I made my own wine from the comfort of my home. It took a lot less time than I expected and it tasted great!
Homemade Wine Tutorial
It can be just as fun to brew homemade wine as to drink it. Brewing wine can fill you with knowledge and pride and is a whole lot of fun. It's also not nearly as difficult as it looks. Read on to find out how to make your own delicious wine. This recipe is pretty hard to mess up and only produces about 2.5 liters/quarts roughly, which, in my humble opinion, is the perfect starting amount.
Though this is a winemaking tutorial, if you want to get into making beer, I still would suggest starting here. Making wine is easier than making beer, and the following recipe is pretty inexpensive. All the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store, which means no need to buy any special brewing equipment, special yeast, or some expensive kit. And if you're a smart shopper, I would be willing to bet you can get it all (if you don't already have some things) for $15 or less.
What You Need for Making Wine
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar
- 1 packet yeast (No need for anything fancy: Fleischmann's ActiveDry works just fine. You can find these packets in the baking aisle.)
- 1/2 gallon grape juice (This is where your own preferences come in. If you want to make a red wine, buy purple grape juice. For white wine, buy white grape juice. And if you want to make something interesting try any other kind of fruit juice that catches your fancy. Important note: Make sure the juice is pasteurized and has no preservatives, which will kill the yeast.)
- Measuring cup
- Balloon (If you can't find any balloons at the grocery store, a condom works in a pinch: just make sure it's unlubricated!)
Editor Note: The rubber and latex can leach into the grape juice. A suitable alternative would be a winemaking airlock.
Instructions: Making Wine the Easy Way
- Wash everything thoroughly in hot water. This is basically the only thing you can do wrong. If your brew gets contaminated, you can't drink it.
- Pour out between 3/4 and 1 cup of the grape juice. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but trust me it must be done to make room for the ingredients you'll be adding.
- Add 1.5 cups of sugar into the grape juice. If you want the wine to be less alcoholic, add 1 cup; and if you want the wine to be more alcoholic, add 2 cups. Then screw the cap back on tight and shake that bottle like you're doing some crazy dance from the '80s and you really want to impress your date. Do this for about a minute, or until you think the sugar is pretty well dissolved.
- Add one yeast packet. You don't need to use the funnel for this but you can if you want. There's no need to be stingy with yeast—it's the cheapest part of this whole project so don't try to make it last.
- Wait 5 minutes. Give the yeast time to moisten. After that do another vigorous shake for 10 or 15 seconds and be excited that you're almost done with the hard part.
- Place the balloon over the top of the bottle. The bottle should be uncapped and it should look like the picture below. Then poke 1–2 pin-sized holes in the bottom third of the balloon (area closest to the top of the bottle).
The balloon works as an airlock. If you want to get fancy, you can purchase a real, professional airlock online for cheap, but it's also possible to brew wine without one. I also take the extra step of using fishing line to tie the balloon to the bottle just in case, but it's not necessary.
When the little yeasty beasties are inside, they eat the sugar and poop out carbon dioxide and alcohol. We want the alcohol, but not carbon dioxide. If we capped the bottle, the pressure inside the bottle would build until either the bottle exploded or the carbon dioxide killed the yeast. I don't think you want to find out which would happen first, so I wouldn't try it if I were you!
What's Next? Wait for the Homemade Wine to Ferment
Take your bottle of soon-to-be wine, and store it in a cool dark place (the yeast like it there). After a couple of hours, check and see if your balloon has inflated. If it hasn't, you might try gently sloshing the mixture or just continue waiting. If your balloon does look inflated (or is inflating) then you're well on your way to a marvelous batch of wine. Just keep it stored in a cool dark place. Over the next couple of weeks, the wine will bubble, and biochemical reactions will take place.
What Goes Up, Must Come Down: Drinking and Storing Homemade Wine
After a few weeks, the yeast will eventually die off and thus stop producing carbon dioxide, causing the balloon to deflate. At that point, you're almost done! Just take the bottle to your kitchen and decide whether you would prefer to either:
- Drink it as is. At this step, your wine is ready to drink. Just pour yourself a glass and enjoy. However, make sure you don't drink the very bottom where all that sediment is. That stuff is nasty. I also advocate refrigerating it. It's not strictly necessary, but if you're not going to drink it all at once, it's a good way to make sure some bad bacteria don't get to it.
- Bottle it. For this, you're going to need an empty wine bottle and a whole other tutorial.
Enjoy Your Homemade Wine!
Warning Signs With Homemade Wine
- If, when you take off that balloon your wine smells nauseous, DON'T DRINK IT.
- If you're not sure, DON'T DRINK IT.
- If it smelled fine when you took off the balloon, but not after you let it sit for a few days un-refrigerated, DON'T DRINK IT.
I hope this helped some first-time brewers!
Making Wine From Store-Bought Juice
Final Words of Warning
If you are under the legal drinking age of your country/region, please redirect yourself away from the page. If you are underage and follow the directions on this article, be aware that you are breaking some pretty major laws.
© 2012 tcknight
Casey on June 02, 2020:
Would the alcohol content be stronger with no yeast or maybe a half a pack instead of a whole pack
Dz on May 24, 2020:
Hi i would like to know what happened with my wine, when i put yeast and sugar, the baloon was inflated for 1 day and that's all. Now is deflated. What shouls i do? Leave it, or add sugar, or rank it.... Thank you
Jessalynn Jones on May 18, 2020:
Great article! We made some and it was awesome! I have a blog about simple living and organization and I wanted to write a blog about things I’ve learned to make and do while under quarantine. Would it be ok if I linked back to your article in it?
Leena on May 08, 2020:
And inyour video i found how to brew using yeast . Thanks for the recipe i will try your method next time ..
Leena on May 08, 2020:
Today we prepared a red wine first time .
But without yeast just to check.
We washed black grapes 5 to 6 times with salty hot water.
Then added required water and kept for boiling 40 to 50 minutes in slow heat and kept to cool for 20 hours . Then added 1and a half cup sugar plus some black pepper powder. And squeezed with hands for half an hour the pulp Nd filtered concentrated black grapes red wine .
Valelrie on April 16, 2020:
Should have added 2 cups of sugar. Is there any thing I can add to sweeten my first patch of wine?
Rachel on April 01, 2020:
Thanks for sharing this, and also for the under age statement. This mom of an older teen appreciates that!!!
jorge tatualla on November 05, 2017:
Nice,l ll try it
Brick on September 20, 2017:
I took some tubing and put it through the cap of the juice. Then I put the other end of the tube in a tall Tupperware dish, creating a cheap airlock. Then I let it "burp" once in a while by taking the lid off and swishing it around a bit. Worked out great.
Holly on September 17, 2017:
What if after a week my balloon hasn't inflated????
Ron on August 26, 2017:
It's all good
Kelice on August 16, 2017:
Can i pour more grape juice on a wine that is already made?
Ron on July 22, 2017:
It's all good
Joal on July 06, 2017:
How to do this process with fresh grapes?
Ruth Gleason on April 15, 2017:
I just made some and can not wait to try it! Step 6 tells about the pin hole pokes! My neighbor told me about the "fake wine" as she calls it. I gave her a 6 gallone wine making kit my husband bought me for my birthday this last year so she could make some wine with her grapes. Was he trying to tell me something? No it was the wine bottle glass that he gave me for xmas the year before that was his clue! hahaha What a jokester NOT!
Gayle on January 22, 2017:
where is the tutorial on bottling wine? What's so difficult about transferring it from the Growler to a bottle. And is it really a "have to" to refrigerate it after bottling it?
John on December 03, 2016:
How long does it normally take to start bubbling? I followed the directions perfectly and nothing is happening after an hour!
Kat on October 13, 2016:
Is the yeast supposed to disolve when you shake it
Mae on September 30, 2016:
I need a simple grape wine recipe that uses fresh grapes.
Ole on October 23, 2015:
6. "Place the balloon over the top of the bottle. The bottle should be uncapped and it should look like the picture below. Then poke 1-2 pin-sized holes in the bottom third of the balloon (area closest to the top of the bottle)."
No he didn't...
Cyndi on January 13, 2015:
Great tutorial. I just made mine and it was so easy. Can you please share a tutorial on bottling the wine?
junjimalaza on January 08, 2015:
you kind of forgot to mention to prick the balloon with a needle just enough for the air to pass through or else the balloon will explode or pop out.
Paul, it will taste great if you follow what is said here.
Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on November 04, 2014:
I'm curious, does this taste any good?
Taylor Bishop of Knife and Lens on June 25, 2014:
I'll be trying this soon, you explained it way better than most! I also love that everyone else uses balloons and you have a better idea haha
chan mung on January 06, 2014:
Take one bowl add grapes juice add lime add acid then mix add phenol then put ice then drink
hernawan indonesia on May 29, 2013:
can you explain how much (matrix/gram/ml) for every litre solution of this method?