Becoming a master winemaker at home

( Granted, the production of alcohol is probably not the highest task on your to-do list, but once you’ve gotten the hang of being a homesteader, you might decide that you can take a break once in a while from the daily grind with, say, a few sips of wine they you’ve made yourself.

There are a number of wine recipes that you can try, each of which can be “tweaked” to form your own unique recipe, even if you’re using a common ingredient (like grapes, of course, or apples) as the basis of your wine.

The good news is, winemaking is not difficult and given the right equipment almost effortless once you actually begin the fermentation process. E.C. Kraus, a leader in home wine- and beer-making equipment, has published a 7-step process on the company’s web site (here) that will get you started making fruit-based wines.

That said, the best step-by-step instruction we found online was located (where else?) here, at 

Also, Countryfarm Lifestyles has also published an easy 7-step winemaking process.


Once you select and prepare your fruit(s), secure the additional ingredients and obtain a fermentation container, you’re pretty much good to go. In fact, you don’t even need actual fruit – just fruit juice, as these videos show (here & here). Here is a great recipe for an apple wine.

Now, as a new winemaker you can probably use some good tips to help you avoid making bad batches. You know as someone living the homesteading lifestyle that experience is the best teacher, but if you can avoid some pitfalls right off the bad, that will put you at an advantage.

As noted by Winemaker Magazine here are seven tips that will get you started on the right foot:

— If you’ve bought a winemaking kit, make sure to read all of the instructions (that should be obvious but…)

— Make sure to keep your wine preparation area clean – and that includes washing your hands before preparation begins

— Keep a record of what you’re doing; the magazine recommends writing these items down:

* The date and time you started your fermentation and the type of kit

* Your measurements (specific gravity, temperature)

* The temperature of your fermentation area

* Anything else that might potentially affect the fermentation

— Make sure to add the correct amounts of ingredients (water especially)

— Don’t skimp on the “rigorous stirring” of ingredients, so they will be adequately mixed

— Keep constant fermentation temperatures

— Time is the magic ingredient, so allow the fermentation process (which can take up to six months) to fully mature.

Along with winemaking tips you should be aware of the most common winemaking mistakes, and you can find 10 of them here at RJS Craft Winemaking.

Finally, there are some legal restrictions and rules to homebrewing, which is what making wine at home is called. The link above has some general rules and restrictions, but if you have further questions, this primer from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will help you out.

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