Everyone loves a refreshing glass of wine after a long day. Have you ever thought about how wine is made, or how to make your own wine?
How To Make Wine At Home
Making your own wine is a hit-or-miss process. Some wine turns out amazing, while other batches are so-so.
However, if you know what you’re doing, you can make wine better than the stuff you buy from commercial wineries. Not just “as good” but “better.”
Making your own wine comes with a level of satisfaction of having made it yourself too.
The wine you make yourself is completely natural, with none of the sorbates, glycerol, or sulphur dioxide wineries use.
Wineries use chemicals, filters, and pasteurization to artificially age their wine. We all know that time is money after all – and that wine gets better with age.
One advantage you have over commercial wineries is having all the time in the world to make and age your wine.
Here’s how to make your own wine at home.
You’ll need the following equipment to brew wine at home:
- An open container with a capacity of at least eight gallons
- An enamel pot or bowl with a capacity of at least two gallons
- A two-quart small-mesh sack
- Nine small-mouth jugs with a capacity of at least one gallon
- A 1 ½ gallon small-mouth jug
- Six feet of clear plastic tubing
- 25 screw top wine bottles
- Rubber bands
- Plastic food wrap
- A hydrometer
If that sounds like a lot of equipment, you should consider getting an all-in-one DIY wine making kit. These kits have everything you need to make wine at home.
Our guide focuses on making blackberry wine. It’s one of the easiest and best-tasting wines around. You’ll need:
- 15 pounds of blackberries
- ½ teaspoon of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) – powdered is better
- 1 tablespoon of an acid blend (or juice from one lemon)
- ½ cup of raisins
- 5 gallons of water
- 1 package of dry yeast
- 10 pounds of sugar
- Wash your fruit if it’s been sprayed. No one could enjoy contaminated wine, no matter how well made it is.
- Crush your berries to get the juice out. In the old days this was done by hand. You can do it at home by filling a two-gallon flat-bottomed stainless steel pot or bowl halfway with berries and then crushing them with your knuckles.
- Empty the juice into a nylon sack as you hold the bag over your eight-gallon plastic can. Gently squeeze the sack against the sides of the can to get the last bits of juice away from the pulp. When done, fill the jug with berries halfway again and repeat the process. Repeat until you’ve crushed all the fruit and there’s nothing but pulp left in the bag.
- Throw the raisins into the sack, tie it up, and ensure it’s closed properly. Leave the sack in the can with the fruit juice.
- Add the ascorbic acid to prevent the wine from oxidizing or changing colour when exposed to light and air.
- Heat five gallons of water to just before the boiling point. Add the near-boiling water to the fruit juice in the eight-gallon can. This hot water kills the bacteria and yeast in the juice and pulp to prevent the yeast from competing with the wine yeast you add later
- Empty the acid-blend, a triple mixture of citric acid from the fruit, tartaric acid from grapes, and malic acid from apples.
- Pour in roughly 2/3rds of the 10-pound bag of sugar and stir the solution in the main fermentation vat to dissolve the sugar. Cover the can with a towel and allow it to cool down to room temperature, which takes around ten hours or so.
- When your wine must reaches room temperature, use the hydrometer to check its specific gravity. Add a bit of sugar to the mix at a time and stir until the sweetener dissolves. Test the specific gravity again after stirring in the sugar. Keep going until the hydrometer bulb reaches 1.095. This is the level where wine is around 14% alcoholic.
- Sprinkle some of the dry yeast onto the wine must but don’t stir it. Some will sink to the bottom and some will float.
- You should see signs of primary fermentation within 12 hours. There should be small bubbles that form a circle of foam a few inches into the vat. The foam surrounds remaining yeast and leaves a noticeable smell.
- Stir the wine must twice a day with a wooden item such as a spoon. Punch the bag of pulp down and re-cover the fermenting must to prevent dust and flies getting in.
- Check the specific gravity for the fermenting brew once a day and keep track of any changes. The yeast produces alcohol and carbon dioxide as it processes the sugar.
- Carbon dioxide bubbles in the must but the alcohol stays behind. The level of alcohol increases as sugar levels decrease, reducing the specific gravity of the must. Your wine is ready to transfer to the closed bottles when the specific gravity drops to 1.030.
- Wash eight of the nine one-gallon jugs without using soap. Rinse the container with cold water several times.
- Squeeze the bag in the primary fermenter until the sack dries out completely. Throw the pulp away and rinse the bag with clean water. Hang it out to dry until you want to use it again.
- Stir the must and sediment in the main vat together and use a bowl or cup to fill the gallon jugs to the shoulders.
- Use clean water to rinse the original plastic jugs after sealing the new secondary fermentation jugs.
Your wine won’t taste good after separating it from the yeast by-product. You need to let it age and get the taste you like.
This could take up to six months. You don’t need a special room to store win in – any cool and dark place helps age your wine without the influence of heat and light.
If you want to be professional about it, we recommend using a wine cooler.