Wine making kits are the best way for you to get a head start in wine making. You won’t have to worry about missing any essentials when you’re in the middle of the process, as everything you need comes with the kit. The easiest part of the whole thing is the step by step manual that most kits come with. You basically get all the tools and equipment needed for a beginner to make a small batch of wine in the comfort of your own home.
A list of items typically include the following:
Plastic fermenter: Although it sounds technical, is nothing more than a six to eight gallon plastic bucket. If you’re a beginner at wine making, starter wine making kits are probably the best route for you.
Plastic carboy: Another equal-sized container as the fermenter used for secondary fermentation. The difference in the two is the carboy has a neck and can be plugged with a stopper. Basically, it looks like a large water jug used in a cold water dispenser.
Stopper: Used to seal and contain fermentation in the carboy.
Airlock: A secondary fermentation tool that allows CO2 to escape but doesn’t let air back in.
Hydrometer: Used to measure Brix, alcohol content and fermentation levels.
Siphon: When it comes time to bottle your product, you’ll want to be able to properly transfer the juice without transferring sediment and other floaties.
Tubing: Used for siphoning, mostly.
Bottle filler: This small device allows you to approximate the amount of wine going to each bottle.
Corker: Sometimes you just need a little help getting it in.
Sanitizer: Washy washy, you dirty thing you.
Do yourself a favor before you buy one of these kits and make sure you’re getting all the tools you need. Most home wine making kits come with these along with the correct cleaning tools but you don’t want to get caught in the middle of a process without the proper gear. As for the cleaning tools, you’ll need these to properly clean your equipment after each use to prevent bacterial buildup. All this consists of is various sized brushes and sanitizers.
The only thing your home wine making kit may not provide is the grape. But you can find these easily enough online. Try eWineOnline.com. Typically though, it’s easier to buy the juice and go from there. Shipping whole grapes is chancy and they are only available during the harvest season.
Here are a few kits you may be interested in: Wine Making Kits Amazon always makes things easier.
If you like to experiment you could always use different types of fruit and see what comes of it. Oh, you’ll also need plenty of wine bottles. Your best bet is to visit some local restaurants and see what they are throwing away. Wine bottles can be expensive unless you can find recycled wine bottles somewhere. The total cost of a wine making kit will run somewhere in the neighborhood of $150, give or take. This does not take into account bottle and wine grape costs. Done successfully though, you won’t really mind the expense.
Wine Making Equipment For The Advanced
If you get good enough and eventually want your production to go bigger, you may want to think about buying a crusher or a press. These run in the thousands of dollars so you know, make sure it’s what you really want before you take the plunge. One thing’s for certain, it will save you money in the long run, in a time saving sense. Doing it yourself is very time consuming and can get wasteful. But again, unless you are a serious hobbyist, I’d stick with your 8 gallon bucket home brew.
You might get lucky and find a cheap grape crusher if you do decide this is an investment you want to make. I’ve seen them for around $200 before. A crusher for this little a cost will only take care of so much wine, typically several crushings are involved. If you want to go with full winery-sized productions, you’re looking at something more along the lines of $1500. This is for an industrial-sized crusher.
Or you can go the wine press route. These are a fair bit cheaper than a crusher, running in the mid hundreds as opposed to thousands. Presses slowly press the juice from the grapes so that you get a cleaner, purer wine must, free of debris from stems and seeds. There are two kinds of presses I would consider: the bladder press and the ratchet press. With the ratchet press the juice runs down the slats of the barrel container as you tighten the ratchet. It will be a heavy flow at first until the main juice has naturally been pressed from the grapes but as it slows you just tighten the ratchet more and more until there is no more flow.
The bladder press uses a bladder that fills with water and puts pressure on the grapes until the juice is extracted. This way is a little easier than the ratchet press and wine makers tend to go this route over the other. Whatever wine making kits you choose, making your own wine is a rewarding experience.