Each home wine maker has their own tips and tricks when making wine at home. Here is a general overview of what we recommend to make wine from fresh grape juice.
Generally Fresh Juice comes in 5 Gallon (Approximately 20L) food grade pails. We are going to assume that this is the case for you as well. This post is focused around what you equipment you will need during the grape juice wine making process. We also offer general instructions on how to make wine from fresh juice.
Get a reputable Fresh Grape Juice supplier
You want to make sure that you are buying from a reputable wine making supply store, be wary of the seasonal shops that pop up and then disappear.
Equipment - The main items:
- 23 Liter Bucket with hole on lid – used during the first stage - fermentation
- Airlock and Rubber Bung – Allows the wine to "breathe out" while keeping oxygen and bacteria out
- 20L (5 Gallon glass carboy) – Used during the second stage
- Long Plastic Spoon for stirring ingredients during fermentation and degassing.
- J tube and about 5 feet Siphon Tubing with clamp – to transfer the wine off the sediment from the 1st stage to the second stage and the clamp is like an emergency brake in case you need to stop the flow from the hose.
- Hydrometer – to measure the sugar concentration throughout the wine making process (as well as potential alcohol). We offer both regular and colour versions of the hydrometer
- Wine thief – helps you measure the with the hydrometer as well as take samples
- Corking Machine – there is a Hand Corker and Floor Corker option
- Wine Bottles – For 5 Gallons you will need about 25 Bottles at 750mL, or 20 x 1L bottles
- Wine Corks – the most used size is #8 and #9 cork sizes. The longer the cork the longer aging time.
- Bottle Filler – Has a bottom valve which start and stops the flow when filling wine bottles.
- Additives – What you would need throughout the wine making stages
Sanitizing equipment is an important part to wine making, some options:
- Sodium Metibisulfite – is what is generally used presently and in the past
- Diversol – is used for stained equipment that needs a good cleaning
- Aspetox - is a newer product which promotes a “no-rinse” or “light rinse” option. And does a great job in cleaning and sterilizing.
Fermenting Wine Grape Juice
The juices we carry already include the wine yeast and are fully balanced (unless stated otherwise) , if the juice does not include anything:
- Yeast Packages – Generally 1 pkg for 5 gallons (20L) and there are a wide variety of wine yeast available.
- Bentonite – which promotes clearing in the fermentation stage
- Acid Blend, Malic Acid, Tataric Acid and Wine Tannin which help boost the acidity of the wine. (Generally used when the wine maker has an Acid test kit)
Stabilization the homemade wine
Once the wine is done there are several options
- Campden Tablets – pre measured amounts of potassium metibisulphite and Sorbate in tablet form. Made for simple measurements.
- Purchasing Potassium Metabisulphite and Potassium Sorbate separately to add your own measurements.
- Ascorbic Acid – A more natural way of stabilization.
Clarifying homemade wine
Aging in a cool dark place is generally the best method but some other options are:
- Kiesolsel and Chitosan – A two part clearing agent does a great of having a lot of the particulate drop to sediment for re-racking. Suggested dosage is 1 set for 5 Gallons ( 20L)
Optional Items for wine making
This are items that you might want to change out in the future or even right now!
- Heating Belt – used when the fermentation is in a cooler place. Instead of heating up a hole area – you can just use this handy tool
- Degasser – Mixing by hand is a way of the past! There is now plastic and metal degassers which attach to any power drill.
- Wine Filter Machines – the Mini Jet filter system is a good for the home wine maker – making your wine come out crystal clear
- Auto-Siphon J tube - just pump this sophisticated j-tube to prevent contamination