Making My Own Wine

My grandmother recently gave me a 25 gallon stone crock, and told me that she and my grandfather used to brew their own beer and wine. She gave me a recipe, which I’ve lost, and I don’t want to admit to it.

I went searching the Net for recipes, but all of the ones I found involved a lot of equipment that I don’t have, and don’t particularly want to buy. Granny claimed that she used no more than a crock full of ingrediants and a towel thrown over the top of it. She gave me a bottle that she’d made years ago and it was delicious.

So my questions are:

  1. Is just tossing all of the ingerdiants in the crock and covering it loosely sanitary? My husband thinks that it would be an open invitation for harmful bacteria.

  2. Are the acids and yeast-stimulator tablets necessary?

  3. How much of this stuff could I make without bringing down the wrath of the Feds? I’m thinking of making 20 gallons or so.

So, I’d like to make wine the old-fashioned way. Anybody have any suggestions?

There’s never a zymurgist around when you need one.Don’t worry he’ll be here soon lissa. This will probably be the thread he doesn’t show up on. While your waiting make up to 200 gallons,don’t sell any, the feds won’t bug you.Don’t know about your state. Follow his advice carefully, I have had some stuff that I was scared to look at too hard.

I wanted to make my own wine and bought a really good book that even morons like myself could make it. …I’m searching for it as I type this…ahh, found it.
The Joy of Home Winemaking, by Terry Garey.
(Avon Books, $12.00, ISBN 0380782278)

I have a severe impairment when it comes to cooking instructions and I need a real basic list and how-to guide. What I liked about this book was she gives a history of wine making and a don’t-worry-if-it-doesn’t-turn-out-right-cause-it-almost-never-does-the-first-time-around-anyway. she tells you why and what you need and what everything is for. I like that.

I haven’t gotten around to making any yet because they/she/the wine powers that be seem to stress the importance of boiling the water in a stainless steel pot and all I have is aluminium. I have most everything else (Wine hydrometer) camden tablets, sodium bisulphate tablets, champagne yeast, pectic emzyme. I thought this would set me back alot ( $50 plus bucks.) total damage? under $13.00. I went to a local wine/beer making store. Very helpful. All I need now besides the pot are the ingredients and patience.

You might want to ask your Grandma for one of her recipes and try it. If you like it, you can modify and experiment from there.

Here is her (Terry Garey)websight to browse to get an idea of what cost should be:

Hit enter too soon, dang it.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

I’ve been making my own wine for years. My recipe is: about five gallons of juice, yeast, and sugar (or honey). I use an old glass water jug for a carboy with an airlock I made from aquarium airline tubing, a rubber cork with a hole, and an old peanut butter jar. Covering your crock with a towel will keep out dust and bacteria spores. Have fun.

doc, you are my kinda vintner,sounds just like my old rig. I didn’t trust a towel though, i had yogurt and sour dough goin too.Shirley,enameled,glass,or porcelin(that don’t look right) are ok. Where IS that zymurgist?

“Something inciteful that some one else once said”- Suhm Wonn (1397-1334)

I write as an ex-brewer, not an ex-winemaker. However, there are some superficial similarities.

What Granny describes is “open fermentation”, as opposed to “closed fermentation” (sealing the must up with only a airlock, which passes gas (so to speak) in one direction only). Enough has been written in homebrewing circles about open vs. closed fermentation to sink the QE2. Boiling it all down to a consensus, if your housekeeping is reasonably good, and if you have no pets to shed into the fermenter, open fermentation will do. I always use a closed fermenter, but then I do have pets.

Realize that, unless you spend a few tens of thousands of dollars on autoclaves (and autoclavable equipment), you won’t achieve sterilization; sanitation is the best to be hoped for. Your wine will be infected. The savings graces will be:
[list=a][li]the pitching rate (amount of yeast added) will be at least 1 - 2 oz. per 20 gallons, if it is similar to brewing, and that will overwhelm the odd bacterial spore;[/li][li]homemade wine isn’t meant to be aged for twenty years; it will be drunk (or flushed; we all make mistakes :slight_smile: ) quite rapidly[/list=a][/li]
Acids and yeast nutrients aren’t necessary; wine was made without them for thousands of years. You may find them advantageous, though, for balancing an overly-insipid or sweet wine, and for restaring a stuck fermentation, or keeping a sluggish one going.

mr john is absolutely correct in noting that Federal law allows you to make up to 200 gallons of homemade wine (or homebrew) per year, but that state law tends to vary widely on this point.

As a final recommendation; you may find that 25 U.S. gallons is a bit ambitious for a first attempt. Beer recipes, at least, are generally for five gallons, and for a reason; even experienced brewers rarely brew more than ten gallons at a time.

“Kings die, and leave their crowns to their sons. Shmuel HaKatan took all the treasures in the world, and went away.”

Alright here it is I did it many times in the 70’s. Yes, it works.

  1. one can Welches juice concentrate
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 1 package yeast [Fleishmans is fine, not the quick stuff]
  4. Make the juice as it says on the can, put in the sugar, mix the yeast with a little water so its liquid-ish.

Put it all in a big [wine] bottle. Put a ballon on the top to catch the gas. Wait a few days, presto! wine.

Someone in my family drank it and put water back in the bottle so I wouldnt notice. So it must be tasty, but I was undeer age at the time.
on the top

If you can do something else about that ballon try to cause the rubber makes the wine taste rubbery.

Be sure that the concentrate is 100% juice!


He finally shows up and that’s it?. Who would have thought it was so simple? He’s right though,look out for preservatives.And i always considered one main reason for boiling the water was to evaporate the chlorine faster. There was a year i worked as a lab tech in a water treatment plant. Autoclaves,double distilled water, precision measuring equipmentfor specific gravity,all kinds of stuff.but know what? handy’s way is more fun.just go for it lissa,tell grammy you lost the secret formula, pour it in that crock,put a clean towel over it,and wait. Maybe wrap some string or a big rubber band around it to keep the towel up out of it.Ancient Egyptians didn’t have all the fancy equipment back when they made beer.They was too wrapped up in other stuff,Oedipul urges towards their Mummys and startin up pyramid schemes.

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx