Winemaking has become a popular hobby for both wine professionals (like a sommelier) and enthusiasts alike-it's handy even if you don't want to learn how to open a winery. Much of this interest is a result of the numerous wine movies made in recent years. They have raised awareness of wineries and the winemaking process.
If you're interested in making your own wine, you'll want to learn about some of the best winemaking kits and supplies. Read on for a list of everything you need to get started.
The History of Winemaking
The history of winemaking originated around the year 6000 B.C. It became popular in Ancient Greece, Egypt, and the Roman Empire. Traditionally, vintners have crafted wines and selected grapes from their vineyards. They practiced the best techniques to ferment and age them to perfection.
Over time, the best winemaking kits and supplies have become available to wine lovers from all over the world. It allows everyone to participate in the process of winemaking.
Wine Kit Contents
Before purchasing a wine kit, think about what type of wine you like to drink. Is there a variety of grapes that you would prefer to use? Also, consider the amount of money you're willing to dish out and the timeline for producing your wine. Do some research on wine storage and decide if you need a wine rack or wine cooler.
When you purchase a wine kit, you should be sure that you have everything you need to get started. Your kit includes the same items that commercial wineries use to produce the wine sold at your local wine and spirits store.
Here’s a list of items included with wine kits:
Wine juice. It's a large bag with varietal grape juice and concentrate (specific to the style of wine you choose).
Yeast helps ferment fresh grapes into delicious wine.
Bentonite helps yeast activity and removes proteins.
Potassium Metabisulphite prevents oxidation and improves the wine’s shelf life.
Potassium Sorbate is an anti-microbial agent to prevent refermentation.
Fining agents, such as Kieselsol and Chitosan, remove proteins to clear and stabilize the wine.
It may also include (depending on the wine style) oak chips, elderberries, and Sweet Reserve (for sweet wines).
Best Home Wine Making Kits
You've decided that you want to make wine at home. Now, you must decide on a home winemaking kit. There are hundreds of options available on the market, so consider which one suits you best. To make your life a bit easier, we've put together a list of a few of our favorites.
Here's a list of five home wine kits we recommend:
1. North Mountain Supply Wine Making Kit
This is probably the largest and most comprehensive wine kit available on the market right now.
A detailed instructional manual comes with this kit, along with plenty of equipment, additives, and the Winemaker's Recipe Handbook (with over 100 recipes). You can make three gallons with this kit.
2. Fontana Wine Home Brewing Wine Kit
Includes the essential ingredients for home brewing that come from California vineyards. It also comes with stickers for making your own wine bottle labels, but you must purchase equipment separately.
3. Home Brew Ohio Deluxe Wine Making Kit
This winemaking kit comes with an instructional CD, an auto-siphon pump, and equipment with excellent overall quality.
It can prepare up to six gallons of wine.
4. Wild Grapes Premium DIY Wine Making Kit
This kit is affordable and provides good value for money. It includes directions and makes up to six gallons, with the possibility to have wine ready in one month. That's plenty of wine to keep your home wine cellar stocked for a while. You might want to look into purchasing a wine cellar app to help manage your growing inventory.
5. Winemakers Depot Glass Wine Making Kit
This kit includes high-quality materials, such as a glass carboy, fermenters, and thermometers. It also contains a large, pre-drilled bucket and can produce three gallons of wine.
Homemade Wine Making Supplies
In general, a wine kit includes the consumables needed to make the wine, but some don't include winemaking supplies. Visit your local winemaking retailer to purchase any supplies that aren't included with your wine kit. Once you purchase your equipment, you’ll be able to make many wine kits without any additional costs.
Here's a list of winemaking supplies and accessories you'll need:
Equipment and Supplies
A primary fermenter has an open top for stirring grapes and crushing their skins.
A carboy, available in plastic or glass, is an air-tight vessel that necks down at the top. It creates a favorable surface area to volume ratio for wine maturation. After fermentation, it's necessary to maintain an air-tight environment to prevent the wine from oxidizing.
A bung and airlock are necessary to seal the carboy. When filled with water, an airlock prevents air from getting into the carboy but allows oxygen to escape as the wine finishes.
A racking cane and transfer tube connect wine between buckets and carboys. The bottom of a racking cane, available in plastic or stainless steel, should feature an upside-down cup. This allows wine to flow without disturbing the sediment at the bottom of the vessel.
Some kits include an auto-siphon for moving your wine from the carboy to your bottles. Otherwise, you'll have to purchase one.
Oak powder or chips usually come with red wine kits. Winemakers have traditionally used oak barrels for aging the wine. However, makers of small batches typically use oak alternatives. Chips, cubes, spirals, and staves are the usual options.
It's good to have measuring cups and a long food-grade plastic spoon to help you with the process. A hydrometer is a useful tool that measures the density of the liquid during the winemaking process.
A bottle filler uses a valve to control the flow at the end of your siphon. Some bottle fillers use a spring to open and close the valve, but many winemakers prefer ones without the spring. Using a bottle filler without a spring frees up one of your hands for other tasks.
Corks are available in many lengths, diameters, and compositions, but a #9 cork will fit most bottles.
You’ll need a corker for inserting them into your bottles. Choose between a hand corker or a floor or bench top corker.
Cleanliness is vital in winemaking, so it's good to use a sanitizer that’s wine-friendly and doesn’t contain bleach.
Best Wine Making Kits for Beginners
A wine kit is a great way to get started in winemaking, especially for beginners. If you're purchasing your first wine kit, the key is to find something simple. It helps you learn the winemaking process before possibly buying a more complex winemaking kit.
Here are three wine kits we recommend for beginners:
1-Master Vintner Wine Making Starter Kit
This wine kit comes with an instructional CD and high-quality materials. The first batch of wine can be ready in 28 days. It’s compatible with any Wine Ingredient Recipe Kit but doesn’t include a recipe kit.
2-Craft a Brew Home Wine Making Kit
This wine kit includes easy directions, making it ideal for beginners. It requires minimal time to produce up to one gallon of wine.
3-Midwest Homebrewing and Wine Making Starter Kit
This starter kit is a great choice for beginners. It's lightweight, easy to use, and makes up to 23-30 bottles of wine. It also includes a double-level corker and "better bottle."
Perfecting Your Homemade Wine
Whether you're searching for the perfect gift for the wine enthusiast in your life, or want to give winemaking a try yourself, there's a good wine kit and supplies that match your needs. Just conduct some research to be sure that you're purchasing the proper kit and supplies for your interests. When you have the right kit and supplies with knowledge for using them, all you have left to worry about is perfecting your homemade wine.