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10 Great Gadgets

In this 10th anniversary issue of WineMaker magazine, we present 10 items that will make your home winemaking more enjoyable. From old mechanical standy-bys to new computerized state-of-the-art doo-dads, here’s a list that every gadget junkie will want to ponder. 1. Hand refractometer ($80+) For anyone growing their own vines or evaluating fresh grapes they have purchased, it’s important to know the sugar content of the fruit. A refractometer measures the percentage of sugar in your grapes with just 2 or 3 drops of juice from a single grape. It saves you from having to crush a bunch of grapes to take a hydrometer reading. Simply squeeze the juice of a single grape onto the prism end and close the glass plate. Point the refractometer to a light source and look through the eyepiece. The scale in the prism reads the sugar level from 0 to 32 in ºBrix. You can then convert the reading to specific gravity (SG) and potential alcohol. 2. pH meter ($80+) Every advancing winemaker knows that pH in grapes before, during and after fermentation is