Before you reuse those old wine bottles for your homemade wine they need to be cleaned and sterilized. The two processes are not one and the same, and each step is necessary to ensure harmful bacteria are not introduced into your winemaking process. Avoid spoiled wine and possibly harmful germs by properly cleaning and sanitizing your wine bottles first.
Things You'll Need
Bottle brush or stainless steel cleaning balls
Sulfur bottle cleaner
Clean your bottles. Soak your used wine bottles in a bottle cleaning solution for one hour.
Remove debris. Use a bottle brush or stainless steel cleaning balls to loosen any solid debris from the bottles.
Rinse the bottles thoroughly. Remove all traces of debris and cleaning solution from the inside of your wine bottles with hot water.
Sanitize your wine bottles. Place the wine bottles on a sulfur pump and squirt the sulfur mixture into the bottle. The sulfur and gases will linger in the wine bottle and completely sanitize the inside of the glass.
Let the wine bottles drain. Place the sanitized wine bottles onto a bottle tree and let the sanitizing solution drain out. The bottles will also dry during this process.
Fill wine bottles immediately after sanitizing.
Sanitize your wine bottles immediately before filling to avoid reintroducing bacteria before the wine is poured into the bottles. Cork immediately afterward as well.
Use a cleaning solution specifically intended to clean wine bottles. Regular soaps and detergents can contain chlorine and phosphates, which may interfere with the winemaking process.