Wine kits are by far the least expensive way to get into wine making. It requires the least amount of equipment and makes the smallest amount of wine. Let’s take a look at what determines the cost to make wine for the first time.
The Equipment I Purchased
To get started I picked up the Vintner’s Reserve Shiraz wine kit. This included the grape juice concentrate and nearly all of the additives required to make the wine. However, wine kits do not include any equipment.
With that in mind I picked up this wine making equipment kit from Midwest Supplies. This kit included the following:
- Primary Fermenter
- Glass Carboy (6.5 gallon)
- Bottle Brush
- Carboy plug
While this got me most of the way as far as equipment was concerned I also purchased the following items:
- Carboy Brush
- Wine Thief
- Hydrometer Test Jar
- Self Adhesive Thermometer
- Titratable Acid Test Kit (optional)
- pH Test Strips (optional)
With this equipment I was able to progress as far as completing fermentation. However I did find that I was missing a few key pieces of equipment for degassing the wine as well as having enough additives to age the wine longer than six months.
Thus I also purchased
I’ll get to the cost here in a minute. The point of laying out my equipment purchases in this way was to show you that these equipment kits don’t necessarily come with everything you need. Neither do the wine kit instructions spell out everything you’re likely to need.
When I was making my initial purchase of the wine and equipment kit I believed I had nearly everything I needed. Even then I’d already picked up several things that weren’t in the equipment kit. As you saw above though, I wasn’t prepared for all of the wine making steps.
One thing you may have noticed that’s missing from this list of equipment are the bottles. I used bottles I’d saved from wine I had consumed. Also, I got in touch with a local winery who offered to save me their empty tasting room bottles.
I encourage you to collect bottles any way you can. They tend to be quite expensive to purchase due to the shipping costs. Local supply shops also pay that shipping before selling to you so there’s really no good deals on bottles. The only hitch with used bottles is removing the wine labels.
So let’s get to it! Here’s the complete list of equipment I purchased and what I paid for it.
The price per bottle is the sum of all equipment I purchased divided by the number of bottles yielded, 30. In all honesty I wound up with 29.5 bottles but I could have had 30 had I been more careful with the racking cane.
Now that I own this equipment the cost per bottle of the next batch will come down significantly. This is because the cost of equipment can be spread out over the two batches instead of just the one.
Much of this equipment will need to be replaced overtime. Most notably the primary fermenter and the brushes. Brushes wear out as you can imagine.
Fermenters should be replaced after about five or six uses. Each time they’re used the plastic on the inside gets a little beat up from stirring and cleaning. After five or six uses the fermenter can start to add a chemical funk to the wine. I’ve not verified this, however, I’ve heard this from more experienced winemakers than myself.
There you have it! A complete list of equipment required and an idea of what you will have to spend on it. Bear in mind that these prices were specific to the exact equipment I purchased when I purchased it. This at least gives you an idea of what you could spend.
Where I Purchase Equipment
The majority of my equipment I ordered online from Midwest Supplies. The rest came from the following local supply shops just to give them a shout out:
- Beer at Home (Westminster Colorado)
- Bald Brewer (Longmont Colorado)
- Do Your Brew (Westminster Colorado)
For more information check out this video on kit winemaking equipment.
The equipment links above and the link to Midwest Supplies are affiliate links. By using them you will be helping to support Winemaker’s Academy. Thank you in advance should you decide to use them.