There are many misconceptions and misguided assumptions about making wine at home. Most all of them are perpetuated by individuals who never even tasted or made homemade wine. Others are simply born out of the mystique surrounding the commercial wine industry.
How can something so sophisticated be made at home?
Here are the ones that we run into the most. The ones that flat-out drive us silly every time we hear them.
- Homemade Wines Don't Taste That Good. Without question, you can easily make wines that are just as good, if not better, than the wines you find on the store shelf. And not with practice, but with your very first batch.I can't tell you how many times I've done side-by-side, blind tastings with a challenging friend or an acquaintance between a glass of wine made from one of our wine ingredient kits and a glass of store bought wine, only to have the homemade wine win – hands-down.I'm not going to name any names, but I'm not talking about doing a blind tasting against the $8 stuff. I'm talking about higher dollar stuff that you'd buy to take to a dinner party, etc. Wouldn't it be nicer to take your own personalized wine gift, that you made, to the party instead.
- Homemade Wine Takes A Lot Of Time To Make. Learning how to make your own wine is much easier than most individuals can even begin to imagine. It's deceptively easy. There are a lot of wine making products on the market today that make it as simple as following a few directions.And, it doesn't take that long. You can be bottling your first batch of wine in as little as 28 days. And as far as the time it takes out of your day, I'd say it doesn't get any worse than the time it takes to bottle the wine – an hour to get it start, another half-hour to siphon it to a second container, etc.
- Making Homemade Wine Requires A Lot Of Expensive Equipment. This may have been partially true 20 or 30 years ago. Back then, depending on what type of wine you were making, you might need a grape crusher to crush the fruit and a grape press to press the fruit.Today it's different. You don't need to crush and press the fruit if you don't want to. You can buy it already done for you. Now there are hundreds of wine making juices packaged up and ready for use from all over the world. You can get Cabernet grape from France, Shiraz grape from Australia, Merlot grape from California... The choices are endless.
- Homemade Wine Spoils Easy. Absolutely not. Homemade wine keeps just as good as commercially made wine. There is no difference in the keeping abilities between the two. There is no reason for one to keep better than the other. They are both made the same way from the same basic wine making materials. One's just on a smaller scale than the other.I currently have several bottles of homemade wine that have been in my cellar aging since 1998 and 2002 and I would not hesitate to drink them myself or serve them to my friends and family.
- Making Homemade Wine Is Illegal. Wrong! Ever since October 14, 1978 it has been perfectly legal for Americans to make their own wine and beer. This is when President Jimmy Carter signed into law legislation introduced by Senator Alan Cranston of California.You can make up to 100 gallons per year. If you live in a household with another adult, you can make up to 200 gallons per year. It can be for your own personal consumption or to hand out has wine making gifts to friend and relatives. Just make sure you don't sell it. That would be illegal!
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.