Wine kits: Do I need any equipment?
Wine kits contain just the juice used to make your 6 or 30 bottles of home-made wine and so you’ll need some re-usable equipment to bring your ideas to fermentation – and bottling.
Diluting down the Cellar 7 30-bottle plummy-tasting Merlot into the starting 22.5-litres of grape juice requires a pretty big bucket to hold it all in – with its covering lid being at the same height as your knees when sitting in some quiet, warm corner of your kitchen.
After you’ve re-read the instructions and learnt a bit of the lingo you’ll be pitching the yeast, stirring in some sugar, watching with wonder as the fermenting gasses pass through the air-lock with a steady blub-blub before racking off the wine a week later into pristinely clean bottles.
So some equipment is required which the average kitchen just won’t have. But what’s actually required?
The easiest way is to buy the Young’s Cellar7 Equipment Starter Kit (£54.99) which has all the re-usable equipment needed to make 30 bottles of wine again and again.
Or you could mix and match your separates. It all depends on whether you’ve got some of the equipment already or are planning on starting small with a 6-bottle wine kit like the Wine Buddy 6-bottle (£9.99) that makes gooseberry-tasting Sauvignon Blanc.
So first off get a large enough fermentation vessel.
For 28 and 30 bottle wine kits get a 25-litre/5-gallon Plastic Fermentation Bucket with Lid (£10). While 6-bottle wine kits ferment in a Clear glass demijohn (£12.99) which holds the liquid of six standard-sized 75cl wine bottles coming in at 4.5-litres (or 1-gallon). The KegThat demijohn comes complete with a Bubbler air-lock (separate price £0.70) which fits into a Rubber Bung with a hole in it (separate price £4.50 for 6) and a Rubber Bung without a hole (separate price £4 for 6) used with the finished wine.
You’ll also need:
- Sterilising powder (£1.70) which dissolves in warm water and sterilises all your equipment
- Long-handled plastic stirring spoon (£6.72) to reach all the way down to the bottom of your fermentation bucket and stir in any added sugar
- Hydrometer (£2.50) which tells you if your wine has finished fermenting and is ready to bottle
- Syphon tube for transferring wine (known as racking)
Start by putting one end of the tubing in the finished wine while simultaneously sucking on the other end to start the wine flowing down the tube. Finish by removing the now flowing pipe from your mouth and placing this end in your new bucket or bottle – without spilling too much.
Whether you’ve bought the Equipment Starter Kit or are going separately there’s still the bottling to do:
- Glass wine bottles (24 clear £22, 24 green £16) with the remainder 6 bottles of your 30 bottle kit going into a glass demijohn stoppered with a rubber bung without a hole and tasted first to check on how things are maturing
- Corks (30 for £3) soaked in warm water for an hour before putting through the