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Old 09-23-2011, 01:39 AM   #1
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Default What extra stuff do you need for wine compared to beer?

I brew beer. I've been thinking of making some basic red table wine (I'm not fancy with wine.

Can I just make a small batch of wine using only my beer equipment, or what else do I need? Can you bottle wine in beer bottles just like beer?

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Old 09-23-2011, 02:39 AM   #2
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I don't think it's that different, unless you're doing something with the raw ingredients (crushing grapes for example vs a grain mash). Are you looking at a kit, or raw ingredients?
Kits tend to be designed for 6 gallon containers, so if your carboy and bucket can hold that, you'd be fine.

If you're using grapes, you may need some different equipment. Including the possibility of campden tablets.

Otherwise, primary bucket, secondary carboy, racking cane & hose. Same as with beer.

I haven't had a problem with wine in beer bottles, other than if you're a stickler for presentation. There could be an acid reaction with the lining of the cap in the long term, but you'll have to find someone who tried to keep it that long in one. I used beer bottles because I liked the smaller serving size. I didn't have to bother with oxidation when I only wanted one glass.

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Old 09-23-2011, 11:20 AM   #3
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.... I used beer bottles because I liked the smaller serving size. I didn't have to bother with oxidation when I only wanted one glass.
Hmmm, never had that problem! Guess I'd just have to open 2.

Anyhow, you will still need campden to sterilize everything that touches the must, or at least the same sterilization that you would do for beer, and as an anti-oxidant at bottling time.
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:51 AM   #4
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I'm not trying to get fancy, so I would be making the wine from concentrate. I have heard of people making wine from commercially-bought grape juice, but I don't know if they are doing it to be cheap or if the result is actually decent.

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Old 09-23-2011, 03:35 PM   #5
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I would say you might need: yeast nutrient, campden tablets, acid blend, and wine yeast (all inexpensive, easily available). I bottle my wine in 22 oz bombers with crown caps and it seems to work well enough. You may need extra carboys for extended bulk storage of each batch.

I made the Welch's niagara from concentrate last summer and liked it for what it was, but the acid additions in most recipes seem too much for me. A strainer bag plus all the above and you can make fruit wines from fresh or frozen fruit such as blackberries.

If you want to go for it and get some wine grapes you will need a larger fermenter (for red wine fermented on skins) and start thinking about a press. DIY Fruit press kits are available on eBay and 20 gallon grey (foodsafe) garbage cans for fermenting available from Hardware store. Then start thinking about a van for road trip to California for well-priced grapes at harvest time....

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Old 09-23-2011, 03:44 PM   #6
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I'm not trying to get fancy, so I would be making the wine from concentrate. I have heard of people making wine from commercially-bought grape juice, but I don't know if they are doing it to be cheap or if the result is actually decent.
Commercially available kits can make good wine, but you get what you pay for. Some kits are (e-bay) $40 and others are (specialty shops) $240. Guess which one makes better wine?

The better ones I have used are around $100 - $130 or so...not bad for 30 bottles of wine, and they come with all of the chemicals and yeast that are needed. With care and patience, the hundred dollar kits will make very good wine that will be as close to store bought wine as any normal person can tell.
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:34 PM   #7
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Patience.

Get a separate bucket and/or carboy so you don't rush it because you want to make another batch of beer.
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:11 AM   #8
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Its all the same equipment for brewing beer or wine except you'll need a corker if you use wine bottles. I started with wine and then made beer. I only needed to buy a stainless pot and bottle capper to do beer. I suggest starting out with a kit for your first few batches till you get a feel for it. They turn out really well and come with everything you need but bottles and corks. Then experiment from there.

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Old 09-24-2011, 12:47 PM   #9
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Hmmm, never had that problem! Guess I'd just have to open 2.
True. At the very least, if you don't have a corker, then yes, beer bottles are possible (again, don't know longterm results with the closure material and acidity), and you do have more bottles to deal with as well. This is why after the first batch I was actually using champagne bottles for both my beer and my wine too. Got tired of filling the beer bottles.

I don't drink much, so quite often, I'd have half a bottle of wine sitting around in the fridge for up to a week. I usually noticed that and just cooked with it.

Both the number of bottles, and the problems (I have) with both sizes is why I'm looking at kegging the wine instead. I could always bottle later on a bottle by bottle basis, probably when I want to give some away.
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Waiting to be kegged, Italian Primitivo
Kegged&Ready: GF Orange&Coriander, GF Honey Lager, GF chocolate ale, GF English ale, Island mist (zinfandel), Island mist (cbry malbec).
Bottled: Infected Mead, Dry Hard ciders, Accidental Sorghumwine, various unnamed.

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Old 09-24-2011, 06:15 PM   #10
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It depends on how much wine you want to make, really. For primary fermentation, regardless of your batch size, any food-grade bucket/container will work.

I think the most important purchase you could make is a secondary carboy. I don't know what you use for your beer, but if you plan on doing small batches of wine (1-2 gallons), it would be a bad idea to put that much must into a 5 gallon Better Bottle. It's not too hard to find glass jugs in the 1 gallon range.

As far as chemical additives go, it would be a good idea to get some potassium sorbate as well. Potassium sorbate + campden will ensure the yeasts do not restart fermentation if you decide to backsweeten your wine.

Just my $.02.

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