyone's level of sanitation works for them, then I have no complaint (nor any right to criticize, which I'm not).
 

Jusatele

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I normally make 4 gallons f starsan in a bucket whenever I am messing with my wines. So I always have a bucketful to dip the hands in. seems that is a small cost compared to having a batch go bad. As my normal batch is 3 gallons it is not that big of a cost.
OK I do use some economizing habits, such as trying to work several batches at once and if I am only doing one batch I will cut the amount down. I start most of my wines mid summer through fall so having 3 or more to work at a time is easy.
 

JBP

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I wash my hands before starting any work and dip in Kmeta or Star San soln before squeezing skin bags (the original query). AND - I agree wholeheartedly with Fred, Rice_Guy and Winemaker81. Cleanliness and good, but not obsessive, sanitation. Having spent much of my professional life in the surgical suite and also being a strong conservationist, I can tell you there are downsides to the use of nitrile gloves (just waste and production resources) as well as a limited ability to truly sanitize hands. Years ago, we stopped using rough scrub brushes for surgical scrubs because the abrasions caused more areas for bacteria to hide (think those abrasive chemicals cause minor abrasions?). And the extent that a surgical scrub requires (including nails) helps to be realistic about just what we are or are not doing with our sanitation techniques for hands.

Thankfully, winemaking allows for a nice balance.
 

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