Do you need to wash the grapes before fermentation?

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If we buy table grapes to eat, we most certainly rinse the bunch under running water before we eat the grapes. But have you ever seen a winemaker rinse his grapes with water after harvest? No, neither have we. But maybe that’s about to change.

Some French oenologists believe this is the future, according to La Vigne. You can connect a machine to a vibrating sorting table that washes the hand-harvested grape clusters with low pressure water and dries them with hot air at the end of the table.

Treatment spray residues and dust are washed away, it is claimed. There is no risk of dilution according to the inventors. Whether the wild yeast flora also disappears is unclear at present. (But honestly, we don’t see this as catching on very much. The need to do it is not evident.) (And also, I would think that table grapes are more heavily sprayed, considering how they are handled.)

Cleaning the wine cellar and steel tanks with water
Cleaning the wine cellar and steel tanks with water, copyright BKWine Photography

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