Monday, November 5, 2012

How To Make Homemade Wine At Home – Start Here!

How To Make Wine At Home – Start Here!


So, you want to learn how to make wine at home and don’t know where to start….

I recommend that you start making wine at home, you should probably start from a wine making kit.   That is a great and easy starting point.   As long as you can follow directions and have patients, you will get great results.

Caution:  Wine making is addictive…   once you start, you will want to make more and more…  It is fun!  ….   You will amaze your friends…   and it is easy… 

But, I know what you are thinking….  I don’t know if I will like the wine..   I think it is harder than I can handle, and I don’t want to sink a lot of money into it…  

Don’t worry…   I was there to…    If you could bake a cake from a cake mix, you can easily make wine from a kit.   It just takes longer…

You will need some basic wine making equipment.   That equipment can be used over and over again…   The initial cost for a basic winemaking equipment kit is about $100 US. 

But consider this… 

With what I am going to recommend you start with, you will spend about $175 - $250 total for both the equipment and a basic wine kit…   That will yield you about 25 bottles of wine..   This wine, in my opinion, will be comparable (of better!) to wine that costs $10 to $15 a bottle in the store.   So, at $10 a bottle, you will get approximately $250 or more of wine…

After that first wine kit, you will reuse the same wine making equipment.   So, if a wine kit costs you about $40, and you get 25 bottles of wine, each bottle will cost you $1.60 a bottle,  not including the cost of the actual glass wine bottle, which I encourage you to reuse your bottles, so that cost is free.

Of course, you can get more premium quality wine kits for about $100 US, but even at that cost you are still under $4 a bottle….

So, first you need to get a basic wine making equipment kit….

This is what you most likely would start with:

A Wine Making Equipment Kit includes:

  • 7.8 gallon primary fermenter with drilled lid and airlock. – This is a plastic bucket that is food grade with a top that is drilled to accept an airlock.
  • 6-gallon glass carboy with rubber stopper ( I know they sell plastic ones, but I would recommend going for the glass one.
  • A racking tube with tubing
  • Bottle filler
  • Twin lever corker to cork your bottles
  • Triple scale hydrometer
  • B-Brite Cleanser
  • Wine bottle brush
  • Long Handled Spoon
  • Carboy Brush
  • Airlock

That is the basics…   But I recommend that you get a little bit more than that….

  • Potassium Metabisulphate – to sanitize things
  • Carboy Handle – so you don’t drop your glass carboy and have shards of broken glass all over the place.


You can also get all of these things at your local homebrew shop.    

Next, you will need a wine kit….  For your first kit, I recommend two options.

The Higher Cost Wine Kit Option

You can pick a high end wine ingredient kit that costs a bit more, but will give excellent results, like this one:

The Lower Cost Wine Kit Option

Now, for the low cost and surprisingly great option:

These kits are excellent for beginning wine makers
Vino Italiano Ingredient Wine Kit.

I would recommend going with what you like, but I would personally recommend the Rosso Magnifico Kit, or the Merlot Kit.   If you like Italian Red Wines, you will like these…

You may want to get some medium toasted oak from your local homebrew shop to kick up the Vino Italiano Kit a notch…..   Highly Recommended, but not necessary.

Now… Here is the deal…  With amazon, you will get Free Shipping!!!!!   FREE SHIPPING on that order…  It may cost you $44 US for the kit, but free shipping…  and if you do the subscribe and save, you will get it for even cheaper!  Sign up for a 6 month Subscribe and Save.  If you don’t think the wine is good, you can cancel the subscription before the next one comes….    I don’t think you will, however, want to cancel…  Now, I need to also tell you I have no affiliation with Amazon or Vino Italiano….  

Ok.   Now you have your wine kit and the wine making equipment….   Here is what you need to do:

1)      Clean everything really well using the b-brite cleanser…  Then sanitize with  a metabisulphate solution made by mixing the powder with some water… I make a gallon of this solution and save it for months in a screw cap jug.
2)      Make the kit precisely following the directions with these important exceptions, if you are making the Vino Italiano Kit and ONLY if you are making the Vino Italiano Kit:

Vino Italiano Wine Kit Exceptions

Make the kit to 5 Gallons instead of 6……   Put the concentrate in the bucket, but only fill with water to the 5 Gallon mark…  The Specific Gravity Reading on the Hydrometer will be a little high, but that’s good!  Your wine will be about 13 to 14 percent Alcohol.  

Optional Exception:  Add about ¼ cup of toasted oak chips from your homebrew shop to the carboy before you transfer from the bucket into the carboy…   Let the wood chips stay on the wine until you rack (transfer) again.    Now, I don’t like overly oak flavor in my wine… Most American wines I find over oaked… But a little oak add something…

Note: other brand high end kits that come with oak, I half the oak in those kits.

Another exception for all wine kits….   Age your bottles for 3 to 6 months before trying some, or bulk age in the carboy for 6 months before bottling.    If doing the bulk aging, you will need to top up the carboy with additional wine, especially if making the Vino Italiano kit, since you are making 5 gallons of wine in a 6 gallon carboy….  Either that, or get a 5 gallon carboy to bulk age in. 

Bottom line is you need to age the wine…   Just because the kit says it is finished in 4 weeks, doesn’t mean that you should drink it in 4 weeks.   Age it at least 3 months after bottling.   6 months, even better… you will be delighted with the results…  

You will need to have realistic expectations, however. The Vino Italiano kit will not make you a $40 bottle of wine.   It will, however, make you a $10-15 bottle of wine.   If you are looking for the $40 bottle of wine, you need a higher end kit…   The best wine I ever made came from Mosti Mondiale renaissance kit called Rosso D’avola.    This kit, while it needed at least 6 months or more aging, was better than some wines that cost $100 a bottle, in my opinion…

Welcome to the wonderful world of winemaking! 

More to come…   Especially how to get FREE WINE! 

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