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What Kind Of Water To Use In My Wine Kit

TroubleShooting

Kris Bradley — New Albany, Indiana asks,
Q

I make wine using kits. I won’t use tap water. But at my grocery store I can buy distilled, spring, and drinking water. Which is best for my use? A second question; when using synthetic corks, does the rule still apply to let the bottles stay upright for a few days or can I drop the bottles horizontally right after corking?

A
To address your first question: A chemistry teacher in high school once mentioned that since distilled water was free of minerals and many dissolved gasses, it behaved differently in osmotic equilibrium situations than regular ol’ tap water. That is why we always rinsed off our lab glassware with distilled water. Its very lack of dissolved material makes it a great solvent for getting the last remaining “stuff” off of lab ware; because it doesn’t have anything dissolved in solution, it’s like a dry sponge for minerals and solutes. Because of that, and because it’s expensive, I’ve never used distilled water in winemaking but reserve it for lab uses only. Even though largely anecdotal, I know that yeast cells are very vulnerable when they are being rehydrated, and I would want to have the osmotic pressure not be a challenge for them during this time. My fear would be that the distilled water would “suck out” of their delicate membranes necessary minerals like potassium and possibly disrupt the hydration process. As for spring vs. drinking water; that’s a tougher question to
Response by Alison Crowe.