Learn how to make great tasting wine at home. It all starts with
using the right winemaking equipment.
Let’s get started…
You will need a fairly good size bucket, a food grade plastic
bucket to be exact. They should have markers on the side of
the bucket for Gallons to help you determine how much wine you
are making. Remember that it takes just as much effort to make
3 Gallons as it does 1 Gallon and for that matter, 6 Gallons.
So the point here is that you might as well make more than just
one gallon. Many recipes are for 1 gallon so if that is the case,
make your adjustments to make at least 3 gallons or even 6 gallons.
Anyway, our bucket is called “The Primary Fermenter”. This is
where you will initiate the Primary Fermentation phase. Your
Primary Fermenter will have a lid with a hole in it. You may
have to cut a hole in yours if it doesn’t come with one. Easy
enough, you can just use a hole saw. The lid will fit tightly
and more than likely should have a rubber seal on the inside of
your lid to help make a secure seal.
You will next need a “Bung” which is known as a stopper. Your
bung will go into the hole in your lid which will then contain
an airlock. With your airlock in place, this will help with not
allowing air to come into your Primary Fermenter but it will allow
the gases to flow from our Primary Fermentation phase. The gases
are a natural by-product from the action of the yeasts.
You will need to put water in your air lock and when you do I would
recommend that you use either filtered water or distilled water.
The action of the gas leaving your air lock will kind of make a
percolating sound. It helps you to know that your winemaking process
is well underway.
The next thing you will need is a long spoon. This spoon should be at
least 24 inches long. This will be long enough to reach down into your
Primary Fermenter. I prefer plastic over wood but that is just my
preference. On one end of the spoon you will have the spoon shape and
on the other you will have a little rectangular shape. This smaller
shape on this end will allow you to reach in and stir your “carboys”
which we will talk about later.
Next you will need a Hydrometer for measuring Specific Gravity. This
wine measuring device will help you determine how sweet or dry your
wine will be. We will use this throughout our winemaking process.
Another term you will want to become familiar with is called “Lees”.
This is the sediment that will begin to settle in the bottle of your
different fermentation stages. When we transfer from our Primary
Fermentation bucket to our carboys, during each phase we will begin to
get rid of the sediment (the Lees) and our wine will begin to take shape.
Lees is a mixture of spent yeast, the yeast hulls and fruit pulp. When
you move from the Primary Fermentation phase to the Secondary Fermentation
phase you will see the Lees on the bottom. Don’t worry about this as we
will not be transferring the Lees as we move from phase to phase which
is called “Racking”.
In our next article we will continue with what kind of equipment you will
need for great winemaking at home.