El Dorado Home Wine Making Website - Home Wine Making Information and Wine Recipes

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Wineries of El Dorado County

Wine Making Equipment

There are many kinds of grapes to choose from, depending on where you live. Vitis vinifera is the classic choice for flavor, varietal character and historic authenticity. This famous European wine-grape family includes such renowned varieties as Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. In the United States, to make a sweeping generalization, v. vinifera grapes thrive in California and the Pacific Northwest. They also grow well in microclimates scattered from New York to the Great Lakes, the Mid-Atlantic states and beyond.

Those who live in colder, wetter climates may not be able to find v. vinifera grapes grown locally. Don't be discouraged. Fine hybrids and Vitis labrusca grapes, which are less susceptible to cold and disease, may be growing near your home. Other options include ordering grapes through your favorite local winemaking shop or from a produce wholesaler.

Basic Winemaking Equipment

Here's everything you need to make your first one-gallon batch of wine from fresh grapes. You should be able to find this equipment at any homebrewing or home winemaking supply shop.

  • Large nylon straining bag
  • Food-grade pail with lid (2 to 4 gallons)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Hydrometer
  • Thermometer
  • Acid titration kit
  • Clear, flexible half-inch diameter plastic tubing
  • Two one-gallon glass jugs
  • Fermentation lock and bung
  • Five 750-ml wine bottles
  • Corks
  • Hand corker