For the benefit of people who want to take up wine-making as a hobby or as a small business, the essential wine making equipment needs are here listed and explained. As you move on to gaining more expertise, there are other paraphernalia that you will want to know about.
The fermenting barrel or jar is essential for wine making equipment
The primary requirement of wine making equipment is the fermenting container. You can use plastic or glass containers. You may use bottles, jars or plastic barrels, depending on how much wine you are making.
However, before getting or using a plastic container, make certain that the kind of plastic will not interact with the fermenting wine. Some plastics discolor upon contact with wine. That is not really a big deal. But then there are plastics which may give the wine an unpleasant odor. Still others may make the wine toxic.
Look for plastic containers that are made of HDPE or High Density Poly Ethylene as those are without odor and are the least reactive plastic containers available today. They are also hard enough to be made into fermentation jars. Look for #2 in the label of the product.
Wine making equipment requires that your container has sealing caps or plugs. It should also provide a vent for CO2 to escape from the vessel.
For making highly purified wine, you should get two or three fermenting containers for your wine making equipment. That will make it possible for you to ferment the must more than once.
The kinds of plugs for wine making equipment
As already mentioned, you require devices in your wine making equipment that will allow the gases out while denying access to external air. These are specially designed gadgets which can be of two types. First you have air locks which are inserted into a hole in the jar. Gases pass through the hole, enter into the air lock and out into the environment. You can also have safety cork plugs. These work in much the same way as air locks with the difference that the cork themselves become the cap or plug.
You need racking hoses in your wine making equipment
At several points in the process of purifying the wine, you will need to transfer it to a new container. This occurs every time the must is transferred to another container for further fermenting or when the wine is transferred to storage bottles where it can age. Racking hoses work through the principle that water seeks the lowest level. The hose transfers the wine from a fermenting bottle to either a second fermenting bottle or to the bottle where it is stored
The hydrometer is useful wine making equipment
This wine making equipment is a cylindrical glass post that can be dipped into the must or wine. It is used to gauge the probable alcohol content of the liquid. In this way, it may also be used to make the wine closer in nature to a juice than to an alcoholic beverage.
The first vertical sets of lines indicate the density (specific gravity) of the solution. In the case of the wine must (the freshly pressed juice of grapes), it serves to tell how sweet it is before and after fermentation.
This wine making equipment may have another set of calibrations showing the brix (balling) value of the must. If this value is multiplied by 0.575 the probably content of alcohol can be found.
A third set of lines may be present and indicates the probable alcohol content of the liquid.
Hydrometers are useful wine making equipment for regulating the sugar content of the wine. Simply by prolonging fermentation, they can decrease sugar and increase alcohol, in which case, the wine becomes a bit more intoxicating.
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