Quantcast

Hello from Michigan

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

AJP

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
33
Reaction score
7
Hi all,

Although I made my first wine back in the late 70's (gallon cider jugs ...) before I was old enough to drink, I consider myself a rank amateur and complete beginner to winemaking. My family had a long tradition of wine making (from around 1918 until the 1960's), but unfortunately most of that knowledge has been lost. Wild ChokeCherry wine was evidently the most interesting (Southern Colorado).

I live in Michigan and have zero equipment. I always try to buy quality equipment when I start a new hobby, as it's better than upgrading later and wasting the initial investment. So I'll be doing a lot of reading about good/quality equipment/kits.

I have an unfinished (dirt floor) area attached to my basement that stays in the 55F-65F range all year long, I'd really like to put some of that space to good use :h

I plan on making 2-3 batches/year (60-90 bottles).

Not sure at all where I'll get my fruit/juice (I'll cross that bridge later this summer/fall).

Regardless, thanks in advance for all the answers and information.

AJ
 

Arne

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Messages
4,928
Reaction score
972
Location
central Nebraska
Welcome to the forum. You can start this without much of an investment. Find a food grade bucket, local bakery or deli's usually have them and you can get one pretty cheap. Locate some used gal. jugs, some wines and juices come in them and lots of folks throw themaway. A recycling center is a good place to look. Now if you have a brew store close you need some yeast, nutrient, and some campten tablets or k-meta powder also if you are going to sweeten some potassium sorbate powder. Next from there is a hydrometer. find the dragons blood recipe on here (look in the skeeter pee forum) and give that a try. You might have to adjust for the size of the batch you want to make. Should be enough stuff to get you going and see if you want to do this. Not a big money output. IF the brew store is not close you might want to get some drilled stoppers that fit the jugs and a few airlocks. Get some solid bungs and you will not have to bottle for now, just put a stopper in when the wine is finished. Arne.
 

Ajmassa

just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
3,872
Reaction score
3,582
Location
S. Jersey/Philadelphia area
Hey AJ, welcome to the forum. I like your style in terms of "Do it once. Do it right". I actively try and force myself to think like that, but impulse sometimes takes over.
Not sure what the deal was with equipment in the 70's since I wasn't around, but nothing crazy would be needed for x3 6 gal batches a year. I would suggest to have an extra empty glass carboy to make racking your wine a 1 step process. 1 batch=2 carboys. 2 batches=3 carboys etc...Much easier than racking carboy to bucket- clean the carboy, then transfer from bucket back to carboy.
Also you need a big bucket to ferment in. 6 gal batch needs extra space so A lot of people use a 7.9 gal bucket sold at homebrew shops, or a 10-20 gal smooth brute trashcan.
Since you sound like you want to do this proper I suggest 100% hands down look into investing in the All in One vacuum pump. Worth every nickel. People swear by this thing and it's perfect for 6 gal batches. Used for racking from one vessel to another, removing CO2 from the wine, and bottling becomes a breeze. Otherwise an auto siphon and some tubing would be needed
If you want info for selecting a good wine kit just search through the kit winemaking section. Loads and loads of info for all kinds of different wines. As well as tons of tips and tweaks and insight for the kits.
@Arne listed the necessary basic small items to pick up. I wouldn't skip out on anything he mentioned. the 1 gal jugs are still good to have even if you make 6 gal batches. A lot of people will store their mixed sanitizing solution in the 1 gal jugs. Or making ~7 gal of a wine (not kit wine) with a full 6 gal carboy + 1 gal jug used to top up the carboy when there's headspace left from racking.
If you wanna do seasonal fresh grapes then that's a whole other equipment conversation.
And just a friendly reminder- California/Italy grape harvest is around the corner in September. If you wanna do fresh juice or grapes there's just about 2 months to get your ducks in a row. Big business for Local shops all over the country bringing in fresh juice pales and lugs of grapes from Cali to sell to us basement dwellers. Good luck.
AJ ---errr. Andrew (to avoid confusion)
 

AJP

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
33
Reaction score
7
Thanks guys,

Here is a high level of my current shopping list.
2x 6.5gal Carboys (glass) and Handles
32oz Star San sanitizer
2x triple read hydrometer (I know I'll break one!)
3x drilled #7 stoppers (one for each Carboy, one extra or for stirring ...)
Plastic spoon
2x 3piece air locks
Fermtech wine thief/test
All in One vacuum racking/bottling system. (with filtering adapters)
32Gal Food Safe Brute can and lid

Italian floor corker (I have a bad habit of buying the best so I have the best).

bottles.

Which corks do you guys use?

I have several instant read thermometers etc.

I need to research TA/PH testing methods.

Looks like around $500 investment to start. Not an issue, the items are good quality and I know I'll be using them for a couple decades (God willing).

Thoughts?

AJ
 

Bodenski

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2016
Messages
244
Reaction score
106
Welcome to the forum! I'm mostly a gallon at a time wine-maker, with very few larger batches. Easy to experiment with that size.

Main thing you need is patience. I am now finding that easier to get now that I have 15 batches under my belt. But I'm still wanting to drink my wine before their time ;)
 

AJP

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
33
Reaction score
7
Thanks again guys.

I went to the local toy store and ended up getting 6gal Carboys, since that is the size for most of the kits. Also ended up with a Moscato kit, my wife likes sweet wines and the kit finishes pretty fast.

I sanitized everything and when the juice cools 3 more degrees F, I'll sprinkle the yeast and will be officially making wine again!

Ordered the Italian floor corker and the AllInOne system.

Thanks again for all the great forum information. I'm really anxious for fall and a real (non-kit) wine project.

AJ
 

Ajmassa

just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
3,872
Reaction score
3,582
Location
S. Jersey/Philadelphia area
Thanks again guys.

I went to the local toy store and ended up getting 6gal Carboys, since that is the size for most of the kits. Also ended up with a Moscato kit, my wife likes sweet wines and the kit finishes pretty fast.

Once you start diving into threads about different kits you'll have a good idea of different options you have. But just make a mental note that the included directions are more like guidelines, especially after you do a few. You'll know which things you can skip or change and which are important.
But when a kit says "6 weeks to to bottle" it doesn't necessarily mean the wine is finished in 6 weeks. They just mean 6 weeks until you start aging in the bottle. It seems the majority of people bypass this, and opt to bulk age, leaving the wine in the carboy for 6-12 months and then bottle a finished product. This also allows you to taste, test, possibly add oak, and adjust during the aging process which cannot be done once bottled.
And you'll see you have a wide price range in terms of ph and TA testing equipment. Cheaper Ph Meters can run as cheap as $15. As well as an acid titration test kit for under $20. Or you can spend hundreds. And Good move on the AIO purchase btw.
I'm assuming by now you've pitched your yeast and are making wine once again--40 yrs later. Good for you. And good luck AJ.
AJ
 
Last edited:

AJP

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
33
Reaction score
7
...
And Good move on the AIO purchase btw.
I'm assuming by now you've pitched your yeast and are making wine once again--40 yrs later. Good for you. And good luck AJ.
AJ

Yep, measured temp at 75F and SG at 1.068 corrected, good to go.

Pitched the yeast about 2 hours ago.

In all the hobbies I've had over the years, there are particular items that become 'required' after you use them a few times. A progressive press and a good electronic scale for reloading, a really good multi-meter for electronics work, a remote read thermometer for monitoring the meat smoker, integrated electronics (sonar/GPS) for fishing are a few examples. Reading about the AIO makes me believe it's one of those items.

Thanks again,
AJ
 
Top