How important is having a stainless steel vs. a painted steel crusher/destemmer?

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It is definitely worth your while to purchase and use a stainless steel crusher as opposed to a painted carbon steel one.  Grapes are highly acidic.  The corrosive resistance of stainless steel will protect the equipment from wear-and-tear and possible metal contamination of the juice.  Chromium oxide prevents corrosion from spreading deeper into the stainless steel machine.  Stainless steel also has basic anti-microbacterial characteristics.  

Regular carbon steel (painted) is prone to rust when in the presence of lots of oxygen and moisture.  As crusher/destemmer machines release a great deal of liquid, and as there is usually some oxygenation present, this will rust the machine over time (affecting your free juice).

If stainless steel is simply too far out of your price range, and you must use regular carbon steel, then you must take care to wash the crusher/destemmer frequently to remove accumulated corrosive film.  Also take care to fix any cracks in carbon steel, as unlike stainless steel, there is not enough chromium to provide internal corrosive resistance.
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