I’m making your Blueberry wine and my question is this. Can I add boiling water to the winemaking ingredients or should I wait for the water to cool first? Thank you
Name: Bill D.
The only winemaking ingredients I can think of that should ever touch boiling or hot water are: botanicals and sugar.
- Botanicals: Whenever making wines from herb, flowers, roots, it is normal to blanch them with boiling water. This creates kind of a tea of sorts before going on to the process of actually making the wine.
- Sugar: When adding sugar to a wine must, it is very helpful to pre-dissolve the sugar in hot water, first. By doing this you can be sure the sugar is dissolved. This also makes it much easier to mix the sugar evenly throughout the must.
In both of these instances it is critical that the mix be allowed to cool down to 80°F. or less before continuing on with adding other winemaking ingredients.
Here are how some common wine ingredients affected by hot or boiling water:
- Wine Yeast: Some of the yeast cells will start to die at about 90°F. A lot of the yeast cells will die at around 120°F.
- Yeast Nutrient: also known as diammonium phosphate. Depending on the pH of the wine, when heated up to around 150°F or higher, the yeast nutrient will begin to partially decompose into ammonia.
- Pectic Enzyme: starting at about 125°F will start to denature, which simply means become permanently inactive or ineffective.
- Wine Tannin: is unable to dissolve and saturate into the wine must at wamer temperatures. Instead, it will drop out as a sediment.
- Sulfites: this includes winemaking ingredients such as: Campden tablets, sodium metabisulfite and potassium metabisulfite. Liquids that are heated are not able to hold sulfites for any length of time. This means if you added a sulfite while the liquid was hot, you will need to add it again after the liquid as cooled.
- Fruit Acids: this includes acid blend, citric acid, tartaric acid and malic acid. These are the only common wine making ingredients that are not affected by hot or boiling water.
As an additional note, if you are blanching your blueberries with boiling water, I would not recommend this. This will tend to separate the tannins and color out of the fruit. This is not something you want to happen at this stage. The best way to treat the fruit is to lightly crush them or chop them. Once you have all the wine making ingredients mixed together, treat the entire wine must with one of the sulfites mentioned earlier.
Bill, you can find more information about the basic winemaking process on our website. This may help you out, as well.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.