Many wine lovers are fond of shopping for their beloved bottle of wine. While this has never been a bad idea, you should be aware that you can make the wine yourself.
You even stand the chance to learn more and make it just the way you want. This can also be a good way to pass the quality time spent indoors considering the lockdowns in many parts of the country and the world at large.
In short, wine-making right within your personal space is more fun than you can imagine. And just so you know, nothing stops you from going commercial if you feel you are up to the task.
But first, you need to understand certain things about the entire process. One of such is the vessels that could be used for fermenting. You should know that there are many options that you could make use of.
All of them have their advantages as well as disadvantages. Having an idea of the advantages and disadvantages will help you make the right decision on the vessel you should use. This is exactly what we will do in this article as we discuss the possibility of using food-grade plastic buckets.
We are certain paying rapt attention to the information shared here will help you make informed decisions. But before we move on to the next part of this article, you should also know these vessels can equally be used to make beer and several other things that require fermentation.
Using Food-Grade Plastic Buckets for Fermenting Wine
Many of us had the preconceived notion that wines can only be fermented in barrels. This is especially a result of the wine-centered movies that we watched at some point. Well, barrels are very much used in the process.
However, this is usually for large-scale operations. You may not need to go this route if you are making yours simply for the love of wine rather than for commercial purposes. So, some of the other options you can consider include the following:
- Plastic Bucket
- Cornelius Keg
Now that you know this, we are going to be more particular about using plastic buckets for this process.
They usually are made of plastic as the name suggests. However, this is not just any kind. This is the sort that is food-grade. What this means is that it must meet certain requirements that make it safe for use when cooking and doing things such as fermenting.
Certain synthetic things are avoided in making these kinds. Dyes cannot be used for instance. Also, some of the harmful additives and products used in making plastics that can be recycled are avoided.
To make sure of this, there are several inspections that these plastics go through. Some of them include radiographic testing, acoustic inspection, ultrasonic inspection, and raw material inspection. To find out more about the requirements, you can check here.
This vessel usually comes with a large-size cover. The cover is supposed to have a small hole drilled into it by the manufacturer. However, you can still make use of options that do not have this. This is because you can have the hole drilled yourself.
The hole should have an airlock which is very important for the fermentation process. This also plays a huge role in low-pressure fermentation and the transfer of the content into a secondary fermenting vessel (if necessary).
As with every other option (just as you would see subsequently), the use of plastic buckets presents some advantages and disadvantages. We will take a look at some of them below.
Advantages of Using Food Grade Plastic Buckets for Wine Making
Some of the advantages of making use of this kind of plastic bucket for winemaking include the following:
Easy to Find
Frankly, no other option is as readily available as plastic buckets. You can get them in many places. This is one edge it has over some other options that are hard to come by.
Great Option for Starters
Newbies and people that have not mastered the wine-making process are advised to start with this option. Frankly, it is a newbie-friendly option. As you become better, you can then make use of something more expensive and that offers more.
One of the reasons for this is the cost. This means that you can make mistakes and not have to worry about the cost spent buying the vessel. Speaking of cost, let us move on to the next point.
Making wine does not have to be expensive and this is what it is with plastic buckets. Just a few bucks and you are very good to go. This is one of the biggest highlights of making use of this option. So, people that are particular about not spending big should consider this option.
Easy to Move Around
Maybe we forgot to add that these buckets come with handles when describing how they look. These handles could be made with metal or plastic. However, they are reliable when used to move the bucket around. For instance, this is a lot easier than moving a carboy, especially without accessories to help out.
Protects the Yeast from Light
You may have always known light to be good for various reasons. For instance, sunlight helps in the process called photosynthesis. However, there are certain situations when exposure to light can be a bad idea. The fermenting process is one of such.
This is primarily because of the effect of light on yeast. Yeast is very important in the fermenting process and it must be in the right state.
There has to be none or a much regulated exposure to light to make sure of this. For more on this subject, you can visit: https://journals.asm.org/doi/abs/10.1128/jb.138.2.523-529.1979#
Adaptable to Suit more Functions
The use of plastic for several light-duty and industrial purposes has increased over the years. For instance, surgical gloves, IV tubes, inflatable splits, catheters, insulin pens, and syringes are some of the ways the medical field has benefited from the use of plastic.
Also, large water tanks and several household cooking items are some of the ways this material is used for non-industrial purposes. The truth is that the world is better with plastics, especially when they are properly disposed of.
Just as you now know, using plastic buckets to make wine is very much a possibility. In addition to this, you can add some extra features to make the vessel a lot better. For instance, you can attach a spigot to help you monitor the fermenting process at any point.
Furthermore, some food-grade plastic accessories can make the fermenting process a lot easier and better.
Safe for Use
This option is generally safe for use. However, you have to be particular about making use of something that is food-grade. This is so that you are certain the vessel’s production process is void of materials that are harmful especially when used for something as delicate as wine fermenting.
If you have a pass in this, you should know that this option is safe. For instance, even an unfortunate drop of the vessel on the ground will not leave you wounded with laceration(s).
The same cannot be said of carboys made of glass and some other vessels. So, you might want to consider this option for all of the reasons listed and explained above (and more). But do not be too quick to make a decision. Wait until you see the disadvantages of this option below.
Disadvantages of Using Food Grade Plastic Buckets for Wine Making
Some of the disadvantages of making use of this kind of plastic bucket for winemaking include the following:
Oxygen is very important to us as humans. We breathe it in and give out carbon dioxide. Research and experience have even shown how the brain is heavily dependent on this gas. This essential part of the body can be adversely affected if it does not get oxygen.
But despite the dire need for oxygen for various reasons, there are situations where oxygen is not needed. The wine-making process is one such. Exposure to oxygen can reduce the quality of what is being fermented or ruin it.
So, there is an utmost need for something that can keep oxygen out. The truth is that plastic buckets are not 100% perfect at doing this. This is because plastics are naturally permeable.
Although this is not so much, they cannot keep oxygen out entirely. So, this is one of the downsides you should be aware of.
It Is Not See-Through
We stressed the fact that keeping light off is one of the advantages of this option. Well, there is also a downside to this.
Because the vessel is not see-through, it is hard to keep track of the process. This can be a nightmare especially for newbies and inexperienced hands. The best way to deal with this is to install a spigot. This way, you can check the progress per time.
Effective Cleaning can be Difficult
With this vessel, there can be instances when you smell the flavor of the wine you made earlier even in new wine. The reason is that thoroughly cleaning this vessel can be pretty difficult. The irony is that it does not seem this way until you have this experience.
One of the reasons for this is the vulnerability to scratches. Speaking of scratches, let us move on to the next point.
Possibility of Scratches
This is one of the biggest downsides of using plastic buckets for this purpose. Cleaning this vessel over time will leave scratches.
These scratches can become a suitable hiding place for hard-to-remove things as well as bacteria. This makes it less hygienic than many other options.
It Is Not a Life-Long Option
It is not a life-long option because of the possibility of having scratches and a few other things. As a result, you have to replace your food-grade plastic bucket at some point in time.
Long before our cherished bottles of wine end up in the wine room, it undergoes a very important process which is fermenting. This process can be carried out using various vessels.
We have explained the possibility of using food-grade plastic buckets for the fermenting process in this article. We have also explained the benefits and downsides of using this option and hope that you make informed decisions given the information shared here.