Homemade wine is different from store-bought wine because it has a flavorful, distinct taste. Commercial wines usually are classified in one of three categories; white, red or port. Homemade wine may be similar to commercial wines in some ways but because of the way they are made, they don’t always fall into a particular category. Homemade wine is also usually made from fruit juice, either concentrates or fresh, crushed fruit. Sugar and yeast is added. Many people like the idea of brewing their own drink, some like the scientific process and some like to know they have an organic, toxin free wine. It is often shared with friends and family and goes well with a meal, dessert or cheese.
The equipment needed is not expensive. A large glass or ceramic jar that can be closed air tight, measuring cups and scales as well as a wooden masher and long handled wooden spoon that will reach to the bottom of your large jar, sugar, filtered and boiled water and wine yeast. The yeast in important because there is yeast in the air but it will more likely produce vinegar not wine. Wine yeast can withstand high levels of alcohol, and there are all-purpose wine yeasts available. Whole wheat and egg white are used in some recipes. You will need bottles to put your wine in when it is finished. These can be collected over time and washed thoroughly immediately to prevent any mold and yeast from forming while they wait. Corks to close the bottles are also inexpensive and can be bought by the hundreds. Do not reuse corks no matter how you sterilize them. They will ruin your wine.
The first rule for preparing to make homemade wine is to make sure all the utensils, containers and bottles are very clean. Any bacteria or yeast from an outside source at any time during the process can affect the flavor of the wine and possibly even spoil it. Before you start you need to sterilize everything you will be using. First wash it in hot soapy water using a bottle brush where necessary. After this the equipment needs to be soaked in a sterilizing solution.
The same consideration should be taken for your fruit. You need good raw material. You cannot prepare excellent wine from molded, old, rotten fruit. This does not mean you need to wash the fruit first. In some cases it is better not to wash it as there are yeasts on the surface of some berries that are good for fermentation, but it means your fruit should be fresh and ripe. To make white wine from grapes does not mean to use white grapes. It means the skin, stems and seeds need to be separated from the pulp before the fermenting process.
There are different ways to make homemade wine and some recommend you use a kit the first time in order to get a drinkable product at the end. Wine making skills take time to acquire and using a kit the first time gives you a chance to practice. You will have learned how to make the wine and the next time can use the fruit of your choice do the process over again or follow other directions you find online or in a book.
You need to squash the fruit with the wooden masher, not smash it to a pulp, but just rupture it in a container. This can be the same container in which you plan to ferment the fruit if the mouth is wide enough for you to stir the mixture. Otherwise, squash it in another container, the primary fermentor, where the water, sugar, yeast and sometimes whole wheat is added. After a few days the juice can be put into the secondary fermentor or carboy. Wooden barrels can also be used for added flavor given by the wood.
Depending on the recipe it takes a bit of care and attention to prepare for homemade wine making. Like any skill it will improve with practice and the results will be well worth the effort. You will have delicious homemade wine for years to come as each attempt you store away ages and improves.