Wine-making is a surprisingly simple yet highly enjoyable past-time, though it may be worth noting that legally within the UK, you can produce as much wine as you wish, however, you must not attempt to sell your produce to anyone.
With a total production cost of approximately 50p per bottle, you can produce various types of wine with an alcohol content within the range of 7-18%.
An initial financial outlay is required for equipment, but once invested, you can constantly make wine for a fraction of the retail prices available within the supermarket or the continent.
Home wine-making kits are widely available but for a quick checklist, please ensure that you have the following equipment included:
Primary fermentation requires a container that has a volume of at least 20 – 30% than the must to ensure that during fermentation the container allows for the foaming. A large plastic bucket can be used as long it has a lid. During fermentation, the carbon dioxide must have an air-hole to escape through. Once the air-hole has been made it is recommended that you insert an air-lock to keep vinegar flies out of the must.
A glass container that come in sizes of 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and half gallons inbetween such as 6.5. 5 gallons is the standard size. The large containers of 7 and 7.5 can become extremely heavy when full and can become excessively heavy to lift or maintain. With a narrow neck and opening, the Carboy or Carbouy allows for the use of the air lock and stop.
You can never have too many pails or buckets for wine-making!
Buckets can be utilised for carrying must, mixing ingredients, racking etc. Again, with a range of sizes buckets are extremely useful.
U-shaped devices that are simply valves that allow the carbon dioxide to escape from the wine as it ferments while stopping oxygen and bacteria from reaching the liquid. A sodium metabisulfite solution is placed in the U of the airlock to enable the escape of gas and killing any harmful bacteria that could contaminate the wine, and eliminating any fruit flies.
With a choice of different corks available, the cork keeps the wine and seals the bottle with natural expansion. A quick guide is use natural cork for bottles that you wish to keep for more than one year, agglomerated cork (or processed corks) should only be used for quicker consumption.
Used to insert the cork into the bottle
Carboy and Bottle Brushes
Carbouy brushes are L-shaped to enable the glass to be cleaned along the U-bend, very similar in appearance to a bottle brush. It is recommended that all brushes are rinsed in an sodium metabisulfate solution before and after use.
A cylindrical glass rod, the hydrometer is used to measure the sugar content of the must or wine. Floated within a test-tube filled with the must, the buoyancy of the hydrometer will indicate how much sugar is present. The higher the hydrometer the higher content of sugar is present. The hydrometer has measurements along the side to enable ease of use.
Used to transfer the must from container to another during the bottling and racking process. Ensure that the tubes are long enough to reach the bottom of the container that is due to be siphoned and the bottom of the container that the fluid is being siphoned into. When racking, ensure that the juice does not splash into the new container as could cause too much oxygen to be present in the wine.