oak chips

Newbie Winemaker Gifts

Do you have a newbie winemaker in your life you need to get a gift for?

Maybe you are the newbie winemaker, and you need to know what to ask for this holiday season!

Either way, we have prepared a basic gift buying guide for you, to simplify the just-getting-started-winemaking process!

1. CARBOYS. The average home winemaker will never complain about having too many carboys – it just means more vessels to make wine in! You can get them in 3, 5, or 6 gallon formats. It’s always a good idea to get one of each to help accommodate varying volumes.

2. DEMIJOHNS. A more traditional vessel to make wine in, these can hold more volume AND not to mention it, but they are pretty cool looking. You can get them with or without a spigot at the bottom.

3. REFRACTOMETER. These devices are used to check the amount of sugar in grapes, and are indispensable to the serious home winemaker who is also starting to grow their own grapes as well – it helps to tell them when they should harvest!

4. OAK CHIPS. As a great way to play around with flavor, oak chips help the newbie winemaker to get a feel for what oak does to a wine as it ages without the investment in, and care for a full sized barrel. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to proper barrel maintenance, so adding oak chips is a perfect way to get the color and flavor dynamics of working with oak.

5. SIPHON. If your newbie winemaker wants to move beyond using a funnel or mouth siphoning to transfer their wine, an autosiphon will help to elevate them to the next level. It’s going to make their life a lot less messy and will take up less of their time to move their wine from vessel to vessel.

6. GIFT CERTIFICATE. Last but not, least! Purchase a gift certificate and your winemaker can put it towards anything they want. Classes, equipment, grapes, juices, you name it!


Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help! We are New England’s largest supplier for home winemaking products and services. You can get set up with all of your juice, grape and equipment needs and have you on track to making your own perfect pairing for next fall! Visit juicegrape.com or give us a call at (877) 812 – 1137 to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 21 – Do I need a barrel to make wine? Can I just use tanks/glass?

Collection of wine, rum, beer classical wooden barrels

What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! 🙂

Do I need a barrel to make wine? Can I just use tanks/glass?

american oak chips

Most aspiring winemakers hold romantic visions of putting their wine in a barrel, tasting it periodically with loved ones, waiting until the magical moment it tastes perfect, and is ready to bottle. While there are benefits of barrel aging wines, it is not required to create a dry wine with oak flavors. Juice may be fermented in barrels, tanks, carboys, or pails. While the oak will add certain flavor characteristics and “sacrificial tannins” to the wine during fermentation, the winemaker can add oak dust, chips, or staves to create a similar effect. Furthermore, during the aging process, oak chips, spirals, staves, balls, cubes, etc. can be added to the wine to give it a pleasant oaked flavor. This is ideal for the home winemaker as it is more cost effective and often requires less time than traditional barrel aging. When wine is aged in a barrel, some of the wine evaporates out of the barrel, often referred to as the “angel’s share”. This results in a more concentrated, creamy mouthfeel as well as an oaked flavor. The wine within the barrel must be maintained as the evaporation will cause an air gap in the barrel (headspace), which can promote oxidation.  Spare wine must be kept in a separate container to be used to top off the barrel to minimize this headspace. In summary, barrel can add a beautiful finesse and flavor to your homemade wine, but are not crucial to home winemaking success.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

Oak Additions Video Up on Youtube!

Hello Winemakers!

We are excited to release our newest video. In the video Winemaker Frank Renaldi goes over all the different Oak opportunities available to winemakers.