How To: Maturing Your Own Wine at Home

Maturing wine at home is one of the easiest and most popular hobbies in the world today. If you know what you’re doing, it’s nearly foolproof, and when you’re finished, not only have you had a great time, but you have wine to show for it as well! Below you’ll find a few simple tips on how to successfully make your own wine, and have fun doing it.
The first thing you have to remember is that not all wine can be matured. Wine is available to buy pre-matured, but as a hobby, maturing your own wine is a worthwhile activity, and can be far less expensive than purchasing already matured vintages. Some wine, due to its chemical properties, actually goes bad when it ages rather than getting more flavorful. As a general rule, red wines take well to maturing, while white wine is best when it’s “young.”
The cask you choose to mature your wine in is very important. Professional wineries always use wooden casks, usually of the oak variety, as it gives the wine the best flavor. However, for many home wine maturers, wooden casks are simply too large or expensive, so metal, glass, or plastic casks work just as well, requiring only a bit more effort.
Now that you’ve got your cask, you’ll want to fill it with the wine of your choice. Remember, a young red wine is the best choice and can be found in large, inexpensive quantities. Check discount stores or bulk shopping stores for the best selection. Once you pour your wine into your chosen cask, you need to find somewhere to store it. A wine cellar is obviously best, but few home maturers have the means necessary for a full wine cellar. One thing you’ll definitely want to avoid is direct sunlight, so try and store your wine in a dark, dry place such as a finished basement or extra closet.
One final thing to remember is that you don’t want any outside smells penetrating your cask and interfering with the taste of the wine you’re maturing. Wine tends to soak up any flavor it’s near, so be careful not to mature it in a garage or a kitchen, where it’s likely to come in contact with gasoline or food smells. The last thing you want is to mature your wine for weeks, only to find that it now tastes like last night’s dinner!
Here are a few more things to be sure of. Before you pour your wine into the cask you’re using, make sure to sterilize it and dry it thoroughly to avoid bacteria from infiltrating your wine-making process. You’ll want to keep the temperature of the room you mature your wine in around 13 degrees Celsius. When you pour the wine into the container, make sure it’s full up to the neck or below. Too much air can change the entire fermenting process, but whatever you do, do not use fruit juice or syrup to top off the wine! Seal the vessel properly before storage to avoid spills or contamination, and once you put it where it will age, leave it there for the next several months and don’t move it! At six months, taste the wine and determine whether or not you’d like to keep aging it for 3-6 more months or whether it’s ready to drink. It all depends on your personal taste!
Maturing your own wine at home is a great way to take advantage of mass quantities of less than stellar wine or even make your own homemade wine even better! It’s a simple process, just be sure to follow these few simple steps to make sure your wine maturing process is a success. Once you’ve waited the allotted time, just pour your wine out, breathe it in, and cheers to your hard work and ingenuity!