Some Useful Devices for Winemaking

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Feb 7, 2017
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In making wine, after fermentation, one typically stirs the wine to remove dissolved CO2. This is known as sparging. I find that a sterilized paint stirrer works quite well for this in an open container such as a plastic 1 – 5 gallon fermenter. However, this does not work when sparging wine when it is in a 1-gallon or 5-gallon glass jug. I was able to make a great stirrer from some spare parts that I had available. Basically, I took a stainless steel rod and drilled a small hole at one end for a threaded stainless steel bolt. I then found a small plastic box from which I cut two roughly ¾” x ¾” pieces. I drill a hole in each of them about 1/4” from one end and attached them to the rod with the stainless steel bolt and used two nuts and a lock washer to hold the pieces in place but loose enough that they could move freely. When attached to a hand drill, the plastic pieces will move out when spun from the hand drill, vigorously stirring the wine.

The rod was about 15” long with a tape maker at 9” to indicate how far it could be inserted into the 1-gallon glass jug without hitting the bottom. You don’t want to hit the sidewalls or bottom of the wine container to avoid breaking the plastic pieces. The plastic box that I used has a thickness of ~1/16”, but thicker pieces should work just as well. Instead of stainless steel, one can guy aluminum or brass parts at a general hardware store to make such a stirrer. This stirrer is simple but works quite well. Here is a picture of the stirrer:

Here’s another picture showing the homemade stirrer, paint stirrer, and the small battery-powered Bocha stirrer that I used for dispersing wine energizer or GoFerm into a small amount of must before adding to the fermenter. (The Bocha stirrer is available from eBay.) The small digital scale shown is handy for adding powdered KHSO3 (i.e., bisulfite) to the wine after fermenting and just before bottling. Using powdered bisulfate is much easier than using a Campden tablet which must be crushed before use. I find that the use of powdered bisulfite works much better, quicker, and is cheaper than Campden tablets. One Campden table weighs about 0.65 g, which is readily weighed using the small digital balance. The digital balance has a capacity of 200 g with an accuracy of 0.01 g. I bought the digital balance on eBay. Here is a link to the one shown here. It is currently available for $10 postpaid:

I also bought some calibration weights along with it to check the accuracy and found that the unit was very accurate and didn’t require any recalibration. (A digital balance with a capacity of 10 lb. makes weighing sugar for wines very handy too. Again, many different kinds are available on eBay.) The small digital thermometer shown was purchased at Target but there are many similar ones available on eBay.