First and foremost, we need to talk about cost. You could visit online merchants here, there and everywhere to shop around for the best prices on individual items you’ll need to start making your own wine, but most sites that sell equipment offer some sort of beginning equipment kit that will have all the items you need to get your wine making career started. This is absolutely the best way to go in my opinion. Kits will run anywhere from $80-$150. That’s a lot of money, but this equipment can be used over and ever and thus will eventually pay for itself.
So what’s included in a kit, anyway? For starters you’ll get a plastic primary fermentation bucket, usually around 8 gallons. After primary fermentation you’ll need something to transfer your wine into for secondary fermentation. This is usually a 5 or 6 gallon glass bottle, called a carboy, although in some kits the secondary is plastic.
Also included will be some rubber stoppers that fit the fermenting vessels, and an airlock, which is a device used to let carbon dioxide out when your wine is fermenting while not allowing air and bacteria in. You should also get a couple of brushes, one for cleaning the bottles and another so you can clean the carboy.
Some sort of cleaning agent and also a sanitizer will be included. Cleaning and sanitizing is a crucial step when making wine. A length of plastic tubing will be supplied, and a sometimes a device called a racking tube which aids in transferring your wine from one vessel to the other. Some kits also include a little device to slip onto the plastic tube that allows you to shut off the flow of wine when you’re bottling.
Most kits include a hydrometer. This is a device that measures the specific gravity of the wine during various stages of development. You can also use it to measure the potential alcohol of your wine. Corks are also in most equipment kits, as is some sort of corker to insert the corks.
This is the minimum list of items, and you’ll find some kits that include much more. What is generally NOT included is an ingredient kit, although some sellers will allow you to add one to your package for a reduced price and if you can afford it, this is a good way to go. Bottles are usually not included either, but are easy to collect from friends and family.
Consider getting started making your own homemade wine today. It’s a fun and fascinating hobby that you can explore endlessly.
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