Winemaking Equipment Guide: Hydrometer, Fermentation Carboys & Bottle Corkers

Wine Making EquipmentWhether you are just starting to get involved in home winemaking or you have been making wine at home for some time, it’s a good idea to have a good understanding of the different types of homemade wine equipment, how they function, and whether or not a particular piece of equipment is needed in your home.
Of course, there are many more pieces of homemade wine equipment than can be described in one short post, however, below are just a few of the must-have pieces of homemade wine equipment that if you don’t have in your collection already, you certainly should purchase it soon!

The Wine Hydrometer:
The purpose of the wine hydrometer is to monitor the progress of wine from the must stage through the fermentation process.  The hydrometer measures specific gravity of a fluid by floating in the liquid at a certain height which can be read using the demarcations on the device.  There are many types of wine hydrometers, the most common of which can measure specific gravity, sugar, and potential alcohol.  This is a must-have device for your homemade wine equipment stash.

Fermentation Carboys:
Fermentation carboys come in a wide range of sizes, and are typically made of either plastic or glass.  Carboys are primarily used for secondary fermentation, which is the slower fermentation step that functions to convert the remaining sugar left by the wine yeasts after primary fermentation into alcohol and carbon dioxide.  Secondary fermentation is also known as anaerobic fermentation, since the vessel is closed off to air.  The fermentation carboy must be closed with a rubber stopper and a fermentation lock in order to keep air and bacteria out of the fermenting wine.

Wine Bottle Corkers:
Once you’ve made your homemade wine, you’ll want to bottle it so you can either age the wine for some time, or pass it along to friends and family as gifts.  One piece of homemade wine equipment that will save you a lot of time and physical distress is the wine bottle corker.  This piece of homemade wine equipment comes in a variety of styles and sizes from smaller bench-top corkers to larger floor corkers.  If you have a relatively small inventory or are limited in space, a bench-top corker would be a good fit for you.  Alternatively, if you’re starting to produce larger quantities of wine and have a little more work space, a floor corker would be a better fit.

There are so many more pieces of homemade wine equipment that would help you in making your homemade wine experience more efficient and enjoyable than can be discussed in one simple post. Another blog post that goes through more of this equipment is “What’s In A Homemade Wine Kit?” You might want to take a look at it, but also stay tuned for more homemade wine equipment descriptions in the future!
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.