Have you ever thought about making your own wine? Can you make your own wine? Is it legal to make your own wine?
Those are all great questions. Of course, the first question only you know the answer to. If you’ve had the inkling to try your hand at home made wine making, don’t think you’re alone. Many others have come before and many more will follow.
Yes, you can make your own wine. Thousands of people have done this and in fact probably do it every day. Is it legal? Well, that depends on where you live. That is something you will have to investigate for yourself. The only specs we can supply with reasonable comfort is that if you are in the United States you must be at least 21 years of age to participate in making and/or sampling.
The art of winemaking comes mainly in your selection of ingredients. Rich fruits that begin with purity and richness will lend themselves to a richer wine. Some will argue there is more of a science here than an art. But, many of those who have nurtured legendary samplings through hundreds of years of family heirlooms can tell you the art has its place as well.
Selecting the right climate, soil, watering source, and types of ingredients (grapes, strawberries, etc.) as well as the technique and transitional phase timings are all part of the variable “art” parts of wine making. Whichever side you believe and choose to toss your hat on, inevitably the tasty sampling is the end goal for art or for science.
This too seems as variable as the ingredients themselves. Wine making can be accomplished in your grandma’s kitchen as well as in the most modern winery in the world. The differences are the technique and the tools. Will the wines vary in taste? Most definitely, but then again…they vary in taste anyway.
So whether it’s about the winery, vats, and cellars or milk jugs, stock pots, and under the kitchen sink the process in detail can vary quite a lot. The process in purpose is all the same. Though timings may vary, intent is the same and the result is a wine you have made.
Art & Process Ingredients
The list of ingredients you will require for your wine making adventure will vary as widely as the end result. Depending on what you are looking for in your outcome will be how you select your fruits and other concoctions to add to your “winery.”
Below we will cover kind of a simple list for a home set up shop. Some of these can vary so be sure to investigate the best choice for your type of wine. The ingredients are what makes you wine so choose these wisely. This first list will be for the “food” type of ingredients. We’ll follow that up with a list for tools.
- Fruit (fresh, frozen, frozen juice)
- Sulfites (yes / no)
- Campden tablet (sulfur-based)
- Tartaric acid
- Yeast (wine yeast is better than baker’s – flavor more palatable and less strong)
Now here is your list of potential tools or hardware:
- Straining materials (cheesecloth, coffee filters, nylon bag)
- Plastic pail
- Potato masher
- Heating element (stove, burner, etc.)
- Siphoning hoses
- Fermentation lock (balloon,
- Straight pin
Now you can get much fancier than this for sure. You can order your own home wine making kits, testing kits, presses, special filters, bottles, and more. Your home winery can be as simple or complex as you desire to make it.
Don’t be afraid. Just be sure it’s legal in your area and then experiment to your heart’s content. Below we’ve included a little something different to test your taste buds with. Dandelion and strawberry are two fine wines with a little bit of different kick than what many are used to.
One of the secrets of good wine is of course time. You should preplan for the wait because the wait will make all the difference. Another very important component is to make sure all of your utensils are sterilized. This means ALL of them. Pans, bowls, bottles, funnels, etc.
7 pounds strawberries (fresh is best) stoneware bowl or crock
2 gallons of boiling water linen cloth
Juice from medium-large lemon
5 pounds of sugar
- Wash and hull your strawberries placing them into your clean, sterile bowl for mashing.
- Thoroughly mash the strawberries.
- Pour in boiling water, lemon juice, and stir for 2-3 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with the linen cloth.
- Place in a cool, dark area for about a week.
Week one end:
- Strain through double cheesecloth and discard pulp.
- Add sugar to the strawberry liquid and stir until dissolved.
- Pour into sterilized crock and let stand for another week, stirring once daily.
Week two end:
- Pour liquid into sterilized gallon containers preferably glass but can be plastic in a pinch and apply fermentation locks.
- Can use balloon with a few holes poked into it
- Now leave for about 3 months or so in same cool, dark area.
- You will know wine is ready when it’s clear and the bubbling has ended.
- Pour final product glass sterilized wine bottles and cork.
- Age product for at least 1 year.
Your end product will be a quite yummy tasting strawberry wine. You should get a little over 2 gallons from this recipe.
Dandelion Wine – First Steps in Winemaking
Dandelion wines have been around for centuries and can be made rather easily as compared to some other brews. The Dandelion lends itself and flavor well to a nice combination of choices from simple dandelion to blackberry and watermelon combinations. About the only thing limiting what you can do with this precious and plentiful commodity is your imagination and want to.
- 1 gallon of water
- 2 quarts of dandelion petals
- Pick around midday when flowers are blossomed in full
- Rinse/clean and pull petals from flowers so only measuring the petals
- 4 medium oranges
- Wine yeast
- About 2 ¾ pounds or 2 lb. 11 oz. sugar
- Pick and prepare your flowers as directed above.
- Bring gallon of water to boil.
- Pour boiling water over the flower petals.
- Cover with a cloth and set in cool, dark area for 2 days.
- No more than 2 days.
- No less than 2 days.
- Bring mixture back to a boil.
- Add orange peelings of four oranges (no pith)
- Boil for 10 minutes
- Add sugar to a crock or pail
- Strain dandelion/orange mixture through muslin or double cheesecloth into a crock/pail
- Stir until sugar is all dissolved
- Once mixture is fully cooled, add juice from the four oranges
- Add the yeast
- Pour into gallon size wine bottles
- Cap with fermentation cap or balloon with 2-3 pin holes in it
- Allow fermentation to completely occur 2-3 weeks (no more bubbles)
- Siphon off into clean sterilized glass wine bottles and cork
Time and success:
- Age for a minimum of 6 months.
- A year is best.