I wanted to take a moment to chat with you all about water in home winemaking. What I mean is basically what kind of water is best to use in home winemaking. The instructions on some of the wine kits that I have been using have said that if you’re using tap water to draw it off the day before you actually want to use it, to give the chlorine a chance to “burn off”. However, other instructions I’ve used have not said anything like that at all.
It made me wonder: is my tap water OK for winemaking?
I actually had been delaying the start of my most recent batch of wine because I had kept forgetting to draw off some tap water the night before. One day, however, I found a short article that said if you can drink the water from your tap and you don’t notice any chlorine or other off-flavors or aromas, it’s probably just fine to use for home winemaking.
If you get your water from your city or municipality, they most likely treat the water with chlorine to get rid of bacteria that might be present. This same chlorine, however, is bad news bears for your wine if it’s at levels high enough to smell it in the water, so if you can smell chlorine, you probably want to go elsewhere for your water or boil it, draw it off the day before, or treat it with activated charcoal.
If you get your water from a well, there could be all sorts of bacteria or other harmful things in there since it has not been treated like city water has. It’s probably a good idea in general for you to have your water tested anyway, so now might be a good time to do that if you haven’t done so already. Once you know what’s in your water, you can go ahead and start determining how to treat it.
Distilled water is often not recommended for winemaking, as the distillation process basically removes everything from the water, including minerals that yeasts like to use as nutrition.
Spring water is usually the best way to go, in place of tap water as it’s typically very clean and has enough trace minerals to keep the yeasts happy. You can find spring water bottled in grocery stores. In general, any bottled water you find at the grocery store for drinking will be just fine to use, as long as it’s not distilled.
For me this time around, I decided to play my cards a little bit a use the water from my tap for making my next batch of wine. My husband and I drink it on a regular basis and I do not smell any chlorine or anything else in the water. Now that I think about it, I did make at least one batch early on with tap water not drawn off the night before, and the wine turned out just fine. We’ll see if I made the right decision this time.
My name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.