How To Start Making Wine
By Ed Kraus
If you've been toying with the idea of trying your hand at wine making, delay no longer. Go right ahead! By doing so you will be joining thousands of happy people who have already discovered this intriguing and rewarding hobby. Home wine making is a pastime that truly brings its own rewards.
WINE MAKING - A DECEPTIVELY EASY PROCESS
Wine making at home is a deceptively easy process. In reality, all you are doing is putting together either fruit or concentrate along with a few other ingredients into a container and allowing Mother Nature to do what comes natural.Your real contribution to the wine making process is making sure that Mother Nature is given a fair opportunity to do her part. This is done by putting together the right ingredients in the proper proportions and making sure those ingredients are in an environment suitable for a healthy fermentation.
FINDING A FRUIT WINE RECIPE
There are many, many home wine making recipes available that will guide you to the right ingredients and their correct amounts. And they're no different than following a cookbook recipe. Wine making books are a good source for recipes and general wine making information. There are many wine making books listed on this site that offer and an endless array of wine making recipes for making wine from apples, blackberries, strawberries.... You may also want to take a look at the wine recipe chart listed on this web site. You can use these wine making recipes to make wine by using our 7 Easy Steps To Making Wine. You can also make excellent wine from grapes at home. Wilder grapes like Muscadine and Fox will make wine just like the more domesticated grape varieties do. You can find more information on our web site about making wine from grapes. If you have trouble finding a wine making recipe to suite your taste contact us and tell us what kind of wine recipe you are looking for and we'll see how we can help you.
MAKING WINE FROM CONCENTRATE
There are lots of concentrated wine making juices available. They all come with recipes and directions right on the package. Most come with all the wine making ingredients called for, such as our California Connoisseur line. Others are concentrated juices by themselves which provide directions and a listing of the other basic ingredients you will need. One example of this is our Sun Cal Vineyards line of concentrates. In either case, these concentrated wine making juices are extremely easy to use and make exceptional homemade wines, and they are available all throughout the year. So no waiting for fruit to be in season. You can find more information on our web site about making wine from concentrated juices.
GETTING STARTED WITH A STARTER KIT
You may want to consider getting a complete wine making starter kit. These kits include all the home wine making equipment and ingredients you will need to get started making wine from concentrate or fresh fruit. One of the main advantages to starting with a complete wine making kit such as the SunCal Necessities Box or the California Connoisseur Necessities Box is that they come with directions that apply specifically to the supplies and ingredients that are in front of you. In other words, the directions are very explicit. They take you by the hand and guide you through each step with little to no guess-work; a pleasant way to take on any new endeavor. You can find more information on our web site about making wine using a starter kit.
WHAT WINE MAKING INGREDIENTS WILL I NEED?
There is a core group of home wine making ingredients that are usually called for in most all fruit and concentrate wine recipes. Each of these ingredients plays a specific and distinctly different role in the wine making process. Here is a brief description of what these ingredients do.
- Yeast Nutrient: This is not yeast, but rather, energy for the yeast. It insures that your yeast will ferment and make alcohol in sufficient quantities.
- Yeast Energizer: Used in place of Yeast Nutrient when fermenting fruits that severely lack the set of nutrients yeast expects. It has a more extensive array of nutrients.
- Pectic Enzyme: This is added to help break down the fruit during fermentation. By using it you will extract more flavor and body from the fruit. It will also help to insure that your wine will clear up successfully.
- Acid Blend: This is used to help control the sharpness of the wine. Many wines will not have enough acid on their own making the wine taste flat or flabby. By adding Acid Blend you can correct the deficiency.
- Wine Tannin: This is the zest of the fruit in powder form. It is added to increase the character of the wine and to aid in its clarification after fermentation. It also helps the wine to take better advantage of aging during storage.
- Wine Yeast: This is the stuff that actually does all the work. It is what turns the sugar in the juice into precious alcohol.
- Campden Tablets: These tablets are added before fermentation and again before bottling. They insure that your wine does not spoil and remains fresh tasting up to the point of consumption.
If you have these above basic ingredients then you will be able to make wine from 95% of the recipes you run across.
One of the things that makes wine making so attractive is that you don't have to spend a ton of money to get started, and if you already are buying wine at the store it can actually save you money. But there are some fundamental pieces of equipment you will need before making your first batch.Obviously you will need a wine fermentation container for fermenting the juice. You will also need to be able to fit the container with an air-lock. This is to allow gases to escape without letting stuff back into the wine during fermentation. And, you will need some hose for siphoning your wine off of the sediment. All very simple items. A straining bag is also very handy when making wine from fresh fruit. It is used for easy removal of the pulp during fermentation. You can leave the bag in the fermentation, filled with pulp, and simply pull it out at the appropriate time. Beyond this you will also want to get a hydrometer. The hydrometer will allow you to determine the alcohol level of your wine and it will help you to track the progress of your wine's fermentation. An invaluable tool! There may be other items that may pique your interest, but these are the basics of what you will need to get started.
ADDITIONAL WINE MAKING INFO
Here are a few articles on our web site that may be of interest to you. They are more specific articles that involve different areas of wine making.
- Making Wine With Fruits
- Making Wine With Grapes
- Making Wine With Concentrates
- Wine Making With A Starter Kit
- Concentrates Versus Grapes
- 7 Easy Steps To Making Wine
NEED MORE DETAILED INFORMATION?
We also have an endless listing of helpful articles that cover more specific topics on wine making at home. If you're looking for an answer to a wine making question, or are just interested in gaining more in-depth knowledge about wine making at home then take a look at our articles page.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.