Thinking of Making Wine at Home? Here’s How to Get Started

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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.

Introduction to home wine making | Foodal.com

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.

Gathering the harvest for fermenting wine | Foodal.com

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.

Ultimate Wine Making Equipment Kit – 6 Gallon Glass Carboy

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.

Making Wine at Home | Foodal.com

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.

Homemade wine in green bottle with green and purple grapes to the right. Diffuesed wooded background.

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:

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.

Home Wine Making | Foodal.com

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.

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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!

22 thoughts on “Thinking of Making Wine at Home? Here’s How to Get Started”

  1. I have always been tempted by the idea of making my own. It looks a little too involved and labor intensive however, makes a good gift idea form someone else though.

  2. My brother has recently gotten into making wine. If he can do it I think I can do it too 😉 The samples he has given me has been good but too sweet for my tastes. I’d like to make my own dryer version. Is it easy to find kits like these online? I’ll have to look them up. The process of fermenting seems interesting and it would be fun to tinker with on the weekends.

    • Wine making can be really interesting and it’s well worth trying if you already have access to all the equipment you need.

  3. Phew! {wiping my brow there}….quite complex i must say…and one needs to be pretty hands on and attentive whilst attempting the procedures above…if i ever try this exercise at home, i ‘ll need a group of cheerleaders to cheer me on…i definitely will be requiring utmost support in this regard…it somehow puts the word lazy into the trash bin…hard work plus working smart is a major requirement in this area.

  4. I’ve been making my own wine and beer for years now, and I think it is quite daunting when you first start out. When I compiled the list of equipment I would need, that alone made me sweat just thinking about how detailed the process actually is. That said, once you’ve done it a few times – and accepted that at times it won’t always go right – then you’ll find it easier, quicker, and even more satisfying when you produce something you’ve made yourself from start to finish.

    I would urge everyone to give it a go, and Lynne’s instructions are very detailed, and a great starting point.

  5. These are really detailed and thorough instructions. I have been wanting to try and make our own beverages (beer included) for years and i have always been intimidated by the process. I think that I am just about ready to give it a try.

  6. I once created grape wine. After three weeks, it quickly soured into grape vinegar! I suppose it had something to do with storage. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I’m glad I survived that ordeal. I’ll keep this post in mind if I ever give it another shot.

  7. Would you say this is easier or harder to make than beer? I was intimidated by the beer making process at first until I actually did it a few times. Much like beer I’m sure this looks/reads a lot harder than it actually is.

  8. I’ve dabbled in making my own beer & wine before. However, concerning the wine, I did it the lazy yeast to 100% juice way. The real way takes an investment of a lot of time (A LOT if you want higher quality) & money. I might stick to the poor man’s alcohol: Beer.

  9. Oh, how fun. How great would it be to have people over for dinner and serve your very own homemade adult beverages? Since we recently started experimenting with the drinking of various styles and types, this is of great interest to me.

    I bet my husband would love to try his hand at making some at home. I’ll have to send him over to look at this. Great read.

  10. I’ve never tried making my own before, but the article really makes it look manageable. I love to do DIY project from time to time and this may very well be my next one. I’m thinking of just sticking to making reds because I don’t like to be having to peel grapes.

  11. I’ve been making beer at home and it tastes different than most of the beer on the market. Making my own wine seems pretty interesting and I’ll definitely look more into this idea. I think it is financially beneficial too.

  12. My grandparents have been making various brews at home for decades and have started teaching me.

    I’m happy to find your blog and these tips. You make it much cleaner! My next batch will use your principals I will have to let the community know how it turns out =)

  13. I would consider myself a bit of a wine connoisseur but I’ve never thought to try making it at home. This article makes me want to entertain the idea, although honestly it seems like a slightly convoluted process.

  14. If making wine at home takes off like beer, I definitely expect to see more people getting creative in the process. Although I might not make this drink at home, I do appreciate the knowledge others have gained from doing so. I always thought that the outcome of wine would be more fickle than any other type of home brewing. YouTube sounds like a good place to start if your a visual learner. I just hope that whoever makes the videos know what they are doing.

  15. I grew up in a very Italian neighborhood. Almost all of my neighbors would make their own wine. It would be an all day affair that brought the family together. They’d only make red wine, never white.?

  16. I do not think I would ever have the patience for wine-making. However, I do commend the author for presenting such a detailed guide for us curious readers.

  17. The process is too tedious; I wrote a long article some years back about the entire method and that was when I realized how tasking it is. It is easy to buy a bottle and sit back to enjoy it but we never think about the stages it had to pass through.

    I would rather purchase a bottle than make one.

  18. Making my own is something I will definitely do in the future, but more specifically, port. I adore port! I heard it was like regular wine, but with added brandy; I suppose I must then learn to make regular red varieties before I think of making port. I will keep this guide handy for when I’m able to get all the equipment and necessities. Great article!

  19. Well I am not the biggest wine drinker out there, but my mother and father certainly are and they would probably be very interested to read this. I know that they have always talked about their retirement and what they plan to do, and at one point they said tour wine country, but I am also thinking that this might be something that they would want to look into. I guess it is worth a shot. Thanks for sharing.

  20. I drink quite a bit of wine with my friends on weekends and I think they would just love the idea of us making our own wine. I’m not much of a cook, I’m still in the learning phase and I still mess up even the most basic stuff but somehow, this feels like something I might actually be good at..

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