How to make your terracotta jars last longer and keep them in perfect working order
The cleaning of wine jars is always a subject of interest. Here are some useful pieces of information on the maintenance of terracotta amphorae (opening photo by Okanagan Crush Pad, Summerland, BC). This information is also mentioned in the new Artenova Product Catalogue (photo of the relevant page below) explaining the materials and tools necessary for a thorough cleaning in order to confer the perfect maintenance of the amphora.
Below in detail the excerpt from the new Artenova Product Catalogue:
The wine jars by Artenova, handmade with the precious clay of Impruneta, if well preserved, are practically eternal. The most important factor to achieve this, is to pay particular attention to their cleaning. Here are some tips:
-As soon as they are emptied the jars should be washed immediately using a hot water pressure washer, taking extreme care to eliminate any stagnation of musts in the less visible parts.
-Wash again, this time by hand using a sponge, with water and 2% soda (200 g. soda per 10 L. of water)
-Again using a clean sponge, wash with water and citric acid in a 3% solution (300g. citric acid per 10 L. of water)
-Rinse thoroughly with the pressure washer
-Empty jars must be kept open (with their steel lids off)
Advice from the expert, Oenologist Francesco Bartoletti
Each internal coating has its own treatment
The method used for cleaning may differ according to the type of internal coating of the Jars. On this specific topic, we invite you to read the Artenova Newsletter which includes in-depth advice from Artenova’s technical consultant, Oenologist Francesco Bartoletti. Click here to read the Newsletter. Regarding jars without inner lining, for example, Bartoletti specifies that regular cleaning with a high pressure washer with hot water 60-80°C or steam provides excellent sanitisation. On the other hand, strong alkaline or acid reaction products are absolutely not recommended for cleaning jars without inner coating because they could corrode the untreated terracotta or be absorbed by it.
Attention must be also given to the outside of the Jars. If well preserved, the life of a jar is unlimited
If properly cleaned and stored, a terracotta jar can be used for an unspecified number of years without losing its characteristics. As with all porous materials, it is very important to keep the outer surface clean just as much as the inside because encrustations, mould or dust can reduce the passage of oxygen, important for allowing the wine to “breathe”. The terracotta jar is a container of practically unlimited duration. If well preserved, even its wine-oxygenating properties will remain efficient over the course of time.