Enolmatic - The best bottling machine
- Published: Saturday, 27 September 2014 12:16
- Written by David DeCiero
Bottling was always a pain. I remember having to get my wife to help me and it was a such a tedious process. That all changed when I saw an ad for an Enolmatic on craigslist. Bottling became a quick and painless exercise. This is the best piece of equipment I have ever owned.
When I first started making wine, it was all about not spending too much and getting in too deep in case I didn’t like it. So, with the first batch, I used the “spring loaded filler.” This is the one where you press on the bottom of the bottle and the wine comes out. This product relies on gravity feed. In all honesty, it works well for five gallon batches. The only problem was that you had to guesstimate the final fill height since removing the wand would cause a drop in the level. So, you had to get good at crouching down to see where the fill level ended up. It took me 2 hours to fill 30 bottles because I was concerned with getting the correct ullage.
The next step was the Buon Vino Super Automatic Bottle Filler. Honestly, the name should have tipped me off as it sounds like something out of a Japanese kids cartoon. It cost about $30 and was a marked improvement over the spring filler. The key was to start a suction and it would automatically fill the bottles to the correct height and then stop via an overflow device. It would work well when it actually worked. In reality, it always had a problem with the suction. There was an adjustment screw on the side, but it was really finicky. The top heavy nature of the unit also necessitated a person holding it to make sure the bottle did not fall over. In essence, it was still a two person job and my wife did not like doing it.
Everything changed when I saw an ad for winemaking equipment on Cape Cod. One of the items was an Enolmatic for $100. I immediately called the guy and asked if it was still available. It was, so I drove down on a Saturday night and picked it up. He had made cider for many years and had decided he was done. He had a bladder press, stainless steel tanks, everything. I also ended up buying some glass carboys from him as well. When I got the thing home, I cleaned it up and replaced some of the O-rings. I then tried out my first batch that I had been procrastinating doing. It was a revelation. The thing is totally automatic except for the placing and removing of bottles. The adjustments work well every time. If I want to do it slower, that’s one knob. If I want more fill, then I just adjust either the head or the actual filler. I also don’t have to lift and move heavy carboys as it is vacuum based. In all, it is a great machine that was well worth the $100. I know they sell them new for $400 and they don’t come on the market that frequently, but I definitely got lucky.
I have seen a lot of homebuilt ones recently, so here is the one I like best: