I have an old 5 gallon bucket that previously was used to hold food (pickles, sauerkraut, etc.). If I clean and sanitize it thoroughly, can I use it as a primary fermenter for my wine?
Re-using plastic pails from other sources, like buckets that previously held food products, is always a mistake. The food odors will have sunk into the plastic, and will taint the wine.
Also, plastic items not intended for food purposes, such as brand-new garbage pails must never be used for winemaking. The pigments, UV protectants and plasticizers (chemicals used to keep the plastic from becoming brittle) will leach into the wine, and could affect your health. Saving a few dollars by using suspect equipment is not worth it.