Picture of How to Make Wine
Making wine is actually pretty idiot proof, with the right stuff, equipment, and sanitizing again and again.

In this Instructable, you'll learn how to make fruit wines, including grape wines. This instructable will focus on the techniques, equipment and materials, rather than recipes.

You'll need to procure some equipment and some chemicals but don't worry. Most of it will last many batches with the proper cleaning and maintaining.

EDIT: Wow. 200k views! Never thought I'd actually get this many. I will be preparing another batch before too long, so I'll try to include some more photos.

Step 1: Legality and Warning

Winemaking, also known as Homebrewing, is completely legal in the US and many other places. As follows is what I KNOW is legal in the US(1):
1. You can make up to 100 gallons by yourself or 200 max, if you live with other people, annually.
2. You may not sale your homebrew.
3. You must be 21 or legal drinking age to make and drink your homebrew. *
4. You may not distill spirits.
5. You may share and taste homebrewed beverages
*Technically it is 18, but you'd 99% of the time be seeking to consume or possess alcohol, which is illegal.

Since you are producing substance that kills more people a year than most forms of cancer, you will need to treat alcoholic beverages with the respect they command.
1. Do not drink and drive.
2. Do not drink while pregnant.
3. Do not drink if you suffer from liver, heart failure, or anything else just about.
4. Consult your doctor if you are unsure how alcohol will interact with any drugs you are taking.

Home wine making is not making moonshine. It will not cause you any more harm than consuming alcohol does. You will have few, if any, methyl alcohols that cause blindness. You would die from alcohol poisoning long before having to worry about this.

Almost all commercial wines contain sulfites. This Instructable teaches users how to add sulfites if needed. This may be left off if sulfites cause alergic reactions to you or those you want to consume the wine. Potassium Metabisulfite MSDS
Sodium Metabisulfite MSDS

Potassium Sorbate is potentially added if additional sweeting is required. Do not add if you are allergic to it. Here is it's MSDS Potassium Sorbate MSDS

Finally, your final product will be about 12-18% alcohol. Keep that in mind when serving.

With disclosures and warnings out of the way, let's go to it!

1= Wiki Link
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BrittanyE212 days ago

I am looking forward to making my very first batch of wine soon, but I am confused about one step. Many tutorials that I have read attach the airlock immediately after mixing in their sugar and yeast, but other sites instruct you to only cover the bucket with a towel to allow airflow for a while first. Which is correct? Which is better? Won't leaving the wine open to oxygen potentially contaminate it? My goal is to make tasty wine for long term storage (future Christmas gifts). Thanks in advance!

You'll be fine either way as long as it is only for a short amount of time in the very beginning! When a yeast has access to oxygen it will perform what is called aerobic respiration, which yields carbon dioxide and water as end products, but has higher energy output. (Left side of the table below).

When the yeast does not have access to oxygen, it performs an ANaerobic respiration, or fermentation, in which the end products are carbon dioxide and ethanol (which is what you want in wine). But this process yields lower amount of energy.

What I assume people want to do when they don't seal the solution from air directly, is to kickstart the reproduction of the yeast with the high energy output aerobic respiration.

What I've always done is to shake the fermentation/brewing vessel with the small amount of air in it from the start, to increase oxygen concentration in the solution, and then seal it directly. And that has worked fine for me.

OxygenNeededNot neededGlucose breakdownCompleteIncompleteEnd product(s)Carbon dioxide and waterAnimal cells: lactic acid. Plant cells and yeast: carbon dioxide and ethanolEnergy releasedRelatively large amountRelatively small amount

That table came out badly, but here's a link to practically the same table.


haha! great work :)

maxed072 months ago
im trying to make wine from apple juice i was wondering if the juice i have chosen would work... it has natural flavoring ...plz need help..
rachel.bah5 months ago

goog morning i was woundering if you could tell me if ive done some thing wrong or how long i have to wait to see activity i made my wine in a bucket last night for the first time when should we see the air lock bubble please

Brennenmcb5 months ago

I do work with high end winery's and resorts! http://ricardogallery.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/RicardoGallery?ref=hl

mguer1333 years ago
I am very surprised you are calling wine an apple based beverage; over here (France), wine is only a grape fruit based beverage. Is this an American localisms?

Why would you use a pasteurized juice that is made out of concentrated juice and then add bacteria when you could just press you fruits with the bacteria already in them? There would then be no need for adding sugar for example.

Other than this, it is an interesting process but it does not sound natural to me at all and I can not see the point of all this if you have to use industrial ingredients...

Let me know if there is something I have not understood (I'm French after all lol).

Seakip18 (author)  mguer1333 years ago
Thanks for your comment!

Wine is best known for it's grape origins. However, any juice liberated from fruit and fermented can be called wine. Apples = apple wine, plums= plum wine, etc.

The bacteria in the fruit/juice is not yeast. Yeast is what is responsible for giving us the flavor, mouthfeel and alcohol. Almost all brewers, big and small, rely on prepackaged yeast if they do not have their own line.

While one could go ahead and press the fruit and liberate the juice themselves, I found it to be outside the scope of the instructable, I figured I'd go cheap, fast and easy.

The sugar and other stuff? I explain why those are needed respectively.

Again, thanks for your comment. I can definitely understand how some if seems pretty strange.

I doubled checked the yeast part as it troubled me for some time. There is no yeast used whatsoever in wine making. There is some in cider or beer making. When making red wine, the juice is pressed out of the grapes AFTER they have starting fermenting (bacterias eat the sugar to turn it into alcohol). The grape are then pressed and the juice is left to ferment. In the white wine making procedd, the grapes are collected very mature, pressed straight away and the juice is then left to ferment. There might be some sulfates used to control the fermenting process but the use of acids is illegal in France. When the fermentation process has eaten up most of the sugar content, it is stopped and the juices are transfered to wine barrels for a proper rest. Only after those few months of rest can it be called wine. Most of the good quality wines are transfered from one type of barrel to another in order to give it its distinctive taste and maturity. The bottling process happens after at least a year of rest. Only then can it be called wine. The whole wine making process only requires grapes and patience. If you do it overwise, it can not be called wine. At the best, it's a fruit juice based alcohol. Still you can enjoy this type of drink but calling it wine is a commun missuse of the word.
Umm, well according to my information, yeast IS USUALLY added to the must in French wines. In fact, some of the wine yeasts used around the world ORIGINATED in France. For example, Premier Cuvée, Pasteur Champagne, Côtes des Blancs, Epernay, Montrachet etc.

Natural yeasts (those on the skins)can be used, but are unpredictable at best and can ruin a good wine at the worst. Sulfite, if used is tipped into the must either beforeafter the grapes go through the crusher. The yeast is pitched a day later. The wine is pressed some days after skin contact (with reds) when enough colour has been obtained.

From Wikipedia: "The English word "wine" comes from the Proto-Germanic "*winam," an early borrowing from the Latin vinum, "wine" or "(grape) vine", itself derived from the Proto-Indo-European stem *win-o- (cf. Hittite: wiyana, Lycian: oino, Ancient Greek οἶνος oinos, Aeolic Greek ϝοῖνος woinos)."

Since the ENGLISH word "WINE" does not come from the French language, the French cannot claim that it only applies to fermented beverages made from grapes. Until such time as another word is "invented" for fermented drinks made form other fruits, I think wine is a good word to describe them.
Well I am sorry if this is turning into a word fight lol I was only commenting on the knowledge I had of the wine making process I have witnessed.
Reading the well documented wiki, I seem to understand I am not to far from being on the right path. That is of course from the french legal point of view. If you make a beverage out of anything else but grapes, it is illegal, again in France, to call it wine. But it might be ok to sell it abroad.
I'll talk to a friend of mine who happens to be a wine maker and check all this for you.
The use of the word "Vin""over here is strictly controlled, hence my missunderstanding for its english equivalent "wine".
I'll keep you posted on what I find out if you are interested.
Seakip18 (author)  mguer1333 years ago
Thanks for looking into it more.

I'm curious about the control and regulation of terms.

It sounds very close to American Bourbon vs. American Whiskey. In the US, you can only legally call whiskey "Bourbon" if it fulfills certain requirements, including the mash being a certain amount corn and the barrels being new, etc.

Be sure to follow up!
BigMacoy Seakip186 months ago
Yep Seakip, there's some heavy duty laws concerning the production of Bourbon. The First & foremost is that it MUST be produced in the USA. The mash has Jo have at least 51% corn, sometimes more, but never, ever less. The rest of the mash usually contains barley & rye. When ready, the end product MUST be stored in brand new oak barrels that are completely & evenly burned out on the inside. After that, like many other spirits, it's a waiting game :-)
And what do you call the beverages made of fermented apples and plums? Do they have specific names?
the only "natural" drink I know of made out of apples is cider. I do not know anything else but plum alcohols. This could be a derived use of the original word that has taken a different path.
Seakip18 (author)  mguer1333 years ago
Thanks for looking into it more!

As for the definition of acids, wine and so forth, it differs region to region.

That said, grape wine, or as most know as just wine, is produced in the same manner as most other wines are. Take plum wine or apfelwein as an example.

As for wine varieties, such as Champagne, etc., these are tightly controlled names that have certain requirements in order to be labelled and called such.

As for the fresh grapes, the majority of the fermentation is likely due to wild yeast vs bacteria. While bacteria can produce ethanol, you would likely end up with vinegar if they were the principal.

As for acids, K2S2O5 would classify as a salt. Using it in conjunction with fermentation from wild yeast would yield a better product than none at all.

Thanks again for raising such good points!
BigMacoy Seakip186 months ago
Hi Seakip,
I'm pretty new to this so I wanted to thank you so very much for your instructions. They "took the mystery" out of what I thought was beyond my scope. I'm trying all kinds of stuff now, all kinds of different fruit. I dunno if it's possible, but I think I'm gonna try bananas next. Oh! And talk about great Xmas gifts. It's one thing to say, here's a wine I got at the liquor store, and quite another to present, (in a velvet lined wooden case I've handcrafted), a wine that I made myself. I even go the distance and come up with names and graphics on a nice bottle label as well. So, THANK-YOU THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU!!!!!!!
PS: is it ok to give your homemade wine/cider/beer to family & friends as a gift? There's never money involved at all, it's always a gift.
Thank-you so much!!!!!!!
BigMacoy mguer1336 months ago
Well Mick, thanks for your insights, I'll use your information for sure. I think that you're correct in that wine is/should be made with grapes, and you'll get no argument from me regarding the fact that using fresh fruit is MUCH better. Some of the choices in the instructions are clearly designed with both price, and ease of use.
However, one of the things that make this country great, is freedom of expression. So, we're always tinkering, coming up with new ideas, and creating new things. So yes, in France it may be that true wine only comes from grapes, and I'm sure a ton of people here would agree with you, no doubt.
Over here in the US, as a people, we've never been satisfied with the "status quo". So we tinker. Sometimes we come up with a better mousetrap, sometimes we fail, get up, dust ourselves off, try to learn from our mistakes, and try again.
The absolute undisputed best wine I've ever tasted, was made from several varieties of natural berrys that grow in a rainforest in Washington state. And, you're right, these instructions aren't "natural". These instructions were created so that the average joe, or layman can make wine as easy as possible I was curios, how do you classify Sake? In America we call it rice wine but is it considered wine in France? Just a curiosity question.
Big Mack
P. S. Just wanted to mention my love for your country. I believe that America truly owes France a great debt of gratitude. My grandfathers were both a part of that great struggle against what I think was the most evil regime of all time, (not that Stalin's regime was any better, but that's another story). One grandfather lived a nice long life. The other literally got frozen to a Sherman Tank overnight somewhere in France. He was so cold and exhausted that he laid on the top rear because the engine was warm. However, as he slept, the engine became cold. He was fast asleep and didn't realize that he'd bec frozen to the tank. They were able to get him off and save him, but having been frozen lead to some serious health problems and he passed away shorty thereafter due to those complications.
I myself hate war, so I keep looking for the gospel, or good news that The Messiah will return, take David's throne and institute His kingdom and then the whole world will truly have peace on earth as it has been promised.
Viva La France!!!!!!!
Big Mack

Apples...used to make AppleJack or Apple Hard Cider. It's great! FYI, Apples grow on trees in the USA.

I can make a breaburn apple wine in 6 months and it is delicious usually add a can of frozen white grape when backsweetening along w sulfites .then rack a week later and bottle

If you pressed apples fresh and fermented them without added sugar you would be making cider, not wine. Wine by definition is a fermented fruit beverage requiring certain alcohol content and to get that content you need more sugar that apples have naturally. If you tasted it, you would not mistake it for a cider at all, tastes more like a pinot gris with apple scent, but subtle.

BrunoW16 months ago
nice presentation .but some bad advice .

very informative and nicely referenced

Ulu Meli9 months ago
I just made 5 gal of passion fruit wine and found the part about adding more sugar very helpful. Thank you much !
lenni.may10 months ago

Thank you! Your information was Very helpful.

MariaJonas10 months ago

You can find some good information about wine making in this website http://bestwinesselection.site90.net/

pgreenlaw10 months ago

I have started my first wine. We hand picked enough concord grapes for about 4 gallons. I did a quick sample during my first rack. It was a little sour, but not bad. I didn't taste much alcohol. The air lock bubbled for about a week But I don't know if the fermentation was interrupted or not. I also don't think I used enough corn sugar. Does anyone know if it would be ok to add more sugar water and yeast and try a second fermentation? I was looking for a sweet concord wine similar to a Niagara. Any help would be great



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For those commenting, wine is any beverage made of fermented fruit. Any fruit. Just because the most popular wine (by far) is grape wine and grapes have enough sugar included in the fruit to finish the wine, doesn't mean it is the only wine, or the only way to make wine. Also wine is always made with yeast, though some folks prefer to use the naturally occurring yeast that exists on the skins of grapes already. Some of them may not even know that the yeast is there because they didn't add it, but it is nonetheless. Bacterial fermentations like MLF may be used secondarily, but it only converts the acids from malic acid to lactic acid, does not make any alcohol.

You may not SELL, not Sale. Some states allow the distillation of beverages.

Thanks for the info , helpful for a beginner like me.

Thanks for this instructional. Just one comment: the possessive pronoun ITS such as "pour the juice from its container" does NOT have an apostrophe. It is not a contraction. The contraction IT'S stands for the two words: it is. Correct grammar and punctuation lends itself to a more professional blog. Thanks!

Who cares? Its just an instructable. (Yeah, I did that on purpose ;)

why cant the glass bottle be scratched?
Because the scratches will house unwelcome bacteria.
As Seakip18 said, bacteria... but there's a host of other reasons too... cracks (+pressure) and mean leakage of flavours and outside air may be able to squeeze through the scratches (if they're deep enough), contaminating the wine. :)
Seakip18 (author)  MisterMissanthrope6 years ago
If there are scratches, bacteria can actually manage to hide inside the gaps. No amount of sanitizing will be able to truly remove them. It sucks, but I'd rather play it safe than risk losing a batch of wine that will age for a while.
this was okay, but can you upgrade your information
dead hawk2 years ago
with the balloon idea, if you poke a hole in the balloon with a needle it will let the high pressured CO2 out while keeping air out at the same time.
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