1 Minute Wine Recipe

Most wine making guides really over-think the wine making process. They tell you to buy all kinds of equipment and additives that you don’t really need.

This tutorial is about stripping wine making down to the absolute bare minimum. It’s so simple that you can get going with just 5$ in equipment, and start a batch of wine in under a minute.

See Also: The 1:30 video version. (link opens in a new tab)

wine-glass-peach

What you DON’T Need to Make Wine

This is a short list of items, most pictured in this 120$ wine making kit, that you do not need to buy to make wine.

wine-making-kit

You DON’T need exotic chemicals like potassium sorbate and sodium metabisulfite and campden tablets and acid blend all the other weird extras home wine makers are adding these days. Do you think the pilgrims who landed at Plymouth rock used this chemical warfare when they made wine?

You DON’T need crazy siphoning equipment and large glass carboys that take up half your garage and make your brewing corner look like a mad scientist’s laboratory. Instead of using all this equipment to make big vats of wine a couple times a year, follow this simple 1 minute wine tutorial 26 times a year. You’ll save way more time and money doing your wine in tiny batches.

You DON’T need expensive cleaners like PBW and StarSan and Iodaphor to make good wine either. A certain degree of cleanliness is important, but soap and water – and maybe a little bleach for tougher jobs – is enough to keep a home brewery clean.

Traditional wine is a living, breathing organism that our species has developed a symbiotic relationship with over millenia. It doesn’t need a chemist – it needs a babysitter.

Bare Bones Wine Equipment

You only need to buy 3 very cheap things to make wine – and 1 of them is optional.

1-minute-wine-kit

Champagne Yeast – You might ask, “What’s wrong with the yeast floating around in the air, or the yeast I use to make bread?” Answer: Nothing! You can use those yeasts too but your wine will take longer and your alcohol content won’t be nearly as high. Champagne yeast ferments a brew with up to a burly 18% alcohol content.

Airlocks – Lets air out so your brew jug doesn’t literally explode. At the same time it keeps foreign yeasts and bacteria out. There’s 2 popular designs and I use the 1-piece design because it’s cheaper and harder to break.

Hydrometer – this optional piece of equipment measures alcohol content. Without one, you won’t necessarily know if what you just made is 8% booze or 18% booze. If you follow my tutorial exactly, you won’t need one – you’ll get something around 15%.

Total estimated cost for equipment – less than $5.

If you are lucky enough, as I was, to have a home brew supply store near you, get this equipment there. Yeast, plugs and airlocks are all about a dollar each and the hydrometer probably runs about 10$.

Otherwise, you will have to pay shipping from amazon, for a total cost of still very cheap. Here are the ones I would get.

Why to NOT Brew in 5 Gallon Buckets

I used to do all my brewing of wine and beer in 6 gallon carboys and buckets – but it’s just too much work. I’m going to do something I’ve never done before and discourage you from using 5 gallon buckets or carboys to make wine.

5 gallons of liquid is very heavy so you can’t easily pour from one vessel into another, or shake it around to dissolve in some sugar. As soon as you start working with these larger sizes you need buy tubes, siphoning equipment, something called a racking cane, and a special harness to carry full jugs safely. And having all this extra equipment means you have to keep it all clean which becomes an hour-long chore all by itself.

Shoot for around 1 gallon, but the exact size is up to your supermarket – because the key to 1-minute wine is to brew right in the container the juice comes in. This way you know the the juice is completely contaminant free.

This is the juice I bought for around 4$ for a 3/4 gallon jug. I calculated a total ingredient cost of about $1.60 for each 750ml amount that the liquor store across the street wants $12.00 for.

grape juice bottle 1 gallon

These are the 5 simple steps to turn the juice from the supermarket into wine.

  1. Buy juice
  2. Add sugar
  3. Shake shake shake!
  4. Plug with airlock
  5. Wait

I’ll give some brief details on each of these steps.

Buy Juice

Any juice will work for wine, I like red grape juice because it will make normal red wine. But get adventurous – find something on sale or in season. Any fruit will work, even berries. The most important number to look at is the sugar content, because this will tell you how much alcohol you’ll get in your finished wine

Watch out, because many of the juices on the store shelves have corn syrup as a first ingredient. Corn syrup will ferment fine, but do you really want to drink corn wine?

sugar content of grape juice

The grape juice I’m using in our example has 41g of sugar per cup – that’s pure grape sugar, no added sugar whatsoever. Ideally we want about double that – but we can make up the difference by adding pure sugar or honey.

How Small can you Go?

I’ve successfully brewed a batch in a 1.89 liter bottle, which is exactly half a gallon.

peach-mango-wine

I suspect you could go even smaller but if you get too small your yeast might not reach the critical mass needed for proper fermentation.

Add Sugar

According to the label, the unsweetened grape juice I’m showing here has 41g of sugar per cup.

I tested the juice with my hydrometer at 8%. That means if I added my yeast right now without any additional sugar, I would get 8% wine. If you choose to use a hydrometer, here’s what to look for.

hydrometer-reading-8

8% would make a strong beer, but a weak wine. I like to shoot for wine around the typical range, between 13% and 15%.

3 cups of additional sugar brought my 3/4 gallon batch up to 15% potential alcohol. You’ll have to dump out some of the juice first before adding the sugar. I added 3 cups of sugar, so I removed about 3 cups of juice.

Use a clean funnel for adding the sugar, I used a rolled up piece of paper which worked just fine.

alcohol-at-18

This brought my potential alcohol up to 15%. – so as a rule of thumb, add about 4 cups sugar for each gallon of grape juice if your grape juice is similar in sugar content to mine and you want a 15% alcohol wine.

Champagne yeast will ferment to about 18% alcohol before the alcohol content will kill all the yeast. So there’s no point going above about 18% potential alcohol.

Shake Shake Shake!

Shaking the container very well helps dissolve the sugar completely so you can get a highly accurate reading of your alcohol percentage. Shaking takes the bulk of the time in this “1-minute wine.”

It’s almost impossible to shake a massive 5 gallon carboy of juice very well, but even a kid can shake a gallon of liquid without breaking a sweat.

After adding 3 cups of sugar and shaking very well, you’re ready to pitch your yeast.

Add Yeast

Your juice is at room temperature right? Yeast does best at between 70 and 90 degrees – the hotter it is the quicker she goes.

You just need a little bit of yeast, about the size of a nickel. No need to use an entire pack, only about 1/5 of the package is more than enough. Save the rest for your next batch in a zip-lock bag in the fridge.

IMG_3821

No need to shake the yeast in, it will find its way to where the sugar is, breed like crazy, and turn all the sugar into alcohol.

Plug with Airlock

The airlock lets CO2 out while keeping air-bound yeasts and molds out. Airlocks are dirt cheap, so it makes sense to have more than one so you can get multiple wine batches going at the same time.

airlock-wine

The airlock needs to be filled part full with water to work! Fill to just below the “max fill” line.

Some people use vodka instead of water to make sure the airlock liquid stays contaminant free. Not a bad idea if the liquid will stay in your airlock for a long time.

I shot this quick video to show what the airlock should be doing 4 or 5 days into the brew. This is max speed for a 3/4 gallon jug – about 5 seconds between bubbles. Once about 50 seconds pass between bubbles this will be ready to cap and store.

Wait

Your vat of highly sweetened grape juice will slowly turn into wine over the course of the next 2 weeks. You’ll know the wine’s done once your airlock stops bubbling. If you have a hydrometer, you can test as you go along, the “potential alcohol” reading will slowly drop, usually all the way to 0%, as the days pass.

To find your final alcohol content, just subtract your initial reading by your final reading. So in my case, 15% – 0% = 15% alcohol.

Storing your Wine

Once your wine has fermented down to 0% or your airlock has stopped bubbling, you can remove the stopper and cap it, using the cap that came with your grape juice. You kept that cap right? I like to keep my cap in a tiny plastic bag around the neck of the bottle – that way I don’t ever lose it. I clean it with hot water and soap before screwing it on.

bag-around-wine-neck

See all that yeast sediment in the bottom of your finished wine? It’s best not to store your wine too long with all that stuff in there, or it will eventually start tasting like dead yeast – which won’t kill you but doesn’t taste good either. That’s called “Yeast Autolysis

Just slowly and gently pour your finished wine into a container of the same size , leaving the yeast behind. Discard the spent yeast in the compost pile or something. This stuff is really nutritious.

Your wine will probably taste TERRIBLE right off the bat, that’s normal. It might be to your liking after only 2 weeks, or could take as long as 6 months. The more white sugar you use, the longer it seems to want to age for. In the meantime, buy another jug of juice and begin the process over again. I always have one jug going on the counter between the stove and refrigerator – the warmest part of the house.

Make sure to mark down the dates when the wine was bottled – trust me, you won’t remember otherwise.

Watch your “wine cellar” for bottles that seem to be bulging. This means your yeast is still actively producing carbon dioxide. That’s not a problem, you just need to vent the CO2 off by unscrewing and re-screwing your cap to let the extra gasses out, just like you would with fizzy soda. If this happens, it means you didn’t wait long enough during your brewing stage.

Want More Subtlety?

This article is meant to get you making wine ASAP. For a bit more in depth analysis of the winemaking process and different things you can do to make fancier wine — such as not using white sugar or why “racking” your wine might be a good idea – step on over to my very own 1 minute wine journal, where I talk through each batch I’ve made and what I learned about this process by doing it repeatedly.

See also veteran winemaker Paul’s comment below in the comments section which gives a lot more detail about homebrew wine legal considerations, yeast varieties, and light and temperature levels you should shoot for.

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73 thoughts on “1 Minute Wine Recipe

  1. Pingback: DIY Wine Notes | Just Scraping By

  2. I remember the days of making homemade “wine” from crystals. Tasted like red wine but not kick. Maybe it’s because I let it ferment for 20 mins…lol. Thanks for the info. I’ll pass along the url to this page so a few friends can give it a shot, pun intended. lol

  3. Loved your DIY info! It looks so easy, I can’t wait to try it out. BTW, what kind of grape juice did you use? and, if not using white sugar, what else can a person put in there?

    • The grape juice I’m using is President’s Choice Red Grape Juice from Concentrate. The grape variety of this juice is Concord. The President’s Choice brand is not in the United States, it’s the Real Canadian Superstore store brand. You should be able to get something similar from Costco – or even Safeway in the U.S.

      Instead of using white sugar, you could just use frozen concentrate from the grocery store! I did not do this because I could not find real grape juice concentrate in the grocery store! Everything I could find was based on high fructose corn syrup, which is hidden by the name “glucose-frucose” here in Canada. Here is some 100% grape juice concentrate on Amazon – this stuff should work.

      You can also find grape concentrate from a homebrewing store. In my homebrew store, I can get this in half liter and liter quantities. The benefit of using this stuff is that you can get some fancier grape varieties to try out. Grocery store grape juice is almost always Concord grape.

      Mixing your regular grape juice with the right amount of high-sugar grape juice concentrate will get you the potential alcohol content you are looking for. I don’t know exactly which amounts you should use, it will depend on the sugar level of your concentrate. This is where a hydrometer comes in handy.

      Good luck!

      • President’s Choice is available in the US, at least where I live. They sell it at Fred Meyer (a Kroger grocery chain in the NW) so I think you could find it elsewhere in other Kroger stores.

  4. The “old way” as dictated from my Grandfather….
    12oz Frozen Concentrate (I use Welches)
    Gallon (glass preferred) jug.
    2-4 cups sugar (your choice)
    Packet Yeast (about any is fine)
    Water
    Large balloon

    Mix it all together. Grampa always made sure and made mixed the yeast with lukewarm water before adding… say’s cold water might kill the yeast. (Who knows?).

    Stir it all together and put the balloon on the jug (like a lid). Should take from 1 to 2 weeks depending on the temperature. The balloon will inflate… once it has mostly deflated, wine is ready. Stick it in a closet and let it age awhile.

    Mike

    • Outstanding. Thanks for sharing your G-pa’s recipe.

      I don’t think yeast will die with cold water, but they will breed MUCH slower. Normally you keep yeast in the fridge to preserve them, and some people even keep them in the freezer. You CAN kill them by going to hot.

      The balloon trick is a good airlock replacement – but you should prick it with a couple of small holes, or else it will inflate and inflate until it pops off of your bottle.

    • That’s how my Dad makes it, too. He lets the balloon inflate and deflate completely, then drinks it as he bottles it (not much makes it into bottles, LOL~)

  5. I have been producing beer and wine for 6 years now and there are a few points I’d like to share with you before you try this.

    First off, according to BATFE/federal law, you can produce for personal consumption up to 100 gallons per year of beer or wine per person of legal drinking age in a household, with a cap of 200 gallons per household per year. You may not sell or trade the alcohol, and transporting it across state lines may get you in trouble. Local laws may differ, so it does not hurt to check those too.

    Yeast work by consuming the sugars in the wine, leaving mostly 2 waste products behind: alcohol and carbon dioxide. They also produce esters (which are basically yeast signalling hormones and a byproducts of metabolism) and fusel alcohols, both of which give your wine different flavors and can contribute to the hangover you have after the buzz is gone. Under 70° F, they produce mostly ethyl alcohol, which is what you want. Over 70° F, they start producing methyl alcohol, which is very bad for humans, it causes depression, blindness and death. The antidote for methyl alcohol is ethyl alcohol, so if you are not distilling the wine, having some methyl alcohol in it is not a big deal, but the higher the temperature you ferment it at, the larger the hangover you should expect. The author of this article (trevor) will get better quality wine if he moves the currently fermenting product to a much cooler and darker location (yeast produce better and faster in darkness).

    Champagne yeast is also known as Saccharomyces Bayanus, which is not the same as, but closely related to wine and beer yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae).

    Champagne yeast has a bad habit of doing it’s best to keep fermenting every last bit of sugar, yes you get higher alcohol %, but you sacrifice taste and finish, because as they work harder for the more complex sugars, they produce more weird off flavors. Plus they often keep working long after you think they are done, resulting in highly pressurized wine bottles. I have opened one that was aging for a month after the fermentation looked like it had stopped (30 seconds between air-lock bubbles, which is the standard) and the wine foamed out just like champagne spilling half the bottle on the floor. It just kept foaming and foaming and foaming. I was left with half a bottle of wine and a huge mess to clean up.

    The champagne yeast makes for a very dry wine, if you like any sweetness to the wine, you should try a different strain of yeast. If you have a local brew shop, they should have several choices of yeast available. The different strains of yeast are meant for different types of wine and a good shop will have notes by each strain telling you what side flavors the yeast produce and what % alcohol each one can be expected to stop at.

    Other than all that, have fun and be safe.

    • Thanks for the great advice Paul, a lot of this stuff I didn’t even know. I’ve added a link to this comment in the main article because it’s helpful info for anyone getting into winemaking.

      I will say that waiting 30 seconds between bubbles is probably the figure for 5 gallons of liquid. For a small container like this, quintuple that figure to 2:30!

  6. I stumbled onto the 1 Minute Wine article a couple of months ago and have been making wine out of Juicy Juice under my guest bathroom sink ever since! I stopped by the local brew shop and picked up about $18 worth of stoppers, air locks, yeast and a hydrometer, and picked up (8) 64 oz bottles of grape Juicy Juice (100% juice) at Food 4 Less on sale for $1.48 each. Pour out 1-1/2 cups of juice, add 2 cups sugar, shake, add a nickel sized pile of yeast, stopper and put it under the sink for 2 weeks. Decant to another bottle, rest (2) weeks, drink! I prepare (1) bottle after work every Friday. A bottle a week for about $2.00!
    Thanks

    • And how do you like the taste & quality of the wine? Have you shared some with other people, and what do they think?

      • Before we head down the path towards a lengthy discussion about taste and quality, let me first say that I am not much of a wine drinker. Prior to my introduction to 1 Minute Wine, the last time that fermented fruit juice wet my whistle was about 4 years ago and I think the wine came out of a box. My apologies to those of you a more sophisticated pallet, but you have to keep things in context here…..a half gallon of Juicy Juice, 2 cups of sugar and a pinch of yeast is more of a science project than a quest for the nectar of the gods. All in all, it was not bad. tasted okay and produced a nice mellow buzz!

    • Yes. This is the 1 gallon easy mead recipe I would try out, courtesy of Ran Prieur.

      To make mead, I put maybe a pound of raw honey in a glass gallon jug, fill it with water, shake it around many times over the course of a day to get it dissolved, then just take a couple sips, and micro-critters from my mouth will get in and start it fermenting. Honey is a natural antibiotic, so it takes much longer to ferment than apple juice. I figure it’ll be good for drinking in a couple months.

      I would probably use a commercial wine yeast instead for a quicker and more predictable fermentation. Although some people boil the mead must, you don’t need to. Mead needs water, and if your tap water has chlorine in it, that may slow down or kill your yeast. Leaving your tap water out overnight will fix this problem – the chlorine will evaporate away.

      • I’ve made several batches of mead using a very similar method. I heat the water to a low simmer, not a boil, and then mix in the honey, allow the water/honey mixture to cool a bit before pouring into your brewing container. Make sure that the liquid is no warmer than room temperature before adding the yeast. If you want to experiment with different flavors try adding diced fresh fruit. I once made a batch with strawberries and rhubarb that produced a very sweet and smooth mead that had a rather unexpected kick.

        • Can you just leave the fresh fruit in it the entire time it takes to ferment it? The fruit won’t rot or make you sick? Sorry, I’ve never tried any of this before so I’m not sure how this works. Thanks!

          • Yes I have heard of people doing this with beer so it’s probably fine to do with wine as well. The fruit shouldn’t “rot” if you kept all your equipment reasonably clean. But remember that fermentation is actually one part of “rot” anyway.

  7. I have fresh muscadines I need to use. I would like to make some wine out of them, and use your recipe. It seems to be the simplest I’ve found so far. Can you revise your recipe? Thanks!

    • Yeah sure, but the limiting factor is likely to be its sugar content, which you can measure with a hydrometer or look on a bottle of V8 tomato juice.

  8. I have been making my own wine for many years, though I’m not an expert – word of warning! The reason for some of these chemicals in wine making is to prevent bad bacteria forming in your wine. If you make a batch of wine and it forms one of these bad bacterias you will become extremely sick and if you share with other people – ditto! Why take that chance for a cheap bottle of wine with no taste or distinction to it. I probably invested about $50 in my equipment on sale and the wines I make have flavor, character and cost about $3 a bottle to make.

    • If your system is properly sealed, there’s no reason why this should happen. Never heard of this happening once in my family and my family has been doing it this way for many decades.

  9. Thank you so much! I make cordials ( as of now 9 different flavors- that I love) and my husband brews beer— guess we will make this next!

  10. As a child I remember my parents making wine and it conjures up very fond memories and fun. This may be useful or useless, I don’t know, but for shaking purposes my parents left the wine on top of the washing machine and that seemed to do the trick. I want to ask you about the alcohol content….18% seems huge….is there any way to bring that down to the average 12% give or take. I’m so glad I found this article and really looking forward to having a go…thanks so much for sharing :)

    • Yes of course! 18% is only the maximum that champagne yeast will ferment to. If you want 12%, only add enough sugar to bring your hydrometer’s potential alcohol reading to 12%. 3 cups of sugar in the bottle I showed above gave an alcohol yield of 15%, so for 12% you should only put in 1 2/3 cups of sugar. See my journal for more.

  11. Okay seriously, could we use just a modicum of common sense and God-given reason here? Don’t use juice sweetened with corn syrup? Please, corn sweetener is fructose, the very same sugar present in fruits. See, that’s why they call it “fru”ctose.

    • Not entirely accurate. Fruit sugar is all natural. Corn syrup is artificially derived through a process of combining corn starch with hydrochloric acid. To make this into high fructose corn syrup, the corn syrup is then treated with an enzyme to convert some of the glucose into fructose. It may still be called fructose, but it’s not the exact same as fructose directly from fruit. Just as calcium from its various sources is not exactly the same, nor as usable by the human body.

  12. A good choice for a jug would be the one gallon Gatorade jugs. Very heavy plastic and a very sturdy lid. I drilled a hole through the top and fed aquarium tubing through it and hot glued it to seal. The other end of the tube I feed into a container (half gallon milk jug works fine) of water. This acts as the airlock. I’d make several batches at once surrounding the milk jug. Using the frozen concentrate method, absolutely perfect. I also agree, I didn’t use any additives.

    • Corn syrup should work fine, it’s the same type of sugar. Dunno how much but I’d start with 2 cups. Get a hydrometer to check how much sugar for the best precision.

  13. I love this article + all the comments – ‘Highly educational!
    I home brew, but have been looking for methods to begin wine making on the smaller scale. Could these same concepts be applied to Apple Juice for the purpose of making “Hard Cider” or “Apple Jack”?
    – Thanks in advance,
    Greg W in San Antonio, TX

    • Yes of course – in fact I adapted this recipe partly from an apple jack recipe. You can try it with any juice you can find as long as it’s 100% juice. Why not pear wine, mango wine, pineapple wine?

      • The issue with apple juice/cider is just about every apple juice on the store shelf has potassium sorbate in it, even if it’s not listed on the label. A few ppm of this will kill your yeast right now. I made some batches with ‘organic’ apple cider and had issues starting those fermenting. If you can find a sorbate free source, then bully. Be prepared to waste a few batches though. One drawback to apple wine is they tend to take some shelf time once bottled to be drinkable. I moved on to mead fermented with red star bread yeast and haven’t looked back. Look up Joe’s Ancient Orange Spiced Mead and you’ll be quite happy with the results. Promise!

  14. I’ve got about 6 bottles of this stuff fermenting on the counter at home. My favorite so far is the Strawberry/Kiwi juice.

    Airlocks are cheap enough, but for an even cheaper method, I use some old fish aquarium airline and a drill bit (drill a small hole in the lid). Looks mighty ghetto.

    I just wish i had discovered this back in the days of my youth :-)

    • Good on you – I’m enjoying the peach/mango I’ve got bubbling right now. I prefer sharing these more exotic flavors with other people because they don’t have preconceptions about what it “should” taste like. Lately I’ve been using less sugar so that it tastes better sooner. My latest batches have been around 11%.

      An even cheaper airlock is a party balloon with a tiny pinhole poked in it. You can get a bag of them from the dollar store.

  15. This is my Mom’s modified formula.

    • 1 container of Welshes grape concord or white,
    • up to 4 cups of sugar
    • half a small cake of fresh bakers yeast (I now use a 1/2 pack of dry yeast dissolved in a small amount off warn water)

    Dissolve the sugar into 6 cups of very hot water. This will melt the sugar and eliminate the need for all of that shaking (I’m a commercial baker) I always use a good brand of very fine cane sugar like Dominos. The cheep sugar kind is often Beet sugar(yucky)

    Allow the sugar water to cool. If it is to hot it will kill the yeast. Mix the grape concentrate,sugar syrup,yeast water into a gallon glass jug (i use the ones that my Apple cider comes in during the in during Apple cider season)

    Top that off with good Spring or Well water ( warm around 82 degrees ) then place an unused condom with a pin hole in the tip. Secure it with a couple of bread ties or a pipe cleaner and store in a nice dark warm place. I put mine beside my hot water tank.

    In about 2 weeks the rubber will go up then go down. Strain the wine through some cheese cloth or a cheep new tee shirt that has been rinsed out in hot water leaving behind as much sediment as you can. Cap the wine and let it age until you think it’s to your liking. Store the jug on its side. This makes an air lock (this will also keep a bottle of pop like Coke/Pepsi) from going flat.

    For Saki, take a 1# bag of rice and add the 4 cups of sugar from the above formula. Cover this in hot water and simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Use the instructions from the grape wine (minus the grape part.) Let me know what you think Rick…

  16. Great article and site I just stumbled upon. Finally, good directions that can be followed by the average guy like me. The discussions are positive and informative. My question is do have any recommendations for buying grape varietal juices like Zinfandel and Cab Sauv? Would the process work the same once you mixed the juice with water? Good info on champagne yeast. Didn’t know this. Thanks for helping us wine rebels! Warren

  17. Thanks for posting! I’ve made several wines so far – apple, apple cider, grape. Am working on a blackberry one now. The apple cider seemed to be the most combustible…after I made it, it was almost pop the cork every time I opened the bottle even when there was just 2 inches of wine left in the bottle! Use champaigne yeast, may be reason. The apple cider is my favorite so far. Usually use 2 1/2 cups of sugar for a 64 oz size bottle, if I do more it seems too sugary. If it’s a smaller container (46 oz), I use 2 cups of sugar. Just my experience and taste.

  18. I like your recipe. I have been brewing at home for years useing all the crap fancy wine makers call for. You are right !! The pilgrims didn’t have all those chemicals. I tried your recipe & it turned out great maybe even better! I tweaked the recipe a little bit though after a few batches. I cut the sugar back to 2 cups it gives a better taste but not as high alcohol content though. I have also figured out if you rack every 2 weeks until it’s completly clear & can see through it then bottle let it sit for at least 6 months you’ll get a smooth full body wine just the way I like it.

  19. i want to make a 1 gallon of dry wine using welches 100 percent juice with 41 grams of natural sugat and champagne yeast good up to 18 per cent alcahol how much juice do i use and how much sugar ty so much

    • I would use just 2 cups of sugar for a dry wine. The longer you let it ferment, the drier it will be. I’m talking 4 to 6 weeks to ferment every bit of sugar out.

  20. You mentioned ideally to have around 80g of sugar per cup of juice. Should the volume of the sugar added be considered if it is honey or juice concentrate which is partially liquid?

  21. I tried everything has prescribed in the article of than using red star Pasteur red wine yeast with a maximum APV of 16%.
    A little over 2 1/4 cups per 3 quarts. Airlock stop bubbling after 10 days.
    Hygrometer APV at 9%. Wine is super sweet almost to the point where it’s undrinkable. I cleaned the fermentation vessels and bottled with remainder of the wine. I’ll let it sit for a few weeks to see if it becomes more palatable with additional APV.
    Anyone else had similar experiences?

    • Hmm a 9% reading at the end of fermentation is way too high – it certainly sounds unbearably sweet. I’m not familiar with that yeast but perhaps that’s the reason fermentation halted? It might also just take significantly longer to ferment out than champagne yeast, maybe as long as 6 months. You might try adding “yeast nutrient” to attempt to kickstart fermentation again. Never had your problem before unfortunately, sorry I can’t offer better advice.

      • For DM: When you add all of the ingredients, you have to let the fermented juice catch air for the 1st fermentation stage with usually lasts about 6 days. This will cause the yeast to multiply over 200% and attack the sugar. About 70% of your fermentation takes place during this stage. If you prevent the must (batch) from getting air the fermentation can stop (many times you will notice if you give it air after the fermentation has stopped fermentation will start again). After about a week, then you can apply the airlock or a balloon with a hole in it to complete the remaining 30% of fermentation which for store bought juices is about another 8 to 10 days or as the balloon deflates or airlock stops bubbling. I hope this helps.

  22. I LOVE THIS ARTICLE! Very informative. Also very interesting! We have a Mulberry tree on our property and I’d love to try making wine with the berries!

  23. Aloha! WoW! This is a great site! Love the balloon idea. My Lithuanian grandfather made wine for the Catholic church. Every year he would get together with the head priest and they would go into his basement and do some serious “quality control” sampling! He never had any fancy equipment either.
    Having said that, I live in Hawaii, and run into some issues people in cooler climates do not. LIke fermentation under 70 degrees fahrenheit. The coolest place for me is under the house, which is on stilts-like most houses here-so gets good air circulation and shade, but the air can be WARM. I do my best to keep things cool but temp can fluxuate. But that is not my issue.
    What is, is, how can I use fresh Mango fruit in your recipe and not store bought juice? How do I filter out the pulp, and get the wine to be clear? I guess this is where racking comes into play. I have a tree with a zillion juicy and super sweet Mangos, just waiting to be made into wine. If anyone can tell me how to go about this, using this wonderfully easy recipe, I would be very appreciative. Much Aloha, Mahalo nui loa, MaryAnn

    • Mango juice should work great! If i’m not mistaken mango is very high in natural sugars so you shouldn’t need to add too much extra sugar. You could either use a commercial juicer to filter out the pulp, or just use a metal strainer for the big chunks then a cheesecloth filter for the smaller stuff. Don’t worry about filtering out anything that can get through the cheesecloth – as you already guessed racking should take care of any extra sediment – and it won’t hurt you to drink a bit of the pulp either!

      These are sort of the strainers I had in mind to use: metal mesh for big stuff and simple cheesecloth and rubber band for the small stuff

      Another trick to controlling sediment is a plant called “irish moss.” It’s normally used in beer but there’s some evidence showing that it will work in wines and/or meads as well. I’d try without it first though.

      Fermentation at your hawaii temperatures should be fine – faster in fact than at cooler temperatures. The only time I know of when you would want a slow, cooler fermentation is when make a certain style of beer called “lager.”

  24. Wonderful post, I can’t wait to try it!

    I haven’t yet invested in a hydrometer (which would answer my question) so I’m hoping your experience might help me answer it for free:

    I’m considering adding concentrated grape juice to the store-bought container *instead* of white sugar, for some of the reasons described above. If each cup of white sugar will boost the potential ABV approximately 2% (assuming a 3/4 gallon jug and following the example described in the original recipe), any idea how one (or two!) cans of concentrated juice would affect the potential ABV in comparison?

    Thanks again!
    ~Matt

    • I couldn’t say exactly but I’d try working under the assumption that the vast majority of the concentrate is sugar. So if a cup of sugar will raise the ABV by 2%, it would probably take between 1 – 1.5 cups of concentrate to raise the ABV by 2%. Just an educated guess though and you’d have to use a hydrometer to know for sure.

      You can probably figure out a really good guess by using the nutritional facts on the label, does it have one? Check the serving size for one cup of prepared juice then multiply the sugar amount in a serving by 4 – which is normally the ratio of concentrate to completed juice. (1 can concentrate, 3 cans water) Then take the grams and find out the equivalent of white sugar in a cup of concentrate.

  25. wonderful article..so easy to understand. I have the equipment, but have been too intimidated to begin because it all seemed so complicated..You have given me courage..headed out in the AM for juice!
    many thanks!

  26. I’ve got a question that you may be able to help me with so I don’t waste a batch of this glory.
    I’m about to cap my about-to-be-fermented product and see that if the bottle bulges in a couple days, I can let the air out and re-seal. But I thought that once you opened a bottle of wine, you had to finish it in a couple days or it’d be no good?
    So my real question is – at what point, if any, do I need to keep my bottle sealed until I’m ready to finish it within a few days? My instinct would guess: once it can stay sealed on my closet floor and not bulge?

    Thanks again!

  27. hello, I’m into the 8th day of fermentation, using (2) half gallon jugs of welch’s regular grape juice. There are about 20 seconds between bubbles. It seems unclear if you direct us to decant the wine before aging, or if it’s okay to age the wine along with the sediment.

    I’ve done a little more reading, and I gather it’s a bad idea to age the wine in the fridge. I don’t have a wine fridge, just the normal room temperature of about 78º (Summer in Texas).

    Are there any real worries about aging the wine at room temperature for long periods of time (up to 6 months). Please bear with me.. this is my first batch. So far so good. Thank you so much for this great tutorial.

    • Hi Jesse

      Yeah there’s no reason to keep the wine in the fridge, it probably won’t hurt it but it will slow the aging process down to a crawl. It’s completely normal to age the wine at room temperature for 6 months or even much, much longer than that. Although 78 is a little warm it shouldn’t hurt anything other than adding perhaps some unique flavors.

      I would decant the wine to remove the sediment just to avoid the wine taking on flavors from the yeast. It won’t hurt you to leave the sediment but it might not taste as nice.

  28. Hi there! Is eventually pouring the liquid into glass bottles and corking/storing an option with this method? If so, at what point would I transfer from the jug to a glass wine bottle?

    Would potentially like to give as little gifts if I manage a good mix and the plastic jug, though effective, isn’t particularly aesthetic :)

  29. What a terrific thread and site. Real down to earth viners..see what I did there?:>) Since nobody seems too much of a purest I pose the question: While racking, what would be wrong with introducing a commercially produced wine in small portions ..like 15-25% Michigan or California sweet red or white wine. Or kick it up a notch with an ounce or two of brandy or even vodka or rum? Please don’t throw things at me; it’s just an idea to think about.

    • Good ideas, part of the fun is experimentation. Abandon the dogmas of brewers and you will have a better time, make better (and sometimes worse) boozes, plus probably save money.

      • One of my favorite ‘wines’ is the Adam Carolla Mangria. It’s fortified with some little “extra kicks” and it’s wonderful. One glass and you’re toast though!

    • That’s cool. I don’t think it’s the authors intent to produce an award winng product. It’s a way to ease in to home brewing, it’s fun, educational, and delicious.

    • I just “harvested” my husband’s grape vine (as in one) and had a load (really big) of grapes. We planted a table grape, dark blue, and it must have been a great year for grapes. So,,,, I thought there are too many for a couple of jars of jam/jelly. Maybe I should can the juice. And as things go, here I am talking to people who know what they are doing, Making Wine, And I think maybe I’ll just can it, literally ! What a confusing chance I would make if I tried.
      I guess, I’ll just leave it to you experts, and buy a bottle!
      Thanks for all the input!

  30. Hello again. I just attempted to decant my batch of 3. I tried filtering through cheesecloth and also syphoning but I still have ended up with a thin line of sediment at the bottom.

    Is this cause for concern? Will it prevent my batch from eventually becoming clearer?

  31. MY SON AND I READ YOUR “1 MINUTE WINE”. IT MADE A LOT OF SENSE TO US, SO WE GAVE IT A TRY.WE MADE A RED, A WHITE AND 2 MIXED JUICE FLAVORS PURCHASED IN OUR LOCAL FOOD STORE. BASED ON YOUR TUTORIAL WE ADDED 1 1/2 CUPS OF SUGAR TO EACH. WE DID BUY AIR LOCKS BUT HAVE NOT GOTTEN AN HYDROMETER YET. IT HAS BEEN 3 WEEKS AND WE ARE GOING TO SWITCH THE FERMENTED JUICE TO OTHER CONTAINERS. SO WE THOUGHT WE WOULD GIVE IT A TASTE. “PRETTY GOOD” BUT THE BEST PART WAS MY WIFE ( WHO LAUGHED AT US WHEN WE TOLD HER WHAT WE WERE MAKING )SAYING “I DON’T BELIEVE IT THIS TASTES LIKE WINE”
    GREAT TUTORIAL – THANKS

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