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Wine thief - A lesser known wine accessory

Updated on December 8, 2011

Wine thief is a wine accessory that some of us may be using while making wine at home, without even knowing this quirky name. Let's fill our wine glasses and take a look at what this wine accessory is all about and how to use a wine thief while you making your favorite wine at home.

A glass wine thief lying on a wine barrel
A glass wine thief lying on a wine barrel

What is a wine thief

A wine thief is tool that is used to extract a small amount of wine from a barrel, carboy or a cask used to ferment wine. Much similar to the traditional concept of a pipette, the wine thief is a clear glass or plastic tube that sucks a small amount of wine from the fermentation container. However, what used to be a simply glass tube has now been commonly replaced with a food grade plastic pipe. As a wine thief can also be used for similar purposes while brewing beer, it may also be referred to as a Beer Thief.

What is a wine thief used for

Those of you who make wines at home, or know a thing or two about brewing liquor will already know that the wine needs to be tasted and tested during different stages of fermentation. A wine thief is used to take samples for

  • Tasting wine as it ferments
  • Taking gravity readings
  • pH/Acid readings
  • Measuring other readings in the fermentation cycle of a wine

Using a wine thief

  • Make sure you sanitize your wine thief before using it. The last thing you'd want is to dip your wine thief in your wine, only to later find out that your partner inadvertently used it in cooking.
  • Dip the wine thief in your barrel or carboy and gently extract the sample of the wine in a glass or a container.
  • If you are brewing more than one wine, you should thoroughly cleanse the wine thief after testing/tasting one wine and before dipping it in the other.

Wine thief: Know this before buying

  • If you are looking to buy a wine thief, you should know that home brewers prefer a food grade plastic wine thief over the traditional glass tubes. Plastic wine thieves are cheaper and don't break easily.
  • A wine thief is great for you if you use a carboy which has a thin neck. Don't even think of taking the chance of tilting your fermenting container over for a small sample. You wouldn't want to risk the months of love and care that you've put in to go waste over a silly spill, would you?
  • You may have seen pictures of that exotic and classy looking glass wine thief during your trip to the winery. If you are a home brewer, you really don't need that fancy wine thief unless you have a stellar rustic setup in your basement that you want to show off to your friends. Stick to the cheaper and the more convenient option of a food grade plastic wine thief, like the one featured in the Amazon link below. If you must spend your money, spend it on buying for yourself good wine glasses.
  • A wine thief is a pretty inexpensive item which will be extremely handy for all your home brewing attempts, whether it is wine or beer. Even then, if you want to avoid buying this wine accessory, you can use a turkey baster or similar tools until you save up the pennies needed to buy a real wine thief.

Wine thief and other accessories on


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    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Your comment brings a smile to the face, Flora. The mention of 'wine thief' does leave many thinking about someone stealing wine.


    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      I'm glad you liked this hub, Eiddwen!


    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Never heard of this name before, probably because I'm not much of a drinker. I was expecting to read that this was used in prohibition days to steal from each other. :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Very interesting and thanks for sharing.

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Hi Rosie

      Now you can show off your knowledge on this wine accessory to your friends the next time you visit a vineyard! I'm glad you found this interesting.



    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Hi jenubouka

      Yes, a wine thief is a very simple tool that will make your life extremely easier if you've got anything to do with making wine or managing any aspect of the process.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


    • Rosie2010 profile image

      Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hiya Princesswithapen, I had never heard of a wine thief before, so now I know. Thanks so much. Voted up and very interesting. Cheers!

      Have a nice day,


    • profile image

      jenubouka 6 years ago

      I did not know this, it would be a prime tool to have in the valley I live in.