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Equipment

Demi john

The fundamental winemaking equipment can often be found from the most unlikely sources. Examining the list of essential equipment, it can be seen that many of them are instantly available in the home.

Most houses, even student digs, can usually boast such things as a kettle, a bucket, a large saucepan and a measuring jug, and every student house I have ever visited owned a collection of empty wine bottles. If your home does not boast even these, try and convince your housemates that they should pay for such useful items.

Beyond this things get a bit more tricky. A length of stolen hosepipe almost makes an adequate siphon tube, a milk carton could possibly be used for measuring. Use your initiative.

The other option is to try family and friends. Every family can boast an ex winemaker. These people usually take the form of Dads, Uncles or Grandfathers. Such people can become a never-ending source of demijohns, airlocks and the like. Another good place to ask is the lecturers in your department. They were students once.... The golden rule is to ask everyone.

After this one has to grit one's teeth and go visit the shops to complete your store of vital bits and bobs.

Essential Items

Here follows a couple of lists of things that it would be simpler to grit your teeth and buy. Re-usable items can be kept as long as you keep reasonable care of them, disposable items are essentially one use.

Reusable Items

Demijohns Popup piccie
These are standard 1 gallon glass jars. As many as you can lay your hands on.
Airlocks Popup piccie
Simple plastic bubblers. One for each demijohn, plus a bored bung to go with them.
Siphon Tube Popup piccie
Thin plastic tube. Ridiculously cheap. About six foot.
Sieve Popup piccie
Or mesh bag, the finer the better.
Hydrometer Popup piccie
Just too damn useful to be a luxury. See sugar
Bucket Popup piccie
Bigger the better. As with everything in winemaking, avoid metal.
Kettle Popup piccie
Thing what boils water.
Wine Bottles Popup piccie
Can't have too many.
Corks Popup piccie
Plastic or cork. If you chose cork, get a corking machine.

Kettles and hydrometers are a touch pricey but the rest is pretty cheap, if not free with a bit of scrounging and begging.

Disposable Items

Shops of the winemaking persuasion sell a vast array of exciting chemicals that you can add to wine. Such pots of powder can also sit on your shelf and look dead impressive, saying things like 'pectolytic enzyme'.
The following is not the bear minimum you require, but I would recommend using all of them.

Campden Tablets Popup piccie
Small, white and impossible to dissolve.
Yeast Zapper Popup piccie
Known in the trade as wine stabilizing compound.
Wine Finings Popup piccie
Vital for speedy clearing.
Citric Acid
White crystals, avalible in lemon and orange flavours. See acid.
Tannin
Liquid, powder or tablets. Tablets are better because they fizz dramatically when dissolving.
Pectic Enzyme
Prevents pectin haze. Boring white powder or curious brown liquid.
Wine Yeast Popup piccie
So essential it has its own section.
Sugar Popup piccie
As essential as yeast.About a kilo per gallon.

This lot should not set you back more than a few quid.


See also : Beginner's Guide
  : Method
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