Wine making is simple in theory; yeast meets juice and then ferments. However, the process has evolved over thousands of years, and today’s winemaking is equal parts art and science.
Winemaking Supplies you’ll Need
It’s easier than you might think to make homemade wine, all you’ll need is cleanliness, some inexpensive wine making equipment and a measure of patience.
- 1 sterile plastic bucket with lid (serves as the fermentation vat)
- 3 one-gallon glass jugs (secondary fermentation bottles)
- A funnel
- 3 airlocks
- Large nylon mesh bag for straining
- 6’ length of 1/2” clear plastic tubing
- 20 wine bottles
- Sanitized corks
- Hand corker
- An abundant supply of wine grapes
- Wine yeast
- Filtered water
Other recommended items for wine makers are yeast enzymes, nutrients, acids, tannins and Campden tablets to prevent oxidation. These things will help you retain more control over your winemaking, but aren’t necessary to make drinkable wine.
The Winemaking Process
Begin by sterilizing and rinsing your wine making kit (preferably, right before using). Select the wine grapes, tossing out any that look rotten or bruised. Wash the grapes, removing any stems, as they’ll make for bitter wine. Crush the grapes, releasing the juice into the primary fermentation vat. If you’re making a large quantity of wine, you may want to consider renting a fruit press.
Add the wine yeast, and insert the hydrometer in the mixture. If the reading is less than 1.01, add sugar that’s been dissolved in filtered water. Stir the mixture thoroughly and cover; allow it to ferment for 10 days as sediment drops to the bottom.
After the primary fermentation period is complete, strain the liquid. Funnel the juice into a sterile glass jug, filling to the top to keep air and wine from meeting. Add an airlock, and allow to ferment for several weeks. You’ll then siphon the wine into another sterile glass container, removing sediment; this process may need to be repeated for up to 3 months.
Finally, you’ll pour the wine into bottles via the sterile plastic tubing, leaving enough space at the top for the cork. Insert a cork into each bottle and store upright for three days. After that time, store the bottles on their sides at 55° F. Red wine must be aged for at least a year, but white wine can be enjoyed after just six months.