What is the equipment necessary to make wine
[Wiki] What additional equipment do I need to make wine?
This depends a little on the type of wine you are making. I can only speak with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from my own experience:
You need a grape press. Some homebrew stores sell these, others rent them out too. With Pinot, you will be stalking the grapes and fermenting the whole berries by carefully chopping them up with a punch tool several times a day to mash things up a bit. But when the fermentation is over, you have to put the rest of the juice from the skins and seeds in ...
A barrel. I made house wine with oak chips in a carboy, but if you want to do things right you need to invest in a barrel. The Beverage People in Santa Rosa sell refurbished French oak barrels in capacities of 5, 10, 13 and 30 gallons. I think I paid $ 275 for 15 gallons last year and aging a little leftover commercial Chardonnay works well.
If you are making Taxi, Merlot, Petit Sirah, Syrah, Zin, etc., be sure to mash the fruit before you press it. You can purchase mini breakers / destroyers to make this process easier. Or you can simply pound the grapes into a trash can. It helps a lot to have a tall, fat Italian woman to do this with.
With Chardonnay, you press the fruit before fermenting it so that the punching tool is no longer needed.
A good pH meter is a must. You need one that reads the 100s as there is a huge difference between a Pinot with a pH of 3.6 and a pH of 3.69. It is important to keep the pH in the safe range when fermenting because ...
... you won't ferment in a balloon with an airlock. We ferment our wines in a large plastic container. If your must ferments at too high a pH, spoiling bacteria can thrive in it.
Vent plug for your barrel. When you press your wine into a barrel, it still has to go through a secondary fermentation process known as malolactic fermentation. Gas must be able to escape. I suppose you could use an airlock for this, but we use vent plugs at the winery. You also need a solid bung to age your wine.
Gallon jugs. You will need a few gallon jugs with airlocks for leftover "toppings" of wine. You need to refill your barrel regularly to make sure your wine doesn't oxidize, and you will need some containers to do this.
As mentioned earlier, you will need a corker.
Some winemakers stir the yeast back into the wine from time to time. If you are, you will need a yeast stirring tool.
Oh, most important of all: a wine thief. You must be able to taste your wine in old age!
A mini-fill line would help a lot - something with a catch basin and barrier to prevent overflows. This allows you to lift your keg and allow gravity to feed the basin while it is bottling. Speaking of gravity-fed filling lines, here's a photo of us this spring ... yikes! Alternative text http://www.me.com/ro/iluminada/Galleries/100031/Gravity%20feed/web.jpg?ver=12728432490001
That's about all I can think of right now.
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