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Rusty Nesmith

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Hello. I am new and have been looking at kits online. I have a couple of places local to buy from and would rather support them. I have worked up a list and would appreciate any help to make sure it is everything I will need. I am planning to start with wine kits and not grapes or fruit. Here is my list.

8 gallon fermenter bucket with lid,
6 gallon glass carboy,
1 drilled bung,
2 air locks,
Auto siphon racking cane,
5 feet of tubing,
Siphon hose shutoff clamp,
Bottle filler,
Carboy cleaning brush,
Triple scale hydrometer,
Three piece thief,
Adhesive thermometer for the fermenter,
One Step to clean everything,
A stir tool that goes in a drill for mixing and degassing.

Thanks for looking. If you see something I am missing or don’t need Please let me know.
 

Scooter68

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As long as the kits contain ALL the chemicals and additives you'll need, that list looks like good starting point. Keep in mind that most kits don't plan on you aging the wine for very long and therefor do not include enough K-Meta. Also that bucket and carboy is enough for ONE batch but does not provide you the capability to do more than one batch at a time. You actually need TWO carboys to do a batch as you will need to rack the wine about every 3 months as it ages. And you DO want to age that wine.

One other important point. Wine kits often tell you to do things at very specific times after the fermentation starts ---- That information is almost ALWAYs wrong. Fermentation and the clearing/settling processes do NOT follow a fixed timeline. Sometimes a fermentation might take 2-3 day OR it might take well over a month. They won't tell you that in the kit instructions.

You should plan on aging your wine (Regardless of the kit instructions) at least 9-12 months before bottling. The "Ready to drink in 6 Weeks" advertising is misleading. You will have a 'drinkable' wine in 6 weeks perhaps BUT it may not be clear and it WILL have a sharpness to it that will take away some of the joy of making your own wine. At 9-12 months that same wine will be transformed into something ENJOYABLE to drink.

I would substitute K-Meta powder for the One-step as one step no longer claims to be a sanitizer. Use a very mild dishwashing liquid for "Cleaning" and rinse very well, Then K-Meta or StarSan for sanitizing. I use StarSan for sanitizing and k-meta at racking and prep time for my wine batches.

(K-Meta = Potassium Metabisulfate)
StarSan is an excellent sanitizer and the foam clings well inside containers to insure full sanitizing on all surfaces. Some folks just use K-meta and the works. I just prefer to see that Foaming action.

Also Start looking for a recycling center nearby to get your bottles. You can buy them but "Free" beats the best price IF you are willing to do a little labor to clean off old labels.
 

Rusty Nesmith

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Scooter68 thanks for the reply. I will add the K-Meta and StarSan to my list. I will start with one carboy and buy another before I need it. Do you add K-Meta every three months when you rack it to a fresh carboy? Also do I need glass carboy or will the plastic ones work as well?
 

Scooter68

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K-Meta - Safe bet is to add 1/4 tsp per 6 gallons (or 5 depending on the bottle instructions) every time you rack and rack every 3 months. Some folks use slightly different plans but that's the most common approach.
As to Plastic vs Glass.... I personally prefer to use only glass. Once I've moved from the bucket to the carboy, I don't use plastic again unless I have to when back-sweetening a batch.
There again there are different feelings but Glass doesn't get scratched up unless you do something or put something you should into it.

I follow pretty much mainstream hobby wine making processes other than my batch sizes and wine types. (I make fruit wines in 3 and sometimes 1 gallon batches) Other than that it's really a series of decisions you need to make, but; try to have some basis in sound logical practices or chemical knowledge about what you do. You have a lot of latitude in wine making but when you push boundaries you can end up with a nasty batch or an issue that will either take a lot of effort to correct or cannot be corrected. Simple example - I lost a batch of mango-pineapple wine right away because I didn't start fermentation soon enough and the fruit began to spoil before fermentation kicked in. Simple problem but it cost me the price to buy all that fruit and the prep time as well.
 

Rusty Nesmith

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Thanks. I was thinking of racking from a six gallon carboy after three months to two three gallon and adding an oak barrel stick to one of them to end up with two Cabernet Sauvignon batches that are a little different. Is that possible? I was going to start with a Cabernet kit and after I rack it to the carboy start a Merlot kit. Thanks for your help it is greatly appreciated.
 

Chuck E

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Thanks. I was thinking of racking from a six gallon carboy after three months to two three gallon and adding an oak barrel stick to one of them to end up with two Cabernet Sauvignon batches that are a little different. Is that possible? I was going to start with a Cabernet kit and after I rack it to the carboy start a Merlot kit. Thanks for your help it is greatly appreciated.
Sure, that is a fine plan. Kits that start out at 6 gallons will wind up yielding less after fementation, because you will have some lees in the bottle. Be prepared to add some similar store bought wine to top off the carboys.
 

CDrew

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You will have a far better idea of what you need, after you make your first wine, and all the mistakes and problems it will cause. As you go write down a list of things you wish you had. Kits I don't really know. But I do know that 5 feet of tubing is too short and I'd get 2 lengths, 6 feet each.

I was not a fan of the auto siphon. It works but it's hard to sanitize and kind of a pain. Just a regular siphon tube will be fine. Actually get 2 of them, and I think the stainless ones are better.

For cleaners: You need to clean and then sanitize. My favorite winery cleaner is PBW (powdered brewery wash). Then rinsed and then a StarSan rinse to sanitize. But an excellent cleaner substitute is OxyClean Free. (Only the Free) which I buy at Target. But StarSan is a great sanitizer but the surface must be clean first. I can't emphasize enough, how useful the StarSan is. And it's super concentrated so you always have some to make more. I make 2 gallons each day I do winery operations, and some times a 5 gallon bucket full. All of that takes just over an ounce of the concentrated solution.

You will need a bunch of carboys. I would say 2 x 5gallon, 2 x 3gal and several 1gallon jugs. And that's just to get started.

That whip degassing thing is just not needed.

Skip that 3 piece thief too. They leak and they are fiddly. Instead get a baster from the grocery store. Or this one which is longer:
https://www.amazon.com/Home-Brew-Ohio-Plastic-Baster/dp/B0716F9CQQ/ref=pd_cp_328_1/131-8591299-2092960?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0716F9CQQ&pd_rd_r=3718df3b-c509-420e-8493-6f47bdf496ff&pd_rd_w=KXrJN&pd_rd_wg=UIARe&pf_rd_p=0e5324e1-c848-4872-bbd5-5be6baedf80e&pf_rd_r=B5FCXF5DW4N8FWXEFD2V&psc=1&refRID=B5FCXF5DW4N8FWXEFD2V

Good luck, and welcome.

Read this:
https://morewinemaking.com/web_files/intranet.morebeer.com/files/wredw.pdf
It's about wine making from grapes but most of the proceedures apply
 
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Intheswamp

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You'll need a corker, eventually. Bite the bullet and save some money...go ahead and buy a floor corker. The smaller red Portuguese corkers work great.

Along with the corker you might want to pick up a bottle sanitizer...basically a bowl with a pump sprayer in it...they work great, too. Turn the bottle upside down, press down on the pump a time or two and the sanitizer is nicely sprayed up into the bottle. A bottle drying rack would be nice to go with the sanitizer pump.

Potassium sorbate to "neuter" any remaining yeast once you are ready to bottle. It has a relatively short shelf life so you might want to buy it closer to bottling time.

I like my Fermtech wine thief. Simple to use and I haven't had a problem with it leaking. You can use it for a hydrometer test tube but I have a test tube and really prefer it over using the thief for taking hydrometer readings. For me, the Fermetech thief works good, though, for it's primary purpose. And, I like my auto-siphon.

Star San gets my vote, too. Easy to use no-rinse sanitizer. I use B-Brite for a cleanser. When I'm out of it I may very well try some of the Oxyclean Free

Be sure and make some excess wine for topping off the main vessel with later on. Save/scrounge some bottles of different sizes for storing/aging the excess wine.

The good thing is that you have sources within driving distance. That's a big plus for your wine making projects! The closest store for me is around 60 miles away...the next closest is probably around 90 miles.<sigh>
 

Rocky

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@Rusty Nesmith. You have a good starter list there. As others have said, I would deep six the 3 piece wine thief and the "One Step" cleaner in favor of K-meta. Also, I have to respectfully disagree with Scooter68 when he wrote, "add 1/4 tsp per 6 gallons (or 5 depending on the bottle instructions) every time you rack and rack every 3 months." Depending on how often you rack, you could end up with too much sulfite in your wine. I would restate that as "add 1/4 tsp per 6 gallons....when you rack but not more than once every 3 months." Also, as stated above, the kit will say that the wine is "drinkable" after so many weeks. Well, yes, drinkable but not mature. I would recommend bulk aging whites for at least 6 months and reds for at least 12 months.

Here are some shots of my wine area, the first showing some of the equipment that I use and have found makes life easier:
100_1358.JPG

You will note that I have a spigot on my fermenter (this is one of my 20 gallon fermenters). I also have this on all of my other fermenters including the 8 gallon ones. It makes the first racking a breeze because I set the fermenter on the table (shown) and the carboy on the floor. I attach a short length of hose to the spigot and insert it into the carboy and just turn it on. Very clean and easy to use. I recommend the "Avvinator" shown in the right foreground for sanitizing bottles prior to filling. I use a floating thermometer rather that the stick on variety for more accuracy. That is "Dawn" liquid soap in the squeeze bottle (center right). I mix up K-meta and water (3 T per gallon of water) for equipment sanitizing. The Home Depot spray bottle (right background) makes it easy to get K-meta into tubes, airlocks, etc. In the foreground, I made this carboy cleaner from a large brush and an extender from my tools and use it in a variable speed drill to clean the carboy with Dawn.

Several members have recommended additional carboys and I agree. Various sizes are required (I have about 40 in sizes from 54 liter demijohns, 6, 5, 3 gallon carboys, 1 and 1/2 gallon jugs, 3 liter bottles and 1500 ml bottles. The photo below shows a quadruple batch of Chenin Blanc (started with 4 buckets of California juice) and demonstrates how smaller sizes are used. Out of the original 24 gallons of juice, I have 2 ea. 6 gallon, 2 ea. 5 gallon, a 1 gallon, a half gallon and a 1500 ml bottle. By the time I am finished racking, I may lose another half to one gallon.

100_1359.JPG

I will bulk age the Chenin Blanc for at least 6 months. Here is a shot of my bulk aging area with my whites covered to protect them from UV light.

100_1365.JPG

Here is a shot of one of the whites (Gewurtztraminer) partially uncovered. Just about ready to bottle. (That is a QA sample on the right!)

100_1361.JPG

Good luck with your wine and keep us up to date on your progress.
 

Rusty Nesmith

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I read the link that CDrew gave me. It was talking about PH meters and SO2 meters. Do I need those to make the kit wines? Also do I need to lower the PH of the water before I add it to the fermentation bucket?
 

Intheswamp

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Good corker. I haven't used mine but once and it was a very simple and easy operation. A note, though. The flange-nut that adjusts for the depth of the cork is very loose and easy to spin on mine. The nut moved while I was corking my bottles and a couple of bottles ended up with the cork set slightly deeper than I wanted them...they're ok, but just a tad to deep. Before I cork more bottles I will wrap the threads of the cork-punch with teflon tape so that the nut doesn't spin on its own and will stay put. Looks like you have a good game plan going.
 

cmason1957

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I read the link that CDrew gave me. It was talking about PH meters and SO2 meters. Do I need those to make the kit wines? Also do I need to lower the PH of the water before I add it to the fermentation bucket?
PH meters are not necessary for doing kit wines, at least I never measure nor change the PH of kit wines. SO2 meters can be useful with kit wines, if you bulk age for longer times (12 months or so). That being said, I don't own one and I do kit wines, fruit wines and from grape wines. I just go with the no more than 1/4 tsp/6 gallons every 3 months.
 

Rusty Nesmith

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Well it started. I went out and bought some equipment today. I got everything but StarSan, thermometer and a wine kit. Is it ok to mix a five gallon bucket each of the K-meta and StarSan and keep lids on them or just mix a little every time I need it.
 

Ajmassa

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Well it started. I went out and bought some equipment today. I got everything but StarSan, thermometer and a wine kit. Is it ok to mix a five gallon bucket each of the K-meta and StarSan and keep lids on them or just mix a little every time I need it.
I did that exact thing initially. Made a mixture of kmeta and StarSan in 5gal buckets.

Was way too much and just ended up wasting most. Even now as my winemaking scaled up since then I only use 1gal jugs to keep Kmeta and my PBW cleaner. And I also keep a fresh 32oz spray bottle filled with each. I wrote the mixing ratios right on the containers so I never get confused.

*oh and for thermometer I had the type the clipped on a bucket with the round face. Hated it. For $15 I bought one of those laser thermometer guns. Few years old still works like new. I love that damn thing. I highly recommend. Mine is this exact gun listed here. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00837ZGRY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_i3LPDbVB3A7SV
 
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