Using Pasteurized Juice For Making Wine

Pasturized JuiceI have decided to get in to the mysterious world of wine making. I have gotten my hands on carboys, yeast, corks, airlocks, etc. My only problem is that I can’t find any preservative free, unpasteurized apple juice, or any juice, to use in my first batch. Is using pasteurized juice for making wine OK? I’ve been told that the pasteurization process takes away from the final flavor. How much of an impact does it actually make? Thanks for the help!

Name: Steve G.
State: North Carolina
Hello Steve,

I’m glad you’ve decided to make some wine. Using a pasteurized juice for making your wine, is a pretty good place to start for a beginning winemaker. The process is fairly straightforward and representative of the winemaking process in general.

You are correct in your assumption that you need to read the label and see what’s in the juice before actually buying it and using it to make wine. You need to look for preservatives that could sabotage your fermentation.

For example, you want to make sure that the juice does not have sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate. These specific preservatives will interfere with wine yeast ability to multiply and start a fermentation. However, things like potassium metabisulfite or ascorbic acid are just fine and will not give you any troubles whatsoever.

Buy FermenterAbout the pasteurization, it is perfectly fine to make wine from a juice that has been pasteurized. It does not effect the flavor in any way and is a good thing for the juice to go through. While this process does have a big fancy name — named after Prof. Louis Pasteur, the creator of process —  it is really a very innocent and simple process. Pasteurization is simply performing a flash heating and cooling of the juice.

These days, the juice is heated and cooled so fast that it does not even have a chance to oxidize the juice. But it is being heated long and hot enough to kill any microbes that would have eventually caused the juice to spoil. This process has no chemistry to it and is nothing more than what I have described. So as far as affecting flavor, it does not.

The bottom line is that using pasteurized juice for making wine is perfectly fine. What you want to be on the look-out for is things like sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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.

16 thoughts on “Using Pasteurized Juice For Making Wine

  1. I love your questions and answers…I have made wine and these articles are very informative. Thank You!!

  2. I had a question about the above article… IF one uses “pasteurized juice”, do they need to add the campden a day before pitching the yeast, or is it “good to go”, right from the bottle, and then pitch your yeast? Gary

    • Gary, when using pasteurized juice you do not need to add campden tablets prior to adding the yeast.

  3. I make a really good hard cider from apple juice from my local grocery store, walmart also carries the plain apple juice with no additives. Use a good quality wine yeast and follow the standard procedures for any wine making and you will be surprised at how well it turns out. I normally add two full cups of granulated white sugar per gallon of juice.

  4. Is there a distinction between pasteurized and flash pasteurized juice? we can get some juice that is flash pasteurized, but we’re not sure if campden are or are not needed.

  5. can you please, in youre opinion what is the best apple juice to make great apple wine?

  6. how can i make a wine of a pasteurized juice that includes sodium benzoate and apple flavor?

    • Unfortunately, you can’t. The sodium benzoate completely bonds to the juice and cannot be removed by any practical means. Sorry for the bad news.

  7. Can you use freshly juiced apple juice juices in my juicer or should the juice be heated up (pasteurized), and if so, how hot and for how long should it be heated?

    • You can use fresh-pressed juice at home. You can heat pasteurize the juice, or ass a bit of Potassium Metabisulfite to the must 24 hours before pitching your yeast, which will work to sterilize the juice from any outside contaminants before beginning fermentation.

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