Making Your Own Wine

Some people have vineyards because they like to grow grapes and are perfectly happy having someone else turn those grapes in to wine. Other people grow grapes because THEY WANT TO MAKE WINE.

Making your own wine is actually a lot of fun even if it never sees the light of day. There are lots and lots of good books on wine making and there are good courses on wine making at the local junior colleges and short courses at UC Davis.

If you are going to grow wine grapes, then making your own wine is a great way to understand how the winery perceives your grapes and it also allows you to see how good a job the winery is doing turning your grapes into wine.

The amount of equipment required to make wine at home is really quite simple:

  1. Grape crusher – can be rented
  2. Press – can be rented
  3. Fermentation vessel – food grade garbage can
  4. Thief (like  a turkey baster)
  5. Hydrometer with beaker
  6. Aging containers – beer kegs, glass carboys, old wine barrels
  7. Assorted chemicals – soda ash, meta-bisulphate, citric acid
  8. PH, SO2, titrate test kits
  9. Grapes

It’s best to make your first batch with someone that has some experience, but if that’s not available, then just jump in and try it yourself. If you don’t have any grapes yet, there are lots of places in the North Bay you can get grapes. Just ask around before harvest for unpicked blocks of second crop (what’s left after harvest).

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