The Wine Making Equipment You Need to Make Impressive Wine
Just like a carpenter needs tools to get the job done, the home winemaker needs wine making equipment (your tools) to produce top-notch wines; tools to ferment, age, and ultimately bottle your homemade wine.
The right equipment will simply your life and greatly improve your wine making experience.
I define wine making equipment as the items that you will need and can use over and over again. If cared for properly, your equipment can last for many years.
Wine making supplies, on the other hand, are "consumable" type items that you will have to replace each time you run out (corks, cleaning supplies, etc)
It can feel like a daunting task to figure out everything you need, and on first glance home wine making can seem like quite an expensive hobby!
At the end of this discussion, you will know everything you need to know about the wine making equipment you need, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to find it very affordable. In many cases, less the $100.00 USD will have your home winery up and running!
Your Wine Making Equipment Shopping List
- Primary Fermenter - A plastic bucket with a lid. Make sure it's food grade plastic. Anything less than food grade can leave unhealthy and less then tasty residue behind. You can find fermenters in a variety of sizes, but I like to have 1 and 6 gallon fermenters on hand.
- Carboy - A glass or food grade plastic bottle shaped vessel. Carboys are used primarily for secondary fermentation and aging. Just like the fermenter, they come in a variety of sizes. It's a good idea to match your primary fermenter and carboy sizes. Doing so will make racking your wine a whole lot easier. Learn more.
- Airlocks - A valve that seals the carboy at the neck. The airlock keeps oxygen and bad stuff (things that can spoil your wine) from entering, and at the same time allows gases from fermentation to escape. The airlock must be half-filled with water or sulfite solution, and attached to the carboy whenever there is wine in it.
- Drilled Stopper - This is a stopper (usually rubber) that fits into the neck of the carboy. It's drilled in order to allow the airlock to be inserted and let the oxygen and gasses pass from carboy to airlock.
- Siphon Hose - Tubing that is used to siphon juice or wine from one receptacle to another. Siphon tubing comes in a variety of lengths and diameters based on your needs.
- Racking Cane - The cane or rod (as it's sometimes referred to) attaches to the siphon hose and is inserted into the receptacle that the juice or wine is currently in. The cane then can be used to "prime the pump" and start the siphoning of liquid into the next receptacle.
- Spoon or Paddle - When you stir your juice, you will need a spoon! Food grade plastic is again required! You are going to have plenty of reasons to stir your wine, make sure you have a sturdy spoon.
- Bottle Filler - Just as the name implies, a bottle filler is a tool used to fill your wine bottles with your new wine.
- Corker - After the bottles are filled, it's time to put a cork in it! A corker will allow you to do this with relative ease.
- Hydrometer and Test Jar - A tool that looks a bit like a thermometer. It is used to test the specific gravity, or BRIX, during the fermentation process. Since your wine will often be in a Carboy, it's easiest to test the specific gravity by pouring a bit of your wine in a test jar, and then floating the hydrometer in it.
Additional Items to Make Your Life Easier
The following wine making equipment is not required in your wine making endeavor, but they certainly can make your job a bit easier:
- Auto-Siphon - Acts just like the siphon rod mentioned above, except for the fact that this tool provides the suction to start the siphon. I personally prefer the auto-siphon over the siphon rod. Ease of use and low cost make this almost a no-brainer.
- Wine Thief- A plastic tube shaped tool that you can dip into your carboy and steal a bit of wine. It can be used to fill your test jar for a hydrometer reading, or simply just to sneak a taste of your progressing wine. Learn more.
- Measuring Cup - All sorts of mixing needs will come up while making wine. A good measuring cup is all you need. If you look in your cupboard, you probably already have a 2 cup measuring cup.
- Carboy Handle - A handle that slides over the neck of your carboy and aids in the lifting and moving of it. Trust me, a 6 gallon (23 litre) glass carboy filled with juice can be quite heavy and a bit awkward to move about.
"Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along." George Herbert
Getting started simply takes getting your hands on the basic required wine making equipment.
As you grow your wine making operation, you can purchase additional equipment that will make your life easier, and allow you to make more wine at once.