What Do You Need?
Our grandparents were resourceful and could make wine with simple tools and bare minimum of ingredients. It’s still possible, but let’s make it easier by using equipment designed for wine making. Here's a list of today's basics:
This would be a bucket of some kind. Food grade is suggested as you don’t want any off-flavours tainting your wine. You will need to cover it somehow. If you are using a lid, and it’s air tight, you will need to drill a hole and add an airlock. Cheesecloth or even a tea towel will work too. At the shop, we sometimes use plastic wrap secured by a loop of elastic. Just remember to pop a little pin hole in the top or the plastic will pop off with the gases made during fermentation.
Most wines need to be stirred during the first few days. A long handled stainless steel or plastic spoon is best. Wooden spoons are not recommended. They can harbour bacteria.
It is a glass tool that measures the sugars in your wine. Very important for knowing if your wine is fermenting properly. Here's a LINK to how to read your hydrometer.
Not really necessary, but very handy when making fruit wines with lots of seeds or mush.
Racking Cane, Hose and Clip
This makes siphoning your wine much easier. It allows the sediment to be undisturbed and you will need it again when bottling.
Carboy (see photo)
This is where your wine will spend most of its time. Plastic is light and easy to move. If you are not aging long term in the carboy, plastic is sufficient. If your wine will be sitting for 6+ months in the carboy, choose glass. There’s many different sizes available. Sometimes having 2 carboys per batch is quite nice, especially when you need to transfer one batch to another carboy to remove sediment and improve clarity.
Bung (My kids find this word funny!)
A rubber stopper used to seal the airlock into the opening of your carboy.
This is a very important piece of equipment! When filled properly, it will protect your wine from nasties like bugs and oxidation. Check it often, almost daily. The airlock fits into the bung on the top of the carboy.
You might get lucky in finding some of this equipment from friends or family that have made wine in the past. Check Facebook for people selling their equipment. Although it might seem like a huge investment, sometimes buying an equipment kit pays off. New buckets, carboys and spoons are not scratched up and have places where bacteria can hide to cause problems in the future.
Next Post: Ingredients needed to start a country fruit wine
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