Cleaning and sanitising are two delicate phases of the maintenance of terracotta jars which those who have chosen to make and refine wine in amphorae, have to contend with regularly. Since these phases have different characteristics depending on the type lining used on the inside wall of the jars, we asked for advice on the subject from the technical consultant of Artenova (Impruneta, Tuscany), oenologist Francesco Bartoletti.
The jars of wine are often left unaltered “al Naturale” but when the jars are lined we refer to the type of lining used on the inner wall in contact with the wine. Bartoletti distinguishes between jars without inner lining; jars lined with beeswax; jars lined with epoxy resin.
Francesco Bartoletti technical consultant of Artenova
Jars without lining “al Naturale”
Jars with no lining inside are best cleaned with a pressure washer using hot water to sanitize and dissolve any tartrates accumulated inside the jar. Using temperatures of 60-80° C or steam permits excellent cleaning which includes the removal of microbiological contaminants, with particular reference to Brettanomyces. The use of ozone and UV rays also guarantee optimal microbiological hygiene. Acidic or alkaline products are absolutely not recommended for the cleaning of jars without lining as they cause corrosion and can be absorbed by the jar and re-transmitted to the wine.
Jars lined with beeswax
The same as above applies with the exclusion of the use of steam and hot water as temperatures above 40° C will damage the wax coating. Alkaline products can be used to eliminate tartrates with a concentration of caustic soda not higher than 3%, followed by rinsing with acidified water at 2-3% so as to remove any residual soda. The coating of beeswax requires interventions of maintenance and replacement of the wax layer over time.
Jars lined with epoxy resin
Regular treatment with acidic cleaning chemicals