What do you really need to start making wine?

by | Winemaking




Equipment for making wine from a wine kit

Making wine from a wine kit is very easy.

making-wine-kit

Making wine from a wine kit is as easy as mixing Kool-Aid, but you get a MUCH better beverage!

Just like making beer, the no-rinse sanitizer is required.  A no-rinse sanitizer makes sanitizing your equipment very easy.  Simply mix water with a measured amount of sanitizer according to the directions.  Then sanitize everything which will have contact with the must (the grape juice).

The must in the wine kit is already chemically adjusted for pH and sugars.  Your only steps are to rehydrate (add water) and inoculate (toss yeast in) the must.  The large spoon is for mixing the must when you rehydrate it.  You’ll need a secondary fermenter when you rack the wine during the racking and clarification step.

You will also need a sanitized spoon later after the fermentation to “degass” your wine.  This is a fancy term which means “stir the heck out of it until there is no more CO2/bubbles in the wine”.  You might want to invest in a Fermtech Whip Degasser, Winexpert Wine Wand, or some mixer which you can attach to a electric drill.  This will make your degassing much easier.  It’s not listed because you can use a large spoon and lots of stirring.

Again like beer, I suggest getting a bottling bucket when you bottle.  You can siphon directly into your bottles, but a bottling bucket makes life easier.

Here’s the minimum equipment you’ll need for a wine kit

  • Sanitizer
  • Fermenter
  • Secondary Fermenter/Carboy
  • Large spoon
  • Corks and Corker
  • Wine bottles
  • A hose to siphon beer, racking cane or an auto-siphon

Equipment for making wine from grapes

Making wine from grapes takes a bit more equipment.  You will need to destem the grapes, crush the grapes, and then eventually press the grapes.  When I started making wine from grapes, I used the equipment from my local homebrew store where I purchased the grapes.  They had wine making equipment available for rent.  The homebrew store even tested the must acids and sugars for me, so all I needed was a trashcan fermenter for the grapes.  There are some wine making/homebrew clubs which pool resources together for grape crushes too.  Do some research to find out if your grape supplier also can provide use of equipment.

If you don’t have access to equipment, you can still make wine.  In this case you will need to destem and crush the grapes by hand.  This will work for a small amount of grapes, but your patience will be tested if you are planning to make large amounts of wine.  You will also need a wine press.  If you can’t find one to rent, look on craigslist for a used press.

A large fermenter is needed if you are making red wine.  I use a large food grade trashcan dedicated to making wine.

wine fermenters

You can find these trashcan fermenters at most wine homebrew stores

The potassium metabisulfite is used to kill wild yeast and bacteria.  You can also use campden tablets.  The potassium sorbate is used later to stabilize the wine.  Pectic enzyme is used to help break down the grapes and extract more juice.

Once you’ve crushed your grapes, the process is similar to wine kits.

Here’s the minimum equipment you’ll need for a wine from grapes

  • Sanitizer
  • Fermenter
  • Large foodgrade trashcan (red wine)
  • Large Spoon
  • Corks and Corker
  • Wine bottles
  • A hose to siphon beer, racking cane or an auto-siphon
  • Potassium Metabisulfite
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Pectic Enzyme

Possibly

  • hydrometer
  • acid testing kit
  • wine press
  • destemmer/crusher

Did I miss anything?

There might be something I’m missing.  I think these lists represent the minimum equipment you will need to make wine.  What do you think?  Is there anything I missed or is there anything I added which you do not need?


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DJ Spiess

DJ Spiess

Beer buddy

I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!