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This very simple device allows the density of the fermenting must to be measured.
It is in fact a specific densimeter for the winemaker.

A bit of simplified physics :

The density of water is approximately 1 kg/l or 1000 kg/m3 or 1000 g/l
The density of ethanol (the main alcohol in wine) is about 989 g/l, so ethanol is much “lighter” than water.
The density of ripe grape juice is higher: it can range from 1080 g/l to more than 1100 g/l: the more sugar there is, the higher the density.

During fermentation, the sugar disappears and is transformed into alcohol. The density of the water/sugar/ethanol mixture therefore gradually changes in a few days from 1090 “water+sugar” to 993 g/l “water+alcohol”.

The density of the finished wine is around 933 to 995 g/l: indeed, the finished wine contains about 85% water, 13% ethanol, and 2% other compounds responsible for the taste, texture and particular aromas of the wine, but that’s another story.

Once fermentation is complete, we have obtained a wine that contains about 13 degrees or 13% alcohol by volume for a classic dry red Bordeaux wine (without residual sugars).

Le mustimètre, outil indispensable au vigneron indépendant vinficateur

The mustimeter, an essential tool for the independent winemaker winemaker.
We distinguish the graduation from 990 to 1130 (g/l)
Caution: fragile!