Need a better wine thief

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David Engel

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May 20, 2019
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Western Washington
Good Morning Everyone,

Last year I bought my first wine thief… a skinny little glass thing. It takes forever to get enough juice to fill a cylinder for the hydrometer. The only larger thief I seem to find is the 3 piece plastic thing that everyone says “don’t bother with, it leaks”. In some of the wine movies, you see a nice big glass thief. Anyone know of a source for these?

I have this one - I quite like it, it's well made and does the job. (It's actually my second one, I broke the first one which is a reflection on my carelessness and not the quality of the product). has some nice glass thieves too, but they're significantly more expensive. But I think my favorite is this one, though it only makes sense I think if you have a distributer near you. I looked into buying one and the shipping costs would pretty much have doubled the purchase price. I use one at work and it's great.
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maybe not what you had in mind but;
1) I have found that a 50ml syringe with 1/8 tubing works well for sampling juice buckets with club purchases, (if you are in Wisconsin we are taking orders now= QA data will be provided)
2) a 60 ml syringe with an extension of 1/4“ tubing works well for general sampling, ( I can frequently do a gravity with 40 to 80 ml)
3) a 50 ml syringe with an extension of 1/4” tubing (heated/ formed like glass tubing to a point) is good for general sample collection. (The green joint was once a silicone straw)
I also use a turkey baster a lot of the time. It is about 5 samples to fill up my graduated cylinder. SOME TIMES I don't mind.

I have 3 of these, got at least one with each used batch of equipment I got. In my world they are the standard. Am I the odd man out?

They work the opposite of cheap bottle fillers so they don't need to be pressed on the bottom of your vessel. As you submerge in liquid they fill. As you remove, they seal and hold liquid. 6 seconds to extract a sample, plus sanitation. I don't think it gets much simpler.

You could even fit a hydrometer in it, although I have never thought of that 'till this moment. I would guess one inch diameter by 20 inches long. Fits in a carboy. If I can't fill a cylinder in one fill... some got in my mouth. 🤫

I have 3 of these, got at least one with each used batch of equipment I got. In my world they are the standard. Am I the odd man out?
FermTech wine thief, the one I use.

I need to buy a new turkey baster for the kitchen; might as well buy 2 and keep one in the winery. The FermTech thief works great for batches that are deep enough, but for 1 or 2 gallon batches, it's necessary to pull numerous times.

I also like David's (@Rice_Guy) idea of a medical syringe.