The chaotic nature of harvest is a difficult time for many processors to remember key processing techniques that ultimately lead to differences in wine quality. In my previous job, I noticed that many producers felt nonchalant about good cleaning and sanitation techniques, especially with regards to the crusher/destemmer and press. This blog post will take a look at these pieces of equipment and why proper cleaning is an essential component of wine quality production.
Cleaning and Sanitation Concepts
Since the alcohol content in most wine virtually eliminates the risk of foodborne pathogens, most of our cleaning and sanitation techniques are developed as a way to enhance quality as opposed to improving safety of the food product. The FDA Current Good Manufacturing Practices regulations defines “sanitation” in the following way:
Sanitize – “to adequately treat food-contact surfaces by a process that is effective in destroying vegetative cells of microorganisms of public health significance, and in substantially reducing the numbers of other undesirable microorganisms, but without adversely affecting the product or its safety for the consumer.”
While this definition may seem complex, the differences between cleaning and sanitizing, as well as sterilization, are well defined and summarized by Fugelsang and Edwards (2007):
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