For The Novice
Welcome! we here at A&P Grape Distributors are just as excited as you are to begin your 1st batch of wine!
Let's run through the various pieces of equipment needed and their advantages. Handling hints are included.
Avoid using metal utensils since the acid content of the wine can dissolve some of the metal causing hazes in the wine. Stainless steel can be used.
- Primary Fermenters - You may choose to Use your 6 gallon Regina plastic pail or a food grade pail as your fermenter, During the primary fermentation. leave juice in 6 gallon pail. For 2- 3 days. No need to purchase poly barrels unless you are making larger batches.
- Glass Carboy - Used during the second stage of fermentation in combination with Airlock when the wine needs to be protected from air.
6 gallon carboy or 1 gallon jugs are ideal. The wine can be seen bubbling and the clearing process observed. Glass is easily cleaned and does not absorb air. Because plastic containers do absorb air, which turns wine brown and changes its flavor, they are not recommended. Poly grade plastic barrels are fine.
While everyone appreciates the traditional qualities of wooden barrels, they can cause many problems unless they are handled by experts. As a beginner or for relatively small batches nothing compares to glass. All are effective. Glass looks pretty, but are easily broken We recommend a carboy handle.
- Siphon Tubing - Used for racking (transferring) wine from one container to another. Five feet of clear flexible tubing with an inside diameter of 1/2", is best for 6 gallon batches.
Larger tubing flows too quickly and picks up unwanted sediment more easily. Plastic shutoff clamps can be attached to one end of the tubing to stop and restart the flow. We recommend Trew Brew Siphon Kit
- Filters - Almost any wine will clear on its own and this is what we recommend. Commercial wineries filter their wines in order to speed them to market, but keep in mind that the filtering process which removes haze causing particles may also remove desirable taste or smell characteristics.
A few ingenious filters are available to the home winemaker. They are generally used for a final "polishing" of an already clear wine. When entering a wine for competition, this can help as the judges check the clarity of the wine first. A truly cloudy wine is not a candidate for filtering as it will soon clog the pads. It would need to be treated with a fining or clearing agent first and filtered later. A good filter circulates the wine through a closed system so that it is not exposed to air. The Buon Vino Mini-Jet is a popular filter used among many home winemakers.
- Corks - Used by wine producers around the world, corks provide an ideal seal for bottles. Bottle corks have straight sides which allow maximum blockage all along their length. A tapered cork is not sufficient and will leak. Corks must be kept wet to provide a seal, so always store wine bottles on their sides and occasionally rotate wine bottles.
- Corkers - Wine corks are larger than the opening in wine bottles, and a corker which compresses the cork is almost essential for insertion. A good corker will compress the cork, which has been soaked to soften it, and insert it in the bottle without major strength being required of the wine maker.
There are many types available. The lever corker is a good compromise between cost and ease of operation. Single and double lever corkers are available and both make the job relatively easy. The Easy Hand Corker is ideal.
Bench mounted corkers and floor model corkers are suitable when bottling large quantities of wine. They are strong and powerful, requiring very little effort by the bottler.
- Brushes - Several types of brushes are used by wine makers in their pursuit of cleanliness. The Wine Bottle but, 375-Ml. makes a great sampler. Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne Style just to name a few.