Wine Making Overview

Winemaking can be divided into four major steps. First, grapes are harvested in optimum

condition. Second, the grapes are fermented. In the third step, the new wine is clarified and stabilized.

In the last step, the wine is aged to enhance its sensory qualities. Each of the four steps contributes to

the quality of the finished wine. However, basic wine quality is determined in the first step.


Facilities:

Small quantities of wine can be made in the kitchen or on a bench in the garage, and little special equipment is needed. However, a larger workspace and access to some winemaking equipment will be necessary when fifty gallons of wine are made each year.

 

Winemaking requires several general types of workspace, and each type has different requirements. A crush area is needed to receive and process the grapes, and a cellar area where the wines are fermented, aged and bottled is necessary. In addition, some general storage space is also needed to store winemaking equipment and supplies.


Equipment:

Basic crush equipment consists of a crusher and a press. The key pieces of cellar equipment are wine

storage containers, pumps, and filters, bottling equipment and test equipment.


 

 

 

    

Containers:

Home made wines are usually produced in five, fifteen, thirty, fifty, sixty or 160 gallon quantities. Some of these quantities may seem a bit strange but containers having these specific capacities are readily available.

 

Home wine makers often use gallon jugs, 5-gallon and 6.5-gallon carboys made of glass. Five-gallon water bottles are readily available, and these are the bulk wine containers most often used by beginning home wine makers.


Bottles:

Glass bottles are packed in standard cardboard cartons, and the glass is clean and sterile when it leaves the factory. Glass bottles are heavy, so shipping costs are high.  This is why the home winemaker seldom has access to new glass.

 

The average home winemaker must wash his own bottles.


Bottle Filler

Filling wine bottles with a piece of hose is easy. The hose is inserted into the wine container, and the wine is siphoned into the bottles. However, reducing wine oxidation is always desirable, so the use of a vacuum bottle filler is prefered.

 

The Filler creates a vacuum that sucks the wine directly from your fermenter, storage tank, or barrel. No need to start a siphon or to have to pump or move your wine above your filling machine.   While the filler is in operation wine is not allowed back into the storage tank or barrel due to a one-way valve located in the fill head.


Corking:

Hand corking machines are made in a variety of styles, and prices range from a couple of dollars to several hundred dollars. An effective corking machine must be able to compressthe cork first, and then the cork must be driven into the bottle.

 

A good hand corker can drive dry corks without excessive effort.