Making homemade wine is easier than you think. You might think that in order to make a decent bottle of wine, you need a vineyard and some fancy equipment, but we’re here to tell you that’s just not the case!
Making wine at home is a fun process where you won’t only learn some new things, but you’ll have something to show - and drink- by the end of it!
How to make wine at home
Making your own wine from grapes is a lengthy process. You’d have to grow the grapes, harvest them, crush them, and make them into grape juice - ain’t nobody got time for that! Instead of making wine from grapes, we’ve cut out a few steps and instead will be showing you how to make wine from store-bought grape juice.
When choosing which grape juice to use, you should look for one that’s pasteurized and has no added preservatives, otherwise, you’ll wind up killing the yeast and your grape juice will never turn into wine. If you’re aiming to make red wine, then you’ll want to choose purple grape juice. If you prefer white wine, then buy white grape juice.
Homemade wine recipe
To make your own wine at home, gather the following ingredients and supplies:
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups of white sugar
- 1 packet instant dry yeast
- 1/2 gallon our choice of red or white grape juice
- Measuring cup
- Balloon (deflated)
- Pin or pointy object
Instructions: How to make wine at home
Step 1: In hot water, wash your measuring cup, funnel, and balloon thoroughly. You want to make sure to remove any bacteria that could seriously contaminate your grape juice and ruin your wine.
Step 2: Pour out enough grape juice from the bottle so that you’ll have enough room to add in the sugar and yeast; about 3/4 - 1 cup of grape juice.
Step 3: Add 1.5 cups of sugar to the grape juice. For a wine with a higher ABV content, add in 2 cups of sugar. For a wine with a lower ABV content, add in less. Now, screw the cap tightly onto the grape juice bottle and shake it like a polaroid picture. Shake it, shake - shake it, shake it! But seriously, shake it for about a minute until the sugar is pretty much all dissolved.
Step 4: Add in one packet of yeast. You can use the funnel for this if you think you might spill the yeast otherwise.
Step 5: Let the yeast sit in the juice for about 5 minutes until it has moistened a bit. Then, shake up your juice mixture once again for about 10-15 seconds.
Step 6: Uncap the bottle and place the balloon over the top. Poke 1 or 2 pin-sized holes in the neck of the balloon - the era that is closest to the bottle.
Why are we putting a balloon on our bottle? This is because the balloon will work to trap the air inside the bottle while still letting a tiny amount flow out. Because the yeast will be eating the sugar inside the juice, it will also be excreting alcohol and carbon dioxide. If we left the cap on the bottle, the pressure from the carbon dioxide would grow so strong that the bottle would explode or it would kill off all the yeast and the juice would never ferment and turn to wine.
The next steps for making homemade wine
Now that you’ve made the liquid concoction, the next steps are easy. You’ll want to store your almost-wine in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks. After a few hours, check on the bottle and see if the balloon has inflated. If it hasn’t, you can try very gently shaking the mixture or continue to wait. If the balloon has started to inflate, give yourself a pat on the back. The chemical reactions inside the liquid are beginning to take place and you’re on your way to becoming a real winemaker.
After 2-3 weeks, the yeast will have died off and stopped producing carbon dioxide. This will cause the balloon to deflate, and that means your wine is ready to drink. You have a few options for enjoying your wine:
Drink it as is: Your wine is ready to drink! Pour yourself a glass and enjoy your homemade wine. If you’re not going to drink the whole bottle, make sure you store it in the fridge - regardless if it’s red or white wine. The refrigeration will guarantee that bad bacteria don’t creep in. Pro tip: Don’t drink the sediment at the bottom of the bottle, it’s just nasty.
Bottle it for future enjoyment: If you’re planning to store your wine or maybe giving it as a gift - you can bottle it at this time. You might want to research how to properly bottle your wine so you can make sure it stays tasting fresh and delicious.
Final advice on making wine at home from store-bought juice
Although you may have followed these steps perfectly, there is always room for error. Somehow, something out of your control may have gone wrong and your wine could end up being spoiled. In these cases, look out for warning signs of wine-gone-bad and DO NOT drink the wine:
- You took off the balloon and your wine smells stanky.
- You took off the balloon and you’re just not sure if that’s stank or not.
- You let it sit out for a few days after taking off the balloon and now it smells stanky.
Otherwise, enjoy your homemade wine and cheers to you!
Interested in learning more about wine? Check out our other blog posts: