Make Wine at Home: Easy and Cheap Home Made Red Wine Recipe

I always had the desire to enjoy drinking something I made myself. Did a lot of researching on how to make wine at home and all I got was wine making methods which was meant to be executed in the USA which uses things like wine fermenter kit,  hydro meters, capdem tablets and those kind of stuff which you don’t get here in India.

I wanted to prepare wine using just materials available in any standard Indian kitchen and not spending too much money.  This search for the indianized wine making technique did not yield any results and I kept trying asking friends and relatives.

At last, I got the opportunity to talk to one pattima (old lady), mother of a good friend, who’s been making wine for years, got the recipe of ingredients, and proportions from her and she ran me through telephone the methodology, tips and tricks of the process. Within 2 hours of talking to her, I was all set to go!

This guide is for all you people out there, who like me, at least once, want to brew what you drink.

This guide will yield a minimum of 4 litres of wine. Caution: You need a lot of patience, You need to wait up to 42 days to get the wine ready and you will have to dedicate at least 2 minutes everyday till then to this process of making wine.

Ingredients:

Black Grapes: 1.5 Kgs

The grapes can be seedless, but definitely need to be black. There is a variety of grapes in which the inside is also black/dark brown, if you get that its good, if not the black grapes variety with dark green inside is also good

Sugar: 1.5 Kgs

Needs to be clean white sugar, try to get a good brand like parrys sugar which does not have any dirt or discoloration

Yeast: 15 grams

This you get in any spencer’s daily or any supermarket for that matter. Usually you would find it in the section where they stock essences, food colouring etc. It’s called “Activated dry yeast” , any brand and a small 25 gm packed would do (you need just 15 grams)

Whole wheat: 50 grams

Had a tough time getting this, all the supermarkets stock only 5 kg packets. Went to a normal palasarakku kadai (general provisions) and got it packed off.

Egg (just the white): 1

Veggies don’t get dejected. This is not really necessary. I was told this is just to create a good flavour. This can be skipped.

Water: 2.6 ltrs

purified water.

Materials / Tools Required:

Ceramic jar:

Big enough to hold 1.5 kgs of grapes + 2.6 lts of water + 1.5 kgs of sugar. Should have 20% free space after adding all this. Preferably must have a lid. Best bet is to use the oorga jaadi (ceramic pickle jar) or if you don’t have any ceramic jars, plastic or metal also would do. Should have a narrow opening because during fermentation, the vessel has to be airtight. So smaller the mouth, easier to seal 🙂

Wooden pestle / masher:

This is nothing but the lowly wooden tool your mom makes to smash potatoes or paalak / keerai. We will use to smash grapes

Long wooden spoon:

should be long enough to reach the bottom of your wine jar.

Love and Support: Any quantity

Along with all this interest and support from other family members to make the wine making experience a memorable one

Wine Making ingredients stacked up
All the ingredients and tools required

The basic ground rule in wine making is keeping things clean and sterile. This to ensure that the brew does not get contaminated with bacteria which may spoil the brew instead of allowing it to ferment. If the brew gets spoiled only thing you can do is to flush it down the drain.

Ready, Get Set:

  1. Boil the water: Boil the water for at least 3-4 mins to make it as pure as possible and kill any bacteria or germs in it. After boiling let it cool. The water has to be back to room temperature before you can use it
  2. Sterilize the ceramic Jar: Simply pour boiling water in the jar till the brim and leave it for 5 mins to sterilize the inner of the jar. Remember, the jar I used was ceramic, so it could stand the heat. Don’t try this if you are using plastic jar 🙂
  3. Clean the grapes: Remove the stem of the grapes. Wash at least 3-4 times in water to ensure all the dirt/dust/chemical sediments from fertilizers and insecticides are removed. Drain the water; if possible spread the grapes on a wide tray to allow it to dry off the excess water.
  4. Clean the wheat: Clean the 50 gms of wheat with water, rinse 3-4 times and ensure they are dry again.
Cleaned and dried grapes
Cleaned and dried grapes

Rock and Roll – Part 1

  1. Put the grapes in the jar
  2. Use the wooden smasher to smash the grapes. The motive is to rupture the grapes NOT to juice them. So need not crush them so hard to juice them out, but ensure each grape is ruptured
  3. Pour in the cooled water
  4. Prepare the yeast: Preparing the yeast is simple. Just follow the instructions in the carton to activate the yeast. Take some lukewarm water (40-50 C), say 100 ml water, add 2 tsp of sugar (you can take some off sugar you have set aside already), and add the 15 gms of yeast into it (usually around 3 tea spoons) and mix them well.
  5. Pour the prepared yeast into the jar
  6. Add the wheat into the jar
  7. Beat the egg white and add it into the jar
  8. Add HALF the sugar into the jar i.e (750 grams).
  9. Use the wooden spoon to mix the contents. You need not try to dissolve the sugar. Just a couple of stirs so that the contents are evenly mixed.
  10. Close the jar with its lid and then wrap plastic covers on top of the jar to make the jar 100% air tight.
Pestle used to rupture the grapes
Pestle used to rupture the grapes
Wheat added
Wheat added
Closeup shot of the ruptured grapes
Closeup shot of the ruptured grapes
Covered and sealed jar
Covered and sealed jar
Stored in a cool dry place
Stored in a cool dry place

Once you have done this, keep the jar in a cool, dark & dry place. But ensure the jar is accessible. Why accessible? Read on…

Daily Duties:

  1. From Day 1 to Day 21, even if you forget to brush your teeth, you shouldn’t forget to do the things below 😉
  2. Daily, at a set time, you need to carefully open up the jar
  3. Use the wooden spoon to stir the contents, just enough that the contents are evenly mixed. Ensure the spoon is 100% clean and dry every time
  4. Close the jar back, make it airtight and put it back in the cool, dark, dry place where it belongsThis process has to be repeated for the next 21 days, Everyday.

Rock & Roll – Part 2

Here comes the important and little bit difficult part, where again, keeping it clean is the key. This needs to be done around the 22nd day.

Materials / Tools needed

  1. Large, fine holed filter. The ones usually found in juice shops
  2. Disposable Surgical gloves
  3. Somebody to help

Steps Involved

  1. Open up the jar
  2. Slowly pour out the contents of the jar into the filter.
  3. The filtered liquid has to be caught with another clean, sterilized vessel
  4. Glove one hand and squeeze out the soggy half-ruptured grapes, the grape skins and seeds through the filter
  5. Finally after emptying the jar, the clear filtered liquid will be caught in the vessel below
  6. Used the gloved hand to scoop put any sediments left out in the ceramic jar
  7. Then pour the contents of the vessel back into the ceramic jar
  8. Then add the second half (remaining) sugar (i.e remaining 750 grams) into the jar and stir lightly
  9. Close the jar, make it air tight as before and put it back into the cool, dry, dark place
Filtering the brew
Filtering the brew
Squashing the grapes with a gloved sterile hand
Squashing the grapes with a gloved sterile hand
Filtered Brew
Filtered Brew

Patience!! – Wait for another 21 days. The good news is that now no more or opening of jar is required. 21 days is the bare minimum. The older the wine gets, the better. Better means, its tastes better and more importantly it gets stronger!!

Taste it ……. Finally!!

  1. After a total of 42 days, you can open up the jar and gently take out the clear wine on top and fill it up in a sterilized glass bottle.
  2. Usually, the sediments are in the bottom and the clear wine on top. So its important you don’t shake the container too much and just use a small glass to scoop out the clear wine on top. Alternatively you can use a pipette or a siphon mechanism to do so
  3. You needn’t empty the jar. Just take out the clear wine from the top and close the jar airtight and put it right back.
  4. Keep repeating the process, till the wine lasts! Just ensure the jar is airtight everytime you put it back
  5. That’s it, you have officially made wine at home!!!!!
Absolut Wine
Absolut Wine 🙂 just used the solid glass bottle of absolut vodka to hold the wine. The wine disappeared (gobbled up) within 20 mins of taking this shot!

Try Variations

In theory any acidic fruit can be used to make wine. Everything from gooseberries, pineapples, strawberries can be used to make wine. The basic fermentation process is as mentioned. So it’s up to you to try variations. You might be lucky to get a good wine sometimes, and other times it might get spoilt. But what the heck, trying is the fun. So please try variations and share the results so that others can try too. I am planning to try the same with white grapes next 🙂

Send me a bottle

Share the booze! They say joy spreads when you share it. Send me a bottle once its done. Will raise a toast for you when I drink it !!

Why you should make wine at home

  1. At less than Rs.200 for the ingredients, you get around 4 litres of wine. That’s the cheapest alcohol. Clean, pure, unadulterated liquor. And this wine IS STRONG and 600 ml or 2 ½ glasses guarantees a nice high.
  2. Home made wine, is certainly MUCH MUCH MUCH better than the Golconda wine which you get at TASMAC, which actually is not wine at all.
  3. Making Wine at home is really a wonderful experience and should be taken up at least once with the family.
  4. Wine is always a part of a celebration, plan ahead and make wine just in time for Christmas, birthday or anniversary
  5. Wine making is one of the oldest skills recorded in history and i suppose wine is the oldest alcoholic drink known to man. So be proud that you know how to make it
  6. Wine making is one of 75 things a man must do at least once in his life time (see slide 55).

Let me know your testimony of success and failures trying this. Also let me know if there are any ways to improve or tweak this recipe. Will be very happy to hear if there are any other recipes you may know. Cheers!

Update 06, April 2012: Feel free to change the proportion of sugar added to suit your taste. I have got constant feedback that the wine was a little too sweet for some peoples’ tastes. So if you want a less sweeter wine, reduce the sugar to around 1 Kg. Based on my experience a bare minimum of around 750 – 1 Kg of sugar is required for proper fermentation and so anything beyond that is going to make the wine sweeter.  So feel free to play around with the amount of sugar.

Update – 17, January 2013:  Excited and happy to see that so many people are interested in making wine at home and find this post/article useful. I receive so many comments every week and unfortunately am not able to reply to them immediately like I used to (due to time constraints). However, most of the questions people ask are already answered in the post itself or in the comments section. So kindly read through before you ask a question. I have also installed disqus which is an easier way to comment and discuss about wine making. Hope you find disqus useful. Cheers! and keep posting comments!!

Update – 03, April, 2013: This post is 4 years old now!! Cheers!