How to Make Easy Homemade Wine (Red or White)

Updated on November 5, 2014

Homemade Wine Tutorial

Make your own delicious wine at home!
Make your own delicious wine at home!

How to Make Homemade Wine

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 wine-making 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.

Ingredients for Homemade Wine

Make delicious wine at home with these common and easily found ingredients.
Make delicious wine at home with these common and easily found ingredients.

Ingredients for Homemade Wine

Things you will need:

1. Between 1 1/2 and 2 cups of sugar.

2. Measuring cup.

3. Funnel.

4. 1 packet of yeast. No need for anything fancy: Fleischmann's ActiveDry works just fine. You can find these packets in the baking aisle.

5. 1/2 gallon of 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 of other fruit juice that catches your fancy. Important note: Make sure the juice is pasteurized and has no preservatives, which will kill the yeast.

6. Balloon. If you can't find any balloons at the grocery store, a condom works in a pinch: just make sure it's unlubricated!).

The Easy Way to Make Homemade Wine!

  1. 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.
  2. 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,
  3. Add 1.5 cups of sugar into the grape juice. If you want the wine to be less alcoholic do 1 cup, more alcoholic 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Wait 5 minutes. Give the yeast time to moisten. After that do another '80s yeast shake for 10 or 15 seconds and be excited that you're almost done with the hard part.
  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).

The balloon works as an air lock. If you want to get fancy, you can purchase a real, professional airlock on Ebay 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 the 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 weeks the wine will bubble, and biochemical reactions will take place.

The wine after a few weeks
The wine after a few weeks

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:

  1. 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. Or, you can
  2. Bottle it. For this your going to need an empty wine bottle and a whole other tutorial.

Enjoy Your Homemade Wine!

Homemade wine tastes better!
Homemade wine tastes better!

Warning Signs with Home Brewed 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.

Hope this helped some first-time brewers!

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.

Questions & Answers


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        jorge tatualla 5 months ago

        Nice,l ll try it

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        Brick 7 months ago

        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.

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        Holly 7 months ago

        What if after a week my balloon hasn't inflated????

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        Ron 8 months ago

        It's all good

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        Kelice 8 months ago

        Can i pour more grape juice on a wine that is already made?

      • profile image

        Ron 9 months ago

        It's all good

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        Joal 9 months ago

        How to do this process with fresh grapes?

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        Ruth Gleason 12 months ago

        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!

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        Gayle 15 months ago

        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?

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        John 16 months ago

        How long does it normally take to start bubbling? I followed the directions perfectly and nothing is happening after an hour!

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        Kat 18 months ago

        Is the yeast supposed to disolve when you shake it

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        Mae 19 months ago

        I need a simple grape wine recipe that uses fresh grapes.

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        Ole 2 years ago


        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...

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        Cyndi 3 years ago

        Great tutorial. I just made mine and it was so easy. Can you please share a tutorial on bottling the wine?

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        junjimalaza 3 years ago

        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 profile image

        Paul Edmondson 3 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        I'm curious, does this taste any good?

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        Taylor Bishop of Knife and Lens 3 years ago

        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

        Taylor Bishop

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        chan mung 4 years ago

        Take one bowl add grapes juice add lime add acid then mix add phenol then put ice then drink

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        hernawan indonesia 4 years ago

        can you explain how much (matrix/gram/ml) for every litre solution of this method?