by Bill Reddy
The Auto Siphon
Here's the scenario. You've spent an half hour or so meticulously cleaning your winemaking equipment and it's time to siphon your wine into your freshly sanitized carboy. Now you have to suck on the siphon hose to transfer the wine from your bucket into the carboy. Does the thought of all those nasty mouth germs getting into your wine and negating your hard work bother you? If so, the auto siphon is what you need.
This nifty little gadget acts as a racking tube and a siphon starter. A regular racking tube with a rubber grommet on the end is contained inside a larger plastic cylinder which acts somewhat like a bicycle pump. When you pull up on the racking tube you pull wine into the large cylinder. When you push the racking tube back down the wine in the large cylinder is forced up through the racking tube which begins the siphon. It usually takes only one stroke to start the siphon.
I used one of these for a while and it works well. But I'm from the old school of winemaking. I've been sucking on a hose to start the siphon on my wine and beer for over 40 years now. I've never had a problem with sanitation. For me, sucking on the hose is simpler and faster so I eventually gave up on the auto siphon but anyone who has an aversion to sucking on a siphon hose will find the auto siphon an indispensable tool.