We all know that a home winemaking setup can be as simple as just a few items stored in a kitchen or basement, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to a couple of extras to make your life easier (and impress your fellow home winemakers). We’re always on the lookout for new and improved winemaking equipment, re-vamped favorites, and other gadgets and gear, and here we have collected a list of twelve items that have been released within the last year that we have on our wish list for this year’s harvest and beyond.
Master Vintner® Cannonball® Wine
Keg System: Do as beer brewers do and skip the trouble of bottling your homemade wine — serve it on tap instead. The Master Vintner® Cannonball® Wine Keg System lets you go from finished wine to serving with this 1.75-gallon (6.7-L) mini-keg system. When your wine is normally ready to go into bottles, all you have to do is sanitize the mini keg, rack your wine into it, attach the regulator, purge the gas and adjust the pressure, put on the Wine Snap Tap™, and the wine is ready to serve. The keg’s small size is ideal for small batches, and can fit in a normal-sized refrigerator or on a pantry shelf. The kit includes: 1 Master Vintner® Cannonball® 1.75 gallon Small Batch Mini Keg, Master Vintner® Wine Snap Tap™, mini gas regulator w/ gas ball lock disconnect, 18g nitrogen cartridge.
This new oak alternative is designed to expose both short and long grain wood, which provides new barrel flavors with an extraction time similar to other alternatives like oak cubes. Why a combination of long and short grain wood? A wooden oak barrel only exposes long grain wood to your wine, which is slow to saturate and will add more complexity to the wine. Most oak alternatives, such as chips, staves, and cubes, provide faster saturation and extraction because of exposure to the short “end grain.” WineStix® combines short and long grain exposure, which can create a flavor that is more similar to barrels in a shorter amount of time than barrel aging. Available in a variety of toasts, they are designed for use in a ٥- to ٦-gallon (١٩- to ٢٣-L) carboy. The narrow design allows them to fit through the neck of a traditional carboy, and they attach to a string for removal.
Speidel Variable Volume Jacketed Dish Bottom Tank with Manway and Sight Gauge:
Big batch winemakers will appreciate the features of this variable-capacity 178-gal. (675-L ) tank. Built in Germany by Speidel, this tank boasts a 2R rated interior surface, which resists tartrate buildup, which means you can clean your tank with cold water and no harsh chemicals after cold stabilization and be done. Speidel uses robotic arm laser welders to create their stainless-to-stainless junctions as compared to a traditional weld, which greatly reduces any chance for residual sediment to hang around in the tank that could encourage spoilage organisms. Comes outfitted with conical, pocketed bottoms for total drainage, which maximizes product yield at rackings and makes cleaning easy. The floating lid utilizes a heavy duty rubber gasket, which is thicker than traditional clear vinyl gaskets, and provides a better seal with the tank wall for increased protection of your wine. It is configured for use with Tri-Clamp (TC) style valves and fittings. Available from MoreWine! by special order (pre-paid).
UNI-STAT IIa Temperature Controller:
This digital thermostat controller allows you to control the temperature of a refrigerator or freezer to keep fermentation and storage temperatures in check, and doesn’t require programming. It features a “Duty Cycle,” which provides temperature control for either heating or cooling. The IIa has a three-digit digital readout and a 10 to 200 °F (-12 to 104 °C) range. Includes automatic temperature sensor fault detection with a visual flashing alarm, and automatic system shut off. Also includes a general use sensor probe for applications other than storage, and can be installed in a ¼ thermowell fitting for use in a carboy. You can also add an optional plug-in bottle probe (sold seperately), which is specifically useful for storage applications, where temperature variations need to be controlled over a long-term period to avoid short-cycling your chiller.
Buon Vino Mini Jet New Generation:
This popular filter for batches of 5 gallons (19 L) of wine has been updated with some great new improvements. Buon Vino replaced the original model’s gear pump with a true self-prime pump. The new unit is lighter, quieter, performs at the same pressures and flow rates as the original gear pump model, and can be supplied with a pre-screen filter the same as the earlier model, which prevents any large solids from getting inside the pump and causing damage.
Vinmetrica SC-55 MLF Analyzer Kit:
If you’re still using chromatography paper to test for MLF, consider stepping up your testing regime to include this latest version of Vinmetrica’s popular MLF analyzer. This kit provides accurate and reliable malic acid concentration levels in wine for detecting the end of malolactic fermentation (MLF). Provides readings down to 0.1g/L accuracy. Recently revamped from the SC-50 model, the SC-55 no longer requires an SC-100, SC-100A, or SC-300 instrument for use. This kit contains: Vinmetrica SC-55 MLF Analyzer Unit, Malic Reagent Set, One vial of Biopressure Agent (enough for 5 tests), 5 Empty Reaction Vials with Septa Caps, plastic measuring scoop, “check” vial, 10mL serological pipette, plastic beaker, 15-mL conical tube, two plastic pipettes, and an MLF analyzer manual.
Oak alternatives come in lots of shapes, and now you can add spheres to the list. These solid oak balls are made from high quality French and American oak, and their shape allows for precise dosing and easy removal (1-2 Xoakers per gallon/3.8-L recommended). Can be used in both red and white wines, and are ideal for carboys, barrels, and other small vessels.
MSRP: $44.00 per pound
This new PET carboy from The Vintage Shop has a convenient 4-inch (10 cm) mouth, which makes filling and cleaning much easier than a traditional carboy. These fermenters are made with food-grade material, which is completely taste and odor free. They come with an O-ring and air-tight one piece lid with a hole made for a #10 stopper, and can also fit a solid lid (sold separately) for bulk aging or for drilling your own holes for customizing. There are no ribs or ridges on the side of the vessel, which prevents sediment from adhering to the walls, and they are marked on the outside at the 5-, 6-, (19-, 23-L) levels, and 7-gallons (26-L) for the XL model. Available in both 6-gallon (23-L) and 7-gallon (26-L) models.
MSRP: $24.99 (6-gal./23-L), $29.99 (7-gal./26-L)
OxyWand™ Oxygenation Kit
Give your active fermentations the oxygenation they need with this wand paired with a stainless steel sinter stone. Kit includes the wand and stone, as well as 4 feet (1.2 m) of tubing and all of the hardware needed to connect the wand to a disposable oxygen tank (not included), and a sanitary air filter. You can control the flow of oxygen with the adjustable oxygen regulator. The stone on the OxyWand™ is connected via a 1⁄4-inch flare fitting and can be removed and cleaned after use and then boiled (for sanitizing and removing deposits) before your next batch of wine.
200-L to 500-L Rectangular Large Speidel Fermentation and Storage Tanks
If you’re not ready for a variable-capacity stainless steel tank, or work with a lot of small lots, Speidel has plenty of other vessels to suit your needs, including these HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) tanks in a range of sizes. These tanks all feature oversized top openings, which make them easy to clean, as well as a spigots, which eliminates the need to siphon. The thick plastic walls — thicker than some other plastic carboys — will not shatter when dropped, even if the tank is full. They are highly impermeable to oxygen, which allows you to store wine in any of these vessels for as long as 12 months. And their shape makes them easy to store. Available from MoreWine!
Bevbright Filter Cartridges
BevBright has released a series of filter cartridges for their popular water filtering canister units that can be used for wine, of which previously only water filters with nominal ratings were available. Available in 1, 3, and 5 micron ratings, as well as .45 micron for filteration that is close to sterile. These spun-polypropylene filters are disposable (can’t be cleaned for reuse), and can be used to filter between 10 and 15 gallons (38 to 57 L) of wine depending on the clarity of the wine you intend to filter.
Cider House Select® Ingredient and Equipment Kits
Brewer’s Best® have released beginner’s kits for anyone looking to give cidermaking a try. Each box includes a 6-gallon (23-L) cider kit with your choice of multiple flavors. The beginner’s kits also come with a 7.9-gallon (30-L) bucket fermenter with lid, an airlock, liquid crystal thermometer, triple scale hydrometer, a 24-inch plastic spoon, 5 feet (1.5 m) of siphon hose (with shut off clamp), auto siphon, bottle filler, Red Baron hand capper, crown caps, Brewer’s Best® Carbonation Drops, plus a beer bottle brush, cleanser, and no-rinse sanitizer.