Homemade wine can either taste really good or really bad. However, it is fun to make, and if you know what you are doing, the results are usually pretty good.
The best thing is the amount of money you will save by making wine at home and not buying it from a store.
After some practice, you will realize that your homemade wine turns out to be better than bought wine. Your relatives and friends will congratulate you on your skills and everyone will ask for the recipe.
These steps will teach you how to make wine at home:
These are a few things that you need to have before you learn how to make wine at home:
- 1 Open Container (min. 8 gallons) – This would be used for primary fermentation. Many people will tell you to use crockery or wood, but since those are porous alternatives, you will have quite a job of cleaning them later. It is always better to use plastic that is brand new.Never choose any metallic container because it might have a chemical effect on your wine. Always stick to plastic or wood and glass. The container needs to have an 8 gallon capacity because a smaller container would cause quite a lot of overflow.
- 1 Stainless Steel Pot or Enameled Bowl (2 gallons)
- 1 Mesh sack which is small in size (2 quart) – The mesh sack should be big enough to be tied on the top after it is filled with fruit pulp. Many people cut off small pieces from old nylon drapery. A handy and affordable option is to use pantyhose.
- 9 Jugs with a small mouth (1 gallon each) and 1 Jug with a small mouth (One half gallon) – It is best to go for a Cider jug.
- Tubing of clear and flexible plastic (6 feet) – This seems like minor equipment but it is actually pretty important. The tube should be clean from the inside and to check that, you need a clear plastic tube. This is to make sure that the pipe has not been previously used on something caustic.You can check that when the plastic is clear. Wine can get ruined if it gets mixed with undeveloped green wine. It will get the nutty sherry flavor, which would ruin the taste of your table wine.
- 25 wine bottles with a screw top and plastic caps
- Plastic food wrap (1 roll) – This would be used to airtight the bottles with the rubber bands. You can also go for wine making glass and locks, but this option would be cheaper if you are making a huge batch.
- Lots of rubber bands of various sizes
- Hydrometer – A hydrometer is not as intimidating as it sounds. It is simply used to measure the liquid’s density. You can use it to check on the progress on your wine and it can even be used to find out how much sugar you need to add to your wine as it progresses.Always read the instructions on the back well before you use it. Hydrometer is a must if the batch of wine is large because it leads to accuracy and will help you monitor the fermentation process better.
Recipe and Ingredients
This recipe will teach you how to make wine at home with all kinds of berries. The ingredients are as follows:
- Blackberries (15 pounds)
- Raisins (1/2 cup)
- Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid (1/2 tsp.)
- Water (5 gallons)
- Acid Blend (I tbsp.) or Lemon juice (1 lemon)
- Sugar (10 pounds)
- Dry wine yeast (1 pack)
Follow these steps to make the perfect homemade berry wine:
- Only sprayed fruit needs to be washed, otherwise, you don’t need to do that. You can wear gloves because you have to mash the berries with hand and collect the juice. There are two ways of doing this.You can take a handful of berries and squeeze them hard enough or you can use your knuckles to do the job for you. This is where the 2 gallons enamel pot comes into the picture. Put all the berries in it and let the squishing begin!
- Now, put your mesh sack over the mouth of your fermenting 8 gallon jar and put all the mushed berries inside it. Pick up the back and squeeze it to get the remainder of the juice out. Repeat Step 1 and 2 until all your berries are done.In the end, all the juice will be inside your fermenting jar and all the berries would be in your mesh bag. Now, put some raisins on top and tie up the bag properly. Put it inside with all the fruit juice and leave it.
- The Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid goes next. The main purpose of Vitamin C is to prevent oxidization of the wine later when it gets exposed to light and air. It would also prevent the wine from changing color.
- The next step is to boil 5 gallons of water and when it almost starts boiling, you need to add this water to your fermentation 8 gallon container. This hot water is to treat and kill the bacteria and wild yeast that are present in your fruit pulp and juice.If you don’t do this, it will later cause problems when you add dry wine yeast. However, do not boil the fruit pulp and the juice.
- Add the acid blend next. Acid blend is a blend of three natural acids – citric, tartaric, and malic. Most wine making houses have it, and you can easily get it from a store near you. If you don’t have an acid blend, don’t worry because you can use lemon juice instead.However, it is better to use acid blend because it is stronger than just citric acid from lemon juice and might work better to prevent oxidation of your wine. Adding acid is a must, though.
- Now, put in the sugar slowly by adding 1/3rd of the 10 pound bag first. Keep stirring it continuously and use your hydrometer. After that, you need to cover the can and let it cool for 10 hours at room temperature.When the time has elapsed, use the hydrometer and check the gravity of the liquid. Keep adding sugar until the reading in the hydrometer is 1095. Take your time in adjusting the sugar as this is an important step of how to make wine at home perfectly.
- Add the yeast on the surface and let it work. Don’t disturb or stir the yeast. You will see signs of fermentation in the next 12 hours. There will be a strong smell and you would notice bubbles and froth on top of your fermentation jar.Use a wooden device to stir it twice a day and check the gravity with your hydrometer once a day. It is time to transfer wine when your hydrometer reads 1030.
- Wash 8 out of your 9 one gallon jugs without using soap. You have to rinse them well with water (you can also use gravel to clear the bottom of the jars) as you don’t want the residual film of the soap.Now, take out the mesh bag from the large 8 gallon container and squeeze it well. Throw the pulp it contains and wash it properly. You can reuse this bag later when you make wine again.
- Transfer the liquid to the eight jars and leave some room at the top. The yeast has gone weak, which is why you need to airtight these jars. However, it is still strong enough to generate some amount of foam and bubbles and you should keep some space on the top for that. Use the plastic wrap and rubber bands for closing the jars.
- Now, after the second fermentation, you need to transfer the green wine into fresh containers. For this, you need to use the tubing and the 9th gallon. Use the tube and put one end near the surface of the full jar because you don’t want the sediments to be siphoned in.Suck from the tube and as the green liquid is close to your mouth, use your thumb to cap it and empty it into the jar. Make sure that you are careful as the other jar begins to empty and your tube’s end gets close to the sediments. Do the same with other jars as well. You can take the help of a friend as two pairs of hands would make it easier.
- After this, you can transfer your wine almost up to the brim because there is nothing left in the fermentation of your wine. Seal all containers properly using the rubber bands and plastic foil. You need to repeat the racking after 3 weeks and then after 3 months.
Use your hydrometer to find if the reading is below 1.000 and you will find out if your wine is ready to bottle or not. Clean your 25 wine bottles without soap and use the same siphoning process to transfer the wine. Use the plastic caps to seal them once done.
Of course, this is only one of the many ways you can do it. There’s are many different recipes you can use.
jo kroes says
I have a recipe for rhubarb wine that is approx. 75 years old. you use 10 lbs rhubarb , you put hot water over for 1 day, then remove the fruit, and add 8 lbs sugar, 2 oranges and 2 lemons sliced, to the water. you stir 2 times a day for 1 week. then you remove that fruit and put into jars with a loose lid 2-3 weeks to settle out, then you can rejar again to settle out, or bottle. I’m on the 1st settle time so far. still is cloudy
hi,I’ve made wine and now I’m worry how can I siphon it to another jar!
you people have any suggestion how can I siphon it?
go to home depot and get some plastic tubeing , insert in wine and suck on other end to get wine flowing. then place in empty jug. for wine making info go to E .C.Krause web site for recipes for many types of wine. they work great. I have been using them for about 5 years and they make great wine. I make apple pear blackberry blueberry scuppernong muscadine peach strawberry. they all turn out great, just follow their directions. Charles Woods
Les Orlick/ The little old wine maker. says
You can siphon it with a hose maybe a 3/8 or 1/4″ and you will have control that way. It also depends on how many gallon you have to move over to the clean vessel.. If you are starting out with 8 gal of semi finish product you can move it over to a 5 gallon glass bottle and let it settle some more there. That is the way I use to do it. Now after you move it to a clean 5 gallon bottle check the viscountcy again to find out your alcohol content now you can restart the wine with more sugar and make the alcohol content higher. Remember if you do that to put a air lock on the new vessel to keep out the unwanted bacteria or it will turn and get a bad taste and all your work will probably turn into a good vinegar. After the wine goes again and then settles down you can siphon to wine bottles. If the wine is still work add one tablespoon sugar per bottle and fill and cork and put a wire wrap to hold cork on and you will have bubbly wine, almost a champagne type but not quite but tasty.. Just be careful and use the proper bottles.
harold whitaker says
mike i tried your recipe for wine. i used cheeries. it turned into vinagar.later i trried it with strawberries.i kept testing it. when it reach a desired level i drew out about 3/4 gal. i didn’t have time to finish the rest then. later i went back to bottle up the rest when i did it had turned to vinagar. ithe test the first batch i drew off the container and it had turned to vinagar also. what am i doing wrong?
I have only made a few batches. Some good, some not so much. Mike Oclair should share his recipes, Lynn too. I had an acquaintance tell me she used Brewers yeast, fruit, sugar, and water. Mixed them all together and put a balloon on top. When the balloon deflated she bottled. If memory serves she used a teaspoon of brewers yeast to 2 cups sugar and 2 cups fruit and water to fill whatever container she was using. I’m just getting started… what’s everyone else think? Love everything here and learning all the time. Now if I can figure out how to post on the growers board I can start buying some plants. Have a great day everyone!
Troy from Freeland says
Hi Mike Love your new more of a live of the land type of website, Keep up the good work to you and your staff. P.S. the photo at the top of this article is a Hops vine not grape vine, but you can use for home brewed beer.
Thanks Troy, I appreciate. I’ll ask Duston about the photo. We really scramble to come up with these images. 99% of them we track down and take our own photos.
The caption on your picture says “Growing Grapes Upright”. It sure looks a lot more like hops to me. We have plenty of both here in Eastern Washington.
Thanks Ilene, I’ll look into that photo.
mike oclair says
When i make wine (since 2004) I use five quarts of fruit, or dandelion heads. Per 5 gallon batch, this is a good measurement for me. I make lots of apple wine, and found that a kitchen grinder works well to make pulp from the whole apple. I also found grapefruit will work in place of the lemon juice. it also gives a different flavor, which i liked alot.
Lynn McMillen says
When I lived in western PA, I made wine regularly. I was younger, then, in a lot better health, and didn’t have kids yet. Two kinds of wild grapes grew near where I lived, as well as berries, apples, even flowers that I used to make wine with. The one most important thing, I learned, in making wine is “cleanliness, cleanliness, cleanliness.” There are bacteria, fungi, and all sorts of little things floating in the air, on our hands, and on the fruit/flowers etc we ferment that can destroy your wine in short order. I’ve had good wines, but I’ve made it a point to sterilize everything that can be sterilized, and use to use bacterio-stats (substances that stop germs from growing) pretty much everywhere else, including the fermentation stock. I’ve made both types of grape wine, dandelion wine, red clover wine, and something called apple-whiskey (not really whiskey and it was the one recipe I made that I did not like. Unless you want to make really big batches of wine, you don’t need an 8 gallon fermenter. One of those big galls carboys that water comes in is perfect. YOu can sterilize glass, and the small tops make it possible to put in a big cork with a CO2 lock. THere are many good books on the market about wine-making. MY favorite is one called “Smoky Mountain Wines.” I don’t even know if it is in print anymore, but it has some really GREAT recipes in it — including dandelion wine.
WIne making is fun. Just remember – clean, clean, clean. Drink up. -Lynn