How to Make Easy Homemade Apple Wine

If this is your first batch or you are just looking for another method, this wine recipe if very easy and will yield consistent results. I've used it several times and none of the batches have went bad. Also, it's very cheap—$4-5 dollars will give you a gallon. Try getting that deal at the supermarket!


To start a basic batch, you will need the following:

  • 1 gallon of apple juice
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Yeast (more on that below)
  • A funnel
  • Balloon(s)
  • Optional ingredients include: raisins, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and brown sugar.


1. Pour off extra. To start, make sure to your funnel is very clean. Open the apple juice and pour out about two cups. This will make space for the sugar and any foam made during fermentation.

  • You can use any type of apple juice you want. (I chose the generic brand. I suppose the higher quality ingredients you put in the higher quality product you yield, but this is not going to be fine wine, so i would stick with the cheap stuff.)

2. Add sugar. Put in the funnel and pour the sugar in.

  • Yeast feeds on sugar and emits alcohol in a process called fermentation. The yeast will feed on the sugar in the wine until it runs out or the concentration of alcohol in the wine becomes too high and they die.
  • Apple juice is naturally sweet, so you could simply add only the yeast if you want a drier (less sweet) wine.
  • Or, add only the yeast then drink the wine after a few days, while the yeast is still working, for a wine with a lower alcohol content and carbonation (yeast emits carbon dioxide also). In this recipe I add sugar and wait for the fermentation to complete so I have a higher percentage ABV (alcohol by volume).
  • If you want the wine to be sweeter, you could add two or more cups of sugar.
  • If you are making a spiced cider, try using brown sugar.

3. Shake. Put the top on and shake it until the sugar is dissolved.

4. Add yeast/ Pour the yeast in, put the top on, and tilt the bottle upside down and right side up a few times.

  • You don't want to shake it too vigorously. The easiest way to get yeast is to buy bread yeast at the supermarket. It will be in the baking section. You can buy three packets for less that two dollars, or a small jar for about 5. You only need one of the packets to make the wine, but the small jar is by far the best deal if you plan on doing this often. Either way, put what yeast you don't use in the refrigerator, it will last up to a year or maybe more that way. So, add one packet or if you buy the jar add one teaspoon.
  • If you want to be a little more professional and make a better wine you can find a wine shop or go online and buy wine yeast for about $1-$2 per packet. If you do, use a white wine yeast for apple wine.

5. Add any optional ingredients.

  • If you have them on hand, add 10 or 20 raisins. Raisins contain nutrients that will help keep your yeast healthy.
  • If you want to make a spiced cider, you could try adding a cinnamon stick and/or one or two cloves.

Apple wine with plug and airlock.
Apple wine with plug and airlock.

6. Airlock it. Take off the cap, then poke a few holes in a balloon with a needle, then stretch it over the the mouth of the bottle.

  • As the wine ferments, it will release CO2. The balloon will allow the gas to escape while keeping unwanted organisms floating in the air out.
  • Another option is to go online or to a wine shop and buy an airlock for $1 or $2 and a plug for about $1. These can be used over and over and are overall do a better job, but are not necessary.

7. Wait. Put the wine in a room temperature (or above) place and wait 2-3 weeks.

  • After a day, the balloon should be "standing up" and small bubbles will be rising to the top of the wine.
  • After two or three weeks, the balloon should be limp again and there will be no bubble rising. It may only take one week. The wine probably won't smell great, but if it smells strongly of vinegar that means your wine got some outside organisms in it and has spoiled. If that is the case, don't drink it.
  • Also, I don't suggest putting it in a glass container because the fermentation may start back up and blow up the jar.
  • If it isn't sweet enough, add a little sugar. Just remember that this has a good chance of re-starting fermentation, which is good if you want a sparkling (fizzy) wine.

You can now enjoy your own homemade wine!

How to Make Easy Apple Cider (Part 1)

How to Make Easy Apple Cider (Part 2)

More by this Author

Comments 17 comments

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

The water that you put in the airlock will keep things floating in the air out of your wine that can cause it to spoil. The balloon will not stop this. But I've heard of balloons being used successfully also.

rick combe profile image

rick combe 4 years ago from USA Author

I used balloons for my first few batches of wine and they worked well, though I have long since switched to airlocks. Airlocks are definitely the best way to go if you plan on doing more than a couple of "experiment" batches.

Jason 4 years ago

How strong is it?

rick combe profile image

rick combe 4 years ago from USA Author

I didn't test the alcohol level, but based on taste I would say the batch I made for this article was somewhere between 8-12% ABV. Other batches of apple wine with more sugar have came out over 15% ABV (by taste) extra sugar, wine nutrients, and a longer fermentation time will make a stronger wine.

Farmer Rachel profile image

Farmer Rachel 4 years ago from Minnesota

Hi Rick! I've never tried apple wine - just cider. Which do you think retains more "appley" flavor? This is a great hub. I love simple recipes for homebrew. And btw, I've used balloons, plastic wrap and condoms as airlocks and never had any problems. Using a yeast starter rather than pitching dormant yeast seems to help, as the yeast can get ahead of any yucky bacteria or other nasties that might be floating in the balloon. :)

rick combe profile image

rick combe 3 years ago from USA Author

Hey Rachel! Cider is absolutely the best way to go. This juice wine isn't going to win any awards, I just put it up because it's a simple and mostly foolproof way for people to get started making their own wine. You are right about the yeast starter, I've started dabbling in beer brewing recently and found that using a starter yields better results with beer too.

Sonya Yielding profile image

Sonya Yielding 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Could this also been done with peach juice, or a white grape/peach mix of juices?

rick combe profile image

rick combe 3 years ago from USA Author

I don't see why not. Go for it!

Paul Hodge 3 years ago

If making muscadine wine do I also need that much sugar ? My 1st try at homemade wine will be this weekend. Thx for the post here, its really informative.

Austin c 3 years ago

hi, close to the end of my fermentation i have noticed a strange type of residue at the top of the bottle do you have any idea what it is and is it bad?

rick combe profile image

rick combe 3 years ago from USA Author

Paul, the answer is probably yes. A quick search will yield several muscadine wine recipes.

Austin, can you describe the residue? If the wine smells and tastes fine then odds are it's ok.

Jon C51194 2 years ago

Is filtering needed after fermentation is done?

rick combe profile image

rick combe 2 years ago from USA Author

No. The best way to make your wine clearer is to age it then siphon it into another container, being careful not to disturb the sediment.

TheWineBrewer 2 years ago

I’ve got a great video on making apple wine here:

Henry Jolskov 2 years ago

I was highly impressed it turned out. It was real tasty. I made my own juice from fresh apples and used that. I didn't know how it would turn out so I only made a quart. This time I plan on making a gallon and make it spiced.

Beer Brewing Guy 21 months ago

Baker's yeast is not a good idea. It has been bred to make bread, so it produces lots of CO2 and little alcohol. And it does not have much tolerance for alcohol, so it will be killed quickly by the alcohol it does produce. Chances are you'll end up with a low alcohol and overly sweet wine, due to the unfermented sugar present.

Beer-brewing yeasts are better, as they can withstand more alcohol, but they may add odd tastes to the wine. If you're buying from a brewing supply store, they should have proper wine yeasts as well.

Wine yeast costs about the same as the bread-making sort (some are even from the same companies, like Red Star) but will have much greater alcohol tolerance and should not add any odd flavors to the wine.

Ethalfrida 2 months ago

This wine is so good I couldn't believe it. I knew it would be drinkable but it is beyond that. Smooth and tasty and similar to a nice affordable off the shelf product. Because the apple juice was already sweet I only added 1/4 cup. The result was delicious but I decided to add another 1/4 cup to the finished product and it went to a whole new level in taste.

Instead of the balloon I used an airlock because I couldn't find any balloons without talc in them. Or whatever that powder is. Then another brewer told me to use vodka or another alcohol in the airlock because using water could possible carry oxygen into the brew which would make it spoil. And because I had two glass jars they were used instead of the plastic juice container.

I will be making this wine over and over. It is just unbelievable and exactly what I was looking for.

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