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Basic Wine Making Equipment

In my searching, I found several sites with recommended equipment lists, but one had what sounded the best to me.  

MoreWine basic equipment kits

PRIMARY FERMENTER: A food-grade plastic bucket shaped container with a cover.   for kits at least 6 gallon.  For fresh grapes at least 20 gallon.  The 6 to 8 gallon ones often come (or avaialable with) a spigot for bottling.  Always get a lid with a hole for an airlock.

Pailpail with spigot

CARBOY:  A bottle-shaped container made of glass or food-grade plastic. Glass is much heavier then plastic, and a lot more fragile (have broken a couple bumping into each other), but is a lot easier to clean, and does not scratch as easily as plastic.


AIRLOCK AND DRILLED STOPPER:  A valve that seals the carboy at the neck. It prevents oxygen and spoilage organisms from entering while allowing fermentation gases to escape. The airlock must be half-filled with water and attached to the carboy whenever there is wine in it.  Two styles are available a 3 piece and an S shapped.  I find the 3 piece easier to keep clean.

3 piece airlocks airlock

SIPHON HOSE AND SIPHON ROD:  5-6 ft. of food-grade tubing attached to a rigid acrylic rod. Used for transferring wine from one container to another, while leaving the sediment behind.

SPOON or PADDLE:  Food-grade plastic long enough to reach the bottom of your fermenting bucket.  Alternatively a lees stirrer works that can be attached to a drill.

SpoonLees stirrer

CORKER or CAPPER:  Some device that will enable you to seal the wine in the bottle to protect it from oxygen.


HYDROMETER AND TEST JAR (VINOMETER):  A hydrometer measures specific gravity (S.G.) and is very useful for monitoring the progress of fermentation. You should take a hydrometer reading at each step and record the S.G. The easiest way to perform this test is to pour some wine into the test jar, then place the hydrometer in the jar.   If may also be calibrated in Brix


FLOATING THERMOMETER:  Helps you to maintain the proper temperature of your must during fermentation.


WINE THIEF:  Used for removing samples from the carboy in order to test specific gravity (S.G.) and carry out other winemaking procedures. Lower wine thief into carboy and allow it to fill. Place finger over open top and remove.

wine thief

MEASURING CUP:  A 500 ml (2 cup) measuring cup is useful for mixing and measuring.  Actually bought a 1000 ml (4 cup) measuring cup and then a second one works well for sanitizing using metabisulfate.

BOTTLE WASHER and ADAPTER:  The adapter attaches to your kitchen sink and the bottle washer attaches to the adapter. When you put your bottle over the washer, it shoots water into the bottle to wash out any remaining cleaning residue.

bottle washer

BOTTLE RINSER:  Used spray a sanitizeer in to your bottles.


BOTTLE DRAINER:  Used to drain your bottles after you have cleaned and/or sanitized them.


There were several items on the list that many recommend, but I have not found very useful.  I mention them for reference only.

BOTTLE FILLER: A glass rod with a valve at the bottom that attaches to your tubing. When the valve touches the bottom of the bottle, the wine is released into the bottle.  I actually never used this and have since gone on to other methods.

CARBOY BRUSH:  Long handled brush used to clean the inside of your carboys. Actually very difficult to use, especially with large carboys.

CARBOY HANDLE :  Handle that attaches to your carboy to reduce the risk of dropping it.  I actual have never used this, as it was not very easy to use. Never could figure out how to make this work.  Tried it a couple of times and put it away.

AUTO-SIPHON:  Used for transferring wine from one container to another while leaving the sediment behind. This replaces the siphon rod and eliminated the need for creating a suction as the Auto-Siphon creates the suction for you.  As with the bottle filler have gone to other methods.

There are additional items from the above list, plus others I felt would be useful are:

Gallon jug: This glass container will be used exclusively to prepare the sanitizing solution to clean your equipment. Actually have several.

Small measuring cup (1- or 2-cup capacity): The small cup will render very accurate readings for the smaller volume ingredients you will be measuring. You'll also need some measuring spoons.

Measuring spoons – various sizes

Scale -1000 gram

pH Meter

Thermometer - room

8 inch Nylon Filter Funnel with strainer

Small Multi-fit Carboy Stopper, Drilled Used with airlock and inserted into top of carboy to keep oxygen out of wine.

Additional Carboys Glass – 5 & 6 gallon Secondary fermentation and bulk aging.  When it is time to rack, you need an additional carboy to rack into.

Additional Multi fit stoppers – with and without holes.  I tend to switch to the ones without holes when I go to aging.

Additional Airlock – at least one more than the number of stoppers and lids with holes.

So where do you find this equipment, why at your local wine supply store, or on line.

Some starter kits can be found here:

MoreWine basic equipment kits

Adventures in Home Brewing - wine making equipment kit (glass)

Adventures in Home Brewing - wine making equipment kit (plastic)

Northern Brewers - wine making equipment kit


MIke Albrecht, P.E.

Or my excursion into winemaking

Some starter kits can be found here:

MoreWine equipment kits

Adventures in Home Brewing - wine making equipment kit (glass)

Adventures in Home Brewing - wine making equipment kit (plastic)

Northern Brewers - wine making equipment kit

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