It’s actually quite easy to get started producing wine. There really isn’t that much too it. All you need is fruit, juice, or a wine kit and the right wine equipment kits. You simply take fruit juice, add yeast, and let it ferment. However, there are some tools that you need to make this process easier. We’ve put together some of the best winemaking kits that you can buy online. You can choose from 5-6 gallon kits to 1-gallon kits. A 5-gallon kit will produce 25 bottles. A 6-gallon kit will produce 30 bottles. A one-gallon kit will produce 5 bottles. If you’re looking for ingredient kits don’t forget to check out our article on the best winemaking kits.
5-6 Gallon Wine Making Equipment Kits
These are the most common winemaking starter kits. It’s not really any more difficult to produce 5-6 gallons of wine than it is to produce 1 gallon. You get the benefit of making 25-30 bottles versus the 5 bottles you get from a one-gallon kit. These wine equipment kits include the components you need to get started making your delicious homemade wines.
1 Gallon Wine Making Equipment Kits
One gallon winemaking kits are great for small production. You can use these to test out new recipes or simply to produce five bottles for your own consumption. Many people prefer the 5-6 gallon kits but the one-gallon kit is perfect for many people. We’ve put together a list of some of the best one-gallon wine kits available online,
Types of Equipment Included in Wine Equipment Kits
So what do you really need to get started? Here are some of the types of equipment that will typically come with a winemaking starter kit.
The primary fermenter is where you will mix all of your ingredients and add your yeast to start the fermentation process. Your mixture will usually sit in this container for about a week before being transferred into a secondary fermenter. Usually, the primary fermenter is just a standard food-grade bucket. This is definitely an important part of any winemaking setup.
The secondary fermenter is where your wine will spend most of its time finishing the fermentation process and even bulk aging. Most kits include a glass or plastic carboy for your secondary fermenter. Some kits will just include a lid for the primary bucket. It’s preferred to get a kit that has a glass secondary container as they are airtight. Plastic can actually leak some air into the wine and possibly cause oxidation. So we recommend looking for a kit with a glass carboy. It’s often recommended to have a second carboy to allow you to transfer the wine during the aging process. Most kits only come with one carboy.
An airlock is a simple but ingenious idea. It keeps your wine from oxidizing by coming into contact with air. Airlocks are simple plastic or glass devices that allow gas from the fermentation process to exit while not allowing air to enter the carboy. There are a few different types of airlocks but all are filled with water (or a solution of sulfite water) to allow bubbles to escape and keep the air out. This is a must-have for any wine producer.
A siphon will always come in handy when making wine. During the process of winemaking, you need to rack or move the wine from one container to another. This takes place when moving from your primary bucket to your secondary carboy and then, later on, you will move from carboy to carboy as your wine ages. Siphons can be as simple as a plastic tube that you fille with juice to get started or there are auto siphons that help get the flow started. We recommend an auto-siphon as they are cheap and do the job well. You’ll use gravity to help your siphon by placing the receiving contains lower than the full contains. A siphon is something you will want from your wine equipment kit.
You’ll want some type of stirring utensil to mix up your must when adding all of the ingredients. Some kits come with a spatula/spoon that will help you with the mixing process. This is not a necessity as you can buy a long spoon at basically any home goods store.
Mesh Straining Bag
A mesh straining bag can come in handy if you start to make wine from real fruit. You can place the fruit in the bag before crushing and leave the bag in the must to ferment. Then you can squeeze the juice out of the bag when it’s time to move to your secondary fermenter. This is not required but helps keep seeds and things from entering your wine.
Some kits include a corking tool. There are several types of these tools but most of the kits include a hand corker because of costs. This tool is invaluable for corking bottles. There is really no way to reliably cork a bottle without a corking tool.
Hydrometer & Test Jar
A hydrometer is used to measure the sure content in a liquid. This is important when making wine because the amount of sugar in your must determines the amount of potential alcohol your finished product will have. It also will affect the sweetness of the wine. You’ll need a hydrometer and the test jar to be able to measure the sugar content of your wine.
A wine thief is not necessary but it makes it easier to take samples of your wine for measuring. It’s a long tube that you stick into your wine and collect the sample then you can put it in your hydrometer jar for testing.
Additives are an important part of the winemaking process. Some kits come with additives while others don’t. You’ll be looking for things such as potassium metabisulfite (Campden tablets), potassium sorbate, pectic enzyme, acid blend, wine tannins, yeast nutrient, and yeast.
We hope this post helps you get started making wine. Whether you choose to make 6 gallons or 1 gallon we’re sure the equipment above will help you to get started. If your kit is missing one of the items be sure to order it separately. Especially if your kit doesn’t include the additives we listed above. You will probably need to order those separately but a few kits do include them. It’s also important to mention that these kits do not come with any juice or concentrate that you will need to make the actual wine. You can find links to those and also wine flavor kits on our site. These kits do not include wine bottles.