Pasteurization is the process of heating a substance, usually a liquid, to a temperature high enough to kill any microscopic organisms contained in it. The process was developed by Louis Pasteur and was originally used for wine, although it is now more commonly used for dairy products. Pasteurizing homemade wine stops the fermentation process and prevents the wine form turning sour. The process of pasteurizing homemade wine is simple and uses basic kitchen utensils.
Check the thermostat on your hot water heater and turn it to at least 165 degrees F.
Turn on the hot water in a sink or tub faucet and allow it to run for ten seconds. Place a stopper in the drain and fill the sink or tub with enough hot water to cover the number of bottles that you are pasteurizing. Place a thermometer inside the water so that you can monitor the temperature.
Place the wine bottles into the water in a single layer. Space the bottles out as much as possible. If you are pasteurizing more than five bottles, divide them into multiple batches and pasteurize them in separate processes.
Allow the bottles to sit in the sink for approximately one hour. Check the thermometer every 10 to 15 minutes to make sure the water temperature stays between 150 and 160 degrees F. If the water temperature cools, add more hot water to raise the temperature.
Remove the bottles from the hot water and dry them with a towel.
Place the bottles into a refrigerator or wine cooler immediately and allow them to chill.
After pasteurization, store the wine bottles on their sides in a wine rack.