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Make your own wine in 10 steps

Make your own wine in 10 steps

Making your own wine is satisfying, fun and also very tasty. In this article, we'll take you step-by-step through how to assemble and make your own wine. If you are using your own grapes from your backyard or vineyard, you can begin as soon as the grapes are ripe, generally speaking not later than early autumn.

Apart from blue and white grapes, there are many grape varieties to choose from, depending on where you live. Whatever grapes you want to use for your wine - the general techniques, supplies and ingredients mostly remain the same.

With the step-by-step plan below you can make your own red or white wine. For red wine you use a blue grape but for white wine it does not matter. You only need to remove the skins and seeds, which is not necessary for red wine. If you are making your own wine for the first time, then red wine is the easiest to do.

If you follow this step-by-step plan, you can immediately start making your own wine. It will be a while before you can enjoy your homemade wine, but you will love the result.

This step-by-step plan for wine making begins with preparation. Learn how to make wine in general, including tips to maximize the success rate. And discover the supplies needed for wine making. Have fun making your own wine!

  1. Gather your ingredients and materials
    Don't be alarmed: you need quite a bit of gear to make wine. Do you think it's too much fuss? With a Startset Winemaking you get everything at home in one go.
    1. Cleaning products
      Ensure that everything is clean before you begin. This is important. It prevents infections, off-flavors and thus disappointments.
      • Sulfite powder & Citric acid Cleaning-set
    2. Equipment
      • Demijohn
      • Rubber cap with hole for airlock
      • Thermometer
      • Airlock
      • Hydrometer
      For when your wine is ready:
      • Siphon Blowable Collar + Faucet + Drip head
      • Siphon clip to attach siphon hose to fermentation bottle or bucket
      • Corking machine
      • Wine corks
      • Wine bottles
      • Wine labels
      • Muslin to squeeze out the pulp
    3. Ingredients
      • Wine yeast
      • Yeast Nutrition
      • Yeast Activator
      • Pecto-Enzyme II
      • Bentonite White
  2. Sanitizing: working cleanly
    The process of making wine requires a hygienic environment. Wash your materials thoroughly with warm water or boil out if possible. Use the cleaning kit (see 1 A. Cleaning products) to clean ALL equipment that comes into contact with the wine.
  3. Inspecting and cleaning your grapes
    Make sure all the grapes you plan to use are clean, healthy and free of bugs, rotten and bruised specimens and stems. This is important, since stems make your wine bitter. This can ruin your wine already in the first stage, would be a shame! Wash the grapes in water with a pinch of sulfite, this kills the natural bacteria on the grapes. Then rinse with clean water. Let the grapes drain. If necessary, add Pecto enzyme II to your grapes for a higher juice yield.
  4. Press or crush the grapes.
    In the case of red wine, we only bruise the grapes: by gently pressing, we break the skin of the grape. This can be done by hand. The pressing of the white grape is done with a masher but the skins should not end up in the juice, so sieve it with a muslin cloth|cheesecloth. If you want to do it big, then there are juicers for sale that make the work easier.
  5. Perfecting your must or juice
    Check that it is not too sour or too sweet. You measure the sugar level of your wine with the hydrometer. The value should be around 1.092 SG, for both red and white wine. To possibly bring up the sugar concentration, preferably use a grape concentrate. The mixing ratio of this is shown on the label. Mix this until the correct SG value is reached. If you wish, you can also use sugar. To lower the sugar content, simply dilute your must or juice with water.
  6. Fermentation
    The addition of yeast converts the sugars in the must into alcohol. To activate wine yeast ultra-fast, add yeast activator. For proper fermentation, the balance between nutrient salts and acids is important. Therefore, add yeast nutrient salt before adding the yeast itself. Fermentation takes place in a fermentation bottle with a rubber stopper or cap and airlock. You can adjust the temperature of your must to create the perfect environment for yeast cells. Gently warming the juice (not boiling!) is a simple way to bring the juice to the right temperature without harming the quality of the wine. Fermentation can sometimes reach into the 26° to 32° C range, although the 21° C range is standard for reds (whites are often fermented at lower temperatures). Place the bottle in a place where this temperature is steadily present (NOT in the sun). Fermentation will usually start within a few hours, but can sometimes take longer, and is usually finished when no more escaping bubbles can be seen in the airlock.
  7. Siphoning the wine
    Siphoning means transferring the fermented wine to a new bottle without skins (in the case of red wine) or sediment (deposits). For this you use a siphon with a drip head. If you have a starter kit, it is often included. You siphon the fermented wine into a clean fermentation bottle. After the siphoning it is best to leave the wine in this bottle for another 7 - 10 days with a airlock, so that you can be sure that the wine has completely finished fermenting.
  8. Clarifying the wine
    Place the fermentation bottle in a cool and dark place. The wine will slowly become clearer. The wine may need to be siphoned again to become completely clear. If necessary, add a clarifying agent: Bentonite.
  9. Bottling your wine
    This may sound complicated, but it's really not. To bottle the wine you simply siphon the finished product into the bottles. It is a good idea to leave about 5 cm under the top of the bottle to close it with a cork. Then sterilize your cork with hot water and a teaspoon of sulfite. Next, place the sterilized cork in the cork device. Place the bottle under the device and pull the lever. It is wise to always stock up on some corks and practice on an empty bottle. Wine bottles you can get in our webshop, or simply clean used bottles and recycle them. Also, use a number of smaller bottles so that you can try out the wine during Step 10 Lagering to see if it is up to taste.
  10. Lagering
    Once the wine is bottled it should be stored for between 1 and 3 months. You can try during this period whether the wine has enough flavor or needs to age longer by opening the smaller bottles and tasting the wine.
    Now you know enough to start making your own wine! Cheers!