Our daughter Ellie is ten years old — and the perfect size to climb into a big tank to clean it out for harvest!
First we heat up the big stainless steel tank by hosing it down with hot water. Then Ellie climbs in with a mop and scrubs the sides a little with a detergent (it’s like a winery-grade Oxy-clean — don’t worry, safe for humans). When it’s disinfected and clean, we rinse everything again with hot water and it’s ready to receive wine.
When we’re winemaking we keep a big tub of hot detergent and a big tub of hot water on hand all day, so that it’s easy to wash, disinfect, and rinse everything that touches the wine. To clean our hoses and pump we hook them all together and then stick both ends of the hose in the tub of detergent. The pump gets turned on and we let it run for five minutes. The warm detergent circulates and hopefully dissolves any microbes that might have set up house inside the equipment. Then we rinse clean, fresh water through everything for a few minutes and it’s ready to go.
Cleanliness is divine. It’s a major part of winemaking and on harvest day we were grateful to have our daughter’s help. Adult joints and muscles stiff from hard work make crawling through a narrow man-door a greater chore with each passing year. When you are ten years old, it’s a game!