We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Some of these may be affiliate based, meaning we earn small commissions (at no additional cost to you) if items are purchased. Here is more about what we do.
The art of wine making is an intricate, aesthetically-pleasing process to be sure. There’s a lot that goes into the creation of a fine bottle, whether it’s a dark pinot noir or a bottle of sparkling white.
Everything from a tickling aroma to a scintillating taste is a result of the intricate interplay involved in the chemistry that makes up a great vintage.
Besides the wine itself, everything from the cork to the bottle to the conditions in which the ingredients are cultivated or the area in which it’s all stored plays a big role in the determining the ultimate beauty and brilliance of the final product.
Even the style of glass the wine is served in has an affect on the end taste.
That may seem like a lot that goes into the wine making process—and it is—but that doesn’t mean that need to own a vast vineyard in the South of France in order to cultivate a fine beverage.
For one thing, while location remains an important element of selection and cultivation, the drink is becoming more and more “portable.”
That is, while great wines of the world used to come mainly from set places like France, Italy and Spain, as well as Syrah in modern-day Israel and the Arabian peninsula, there are far more regional and geographically diverse options now when it comes to production.
Those aforementioned centers are wine meccas, but with this new market and geographically-diverse choices, that in turn opens up a many more options for you, and that’s where wine making kits come in.
Homemade alcohol is of course nothing new, but recently homemade wine has taken off as part of this larger American trend towards that classy classical drink. DIY and recipe guides are likewise all the rage on the Internet, meaning all you need is a great wine making kit to help you get started these days.
For all of that, however, making this divine drink at home is a complex process, and one you’re going to want to do some research on before jumping headlong into.
Never fear—this quick guide will serve as a quick primer on just some of the things that you’ll need to know when it comes to wine making at home and get you primed and ready to start fermenting your own creations in no time!
On Wine Itself
First, a quick word on the drink itself. If you have any degree of experience with this drink whatsoever, you’ll know that it’s a varied and very aesthetic beverage.
Missing the basics of aesthetics is a common misstep for many home-brewing hobbyists, who immediately jump into thinking about styles and types and tastes without thinking about all the little things that go into making a great bottle of bubbly or a fine merlot. Great bottles are generally a compendium of little things done well.
This includes everything from the kind of ingredients you use (we’ll expand more on that in a bit), the area you’re brewing in, the climate you live in, and then even smaller, easier maintenance issues, such as properly cleaning and storing your materials before and after use.
You don’t want any funk or gunk getting into that chardonnay you’re mixing up, so be sure to wash everything, especially your glassware, while making sure that your items are wholly dry, residue free, and that your cleaning materials—ie, soap—isn’t mixing with the liquid when you begin to brew.
In addition, you always want to be sure to have a cool storage area available for your bottles when finished—nobody likes a warm bottle of white.
The Tools You’ll Need
A true artist can make art out of anything. That being said, it’s no coincidence that some of our greatest works of art were made possible by impeccable paints and advancements in all manner of different art-based technology.
Everything from box-like devices that allowed the likes of Vermeer and other Dutch Golden Age painters to more accurately get a sense of scale to the new kinds of paint used by Gaugin and Van Gogh contributed to the success and vibrancy of their artwork.
Foodal recommends this Starter Winemaking Equipment Kit w/ Better Bottle & Double Lever Corker to get you started.
Likewise, you’re going to want to take the time to get acquainted with the different tools that are necessary for good homemade wine production.
These tools include:
- Wine Making Equipment Kit
- Gallon Units and Fermenters
- Lids, often with an Airlock
- Glass Carboy
- Racking Cane
- Siphon Hose
- Bottle Filler
- Rubber Stopper
In addition to all of that, you’re going to want an area that’s primed for wine storage. This area should be set aside from the rest of the home, climate controlled—or as near as you can manage—and above all, cool and generally dark. You don’t want warm summer rays heating up your delicate whites and spoiling them before you even get a chance to enjoy them.
The Importance of Instructions
Instructions play a vital part of the wine making process. This is especially true if you’re a newcomer and just learning how to make wines from home. Homemade, by its nature, tends to be a bit more MacGyver-ish, in that you’ll often find recipes that are made up of homemade ingredients rather than the type of premium vines and ingredients used in a finely aged red or bottle of chardonnay.
Even so, however, you don’t want to let your improvisational spirit get too far ahead of you, especially if, again, you’re new to the process. There are many different websites on the Internet that offer valuable instructions for how to get started with some very basic recipes.
Take the time to look them up.
In addition, there are some good instructions and videos on YouTube that can take you through the ins and outs of using everything from gallon tanks and corks to “fermometers” and so on.
Some wine making kits offer instructions as part of the set. If you’re a seasoned veteran, these instructions may be ancillary and unnecessary, but if you’re just starting out, and you have the option of buying such a set, go for it.
Those kit-specific instructions can prove invaluable in helping you find early success fermenting and brewing your homemade beverages for the first time.
Red vs. White
The age old question—red vs. white? There’s no right answer—well, red’s clearly superior, but everyone’s entitled to their opinion—but whichever you choose, you’re in for a treat.
In either case, however, red or white you’re going to need to make sure you have the right materials and ingredients. If they don’t come pre-packaged with whatever kit or set you purchase, be sure to order the necessary ingredients for different kinds of reds and whites, or even look to grow them yourself.
If you opt for the former, be sure to check the feedback of the seller—you don’t want anything less than the best quality when it comes to ingredients for your beverages. After all, if the ingredients are lackluster, you could have the finest tools in the world, and you’d still be stuck with a terrible tragedy passing for “wine.”
In the event that you choose to grow your own ingredients, please take the time to research how the masters do it. There’s a wealth of information out there on everything from French whites to the latest reds coming out of Napa Valley in Northern California.
Pay special attention to the tannins and the consistency of your ingredients throughout the process.
And if you enjoy making wine, you might want to try your homemade creations in your next meal! Read our 9 essential tips for cooking with wine, to make richly flavored meals using the fruits of your labor.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!