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Home Wine Making FAQ

By Ed Kraus

How much does it cost to start making wine at home?
Surprisingly, it is not as expensive as you might think to start making wine at home. The wine making supplies and wine making equipment necessary to make 5 or 6 gallons of wine at a time will cost around $100-$200. After that, each batch 5 or 6 gallon of homemade wine will cost about $50-$200. That’s a cost of between $2 and $7 per bottle of wine. And, if you grow your own grapes and other wine making fruits, the cost goes down even more. Now we're talking about a $1 per bottle.

Is home wine making legal?
Since 1978 the Federal Government has made home wine making legal. However, there are some limitations. A household of two adults or more can make up to 200 gallons of homemade wine annually. Single adult households can make up to 100 gallons of homemade wine annually. You may also want to check with your state and local authorities to see if there happens to be any other local restrictions in your area on home wine making.

Can I make my wines sweeter than the wines I buy at the store?
Absolutely! When you make your own wine you get to make it the way you like it - sweet or dry. You can also make your wine heavy and full or light and crisp. You can even control the wine's alcohol percentage. That's part of what makes home wine making so fun and enjoyable. Each batch is a reflection of what you think good wine should taste like.

Do you have any good wine recipes?
Yes, we have a collection of wine recipes on our website. These recipes are for making wine from fruits such as raspberries, watermelon, cherries and many others. They've all been tested many, many times by us and our customers. We also offer many wine making books that have good information on making wine as well as wine recipes.

Don’t you need a wine press to be good at home wine making?
Not at all. Wine presses are used by wineries to get every last drop of juice out of the pulp, not for quality reasons. When you make your own wine for $5.00 a bottle, getting every last drop of juice is not so important. Home wine making as a hobby is very flexible in this way.

How are 28 day wine kits different from other concentrates?
The producers of these types of wine making ingredient kits hold that secret very close. It is in our opinion that the juice is processed in a way that promotes the early settling of tannins and other harsh elements to drop out sooner, making the wine drinkable sooner. The directions usually state that the wine is very good at 28 days--and it is quite remarkable--but you might consider letting them age a few months for optimum quality.

Which type of concentrate is best for making a sweet wine?
It really does not matter which type of concentrate you choose. Any wine you make, whether it is made from concentrate or fresh fruits, is going to be dry when it is finished. That is just part of having a complete fermentation. When you get to the point where you are ready to bottle, that is the time to make your wine the sweetness you want. Just add wine stabilizer such as Potassium Sorbate to your wine. This stabilizer will keep the wine from re-fermenting. Then add sugar back to the wine until you reach the desired sweetness you are looking for. This gives you complete control over how sweet the wine is going to be.

Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.