how to make homemade wine

 Most Common Reasons for FAILURE When Learning How to Make Homemade Wine


Problem Solving - How to Make Homemade Wine

When making wine, you will learn that sooner or later you will run into problems, even if you have never had a problem before, there are always problems out there lurking around, waiting to catch you unaware. You may encounter very common problems that most winemakers experience sometime durihow to make wine from homeng their lifetime of wine making and there are some uncommon ones, that don’t happen often, but when they do, they can destroy the quality of your wine.

When you are learning how to make homemade wine you will want to be vigilant about recognizing and fixing any problems that occur. You are not a great winemaker because you don’t have problems, you are great when you can avert the problems and still come out with a quality product.




The Most Common Problems

·         One major problem is that your fermentation will not start. Your must may be having a problem with the yeast that it is not allowing you to begin the fermentation process. Sometimes it is your yeast which may be too old, it was stored improperly, or it died from being in extreme heat situations. However, sometimes it is not the yeast at all, sometimes the problem is something that has occurred in your must. The recommendation is to buy fresh yeast or date the yeast you have so that you can keep track of the age of the yeast. Keep yeast in a cool dry place or refrigerate it. Lastly keep an eye on your must, be sure to follow directions on the packaging or the recipe to be sure everything is right for proper fermentation.


·         Another problem is overly sweet wine, this is the most common problem experienced by winemakers, old and new. You can correct the problems of an overly sweet wine in two ways. One way to fix a wine is to restart fermentation and let the yeast convert your residual sugar into more alcohol. Another way to fix this problem is to blend your sweet wine with a wine that may be a little too dry. To restart fermentation you can add water and yeast nutrient to the must, and let it dissolve. Then use some fresh yeast that has a higher alcohol tolerance and sprinkle it on a sample amount of wine, ½ a cup is good. When fermentation starts on your sample, you do this process to another glass of wine, about three times. When fermentation is going strong, add your samples to the overly sweet wine, stir in another ½ teaspoon of yeast nutrient and put on the airlock. You will want to rack when the fermentation process has stopped and let it sit for 30 days with the airlock back in place. You will rack yet again, and then you should re-bottle your wine. This wine will have higher alcohol content but the sweetness will be gone. Another cause of sweet wine is the lack of nutrition for the yeast, it is a good idea to put ½ teaspoon of yeast nutrient for every gallon of wine you are making, and you want to do this even if the recipe didn’t tell you to. Another note is that if you correct the sweetness of the wine using the bottle of dry wine, you will have two sweet wines. If you are not a fan of sweet wine you can give it away to someone who likes sweet wine or you should consider the restart fermentation system.


·         Another common problem you may run into is a stuck fermentation. This is when your fermentation started fine and then stops prematurely. The usual cause of this is lack of nutrients or acid, it is not because of lack of sugar as some new winemakers believe. When this problem happens you will want to check the measurements of the must’s acid first, you can correct the deficiency by adding the acid blend, and you may also want to add some yeast nutrient or a yeast energizer to get fermentation going.


·         A common problem that occurs on a regular basis is hazes and colors that are not right. Sometimes this is nothing to worry about because if you use iron or copper equipment, it caused your product to take on that color, if you use a few drops of acid blend it will clear up your haze. It could occur with zinc and aluminum equipment as well, try fining the wine with an egg shell.


·         The wine somehow got contaminated is another problem, there are many reasons your wine can become contaminated. It can be infected with bacteria or any number of other microorganisms could contaminate the must. In severe cases the wine cannot be saved.


·         Flat Taste is another problem and is usually attributed to insufficient acid in your must, you will want to add the acid blend and put your airlock back on for about 2 to 4 hours.

Uncommon Problems When Learning How to Make Wine


·         Acidification is one of the worse problems that affect your wine, and it means that batch of wine is usually shot. This is the formation of vinegar in your wine, the problem is not reversible. However, you can always use the vinegar for something. To combat the problem early on, check the smell, if it has even the slightest hint of vinegar, put a crushed Campden Tablet per gallon of wine, wait 24 hours then restart fermentation with fresh yeast. If it is a strong smell of vinegar, you will not be able to save the wine.


·         Flowers in the wine are another problem that can cause the wine to become spoiled. You can see them as small flecks or blooms of a white powder-like substance. If you leave them they will grow and cover the top of the wine and spoil the wine. They are caused by spoiled yeast or mycoderma bacteria. If they were caused by yeast they will eat the alcohol and give of a carbon dioxide gas and end up turning your wine into colored water. To treat this problem you will need to remove the flecks or the blooms, filter the liquid and then treat with one Campden Tablet per gallon and add a little alcohol to re-fortify the liquid. If it was caused by mycoderma bacteria then you will want to treat it like a yeast infection, you can use the Campden Tablets to get rid of the bacteria but the taste may be bad, if so you may want to get rid of the wine at that point.


More Common Mistakes of Winemakers When Learning How to Make Wine from Home

When learning how to make homemade wines most new winemakers and some old winemaking enthusiasts have fallen into these pitfalls when they were making wine. It is important that you avoid these problems if you are going to make wine in your home.

·         One of the most common problems most new wine makers make is not having the right amount of equipment. A lot of time new winemakers will notice that they have some of the same products in their home that the recipe may call for. Equipment such as pails, carboys, spoons and many other winemaking equipment can be found in your home.


·         This equipment is different because proper winemaking equipment is made from a special material and will change what you finished product. Re- using other equipment such as barrels from other places can be detrimental to the wine, especially those that were used for food, because the food smells are now in the plastic and will taint the smell and taste of the wine. Just saving a few dollars for using equipment that you don’t have to buy at the store, is not beneficial in wine making. You want to make wine buy a quality kit or pieces from real wine making stores, so that you know they will work well in creating your wine.


·         Another important concept for winemaking is the cleaning and sanitation of your equipment. 90% of all problems happen because people are not cleaning and sanitizing their equipment properly and introducing germs and bacteria into your wine. Sanitation is needed to eliminate and prevent the growth of the organisms that may spoil your wine. Everything you use to make the wine should be cleaned, from the smallest item like the stirring equipment to the pail you use for fermentation; everything should be cleaned and sanitized. Sanitation treatments are available for your equipment and could save you time and money by keeping your wine and winemaking equipment free of contaminates.


·         Another problem that new winemakers who are learning how to make wine from home face is a failure to follow the instructions. Some winemaking kit instructions are long and oftentimes complicated, for the new winemaker this is a hassle, and they may be tempted to simplify them or to skip steps in order to make the process go faster, however this is a mistake. Most winemaking kits were designed to give you sound advice and techniques when making wine. These steps have been tested by professional wine makers and have been found to work well if you simply follow all of the directions. Also if your kit fails to ferment or some other problem occurs, you will be unable to correct it because you did not follow the directions.


·         A big problem that new winemakers face is the bad water problem. Many people put far too much emphasis on what kind of water should be put into your water, fact is any water that you drink from the tap is usually fine for wine making (except chlorine). Do not use chlorine based city water!  However if you have a lot of hardness or the water is high in the mineral content it may lead to off flavors, and if you have a salt exchange water softener you cannot use this water for winemaking. Another helpful hint is if you are not sure about the water buy bottled water, but be sure it is not distilled water as this water does not have any nutrients or minerals in the water and may cause fermentation to be sluggish or stop all together. Feel free to question us on the forum


·         Poor yeast can be another problem for the new winemaker. The packet of wine yeast that you have will be dried and of high quality but there is a process that will need to be performed in order to revive the yeast. Some people will want to rehydrate the yeast prior to pitching it, you can do that if you wish, however you can just sprinkle the yeast on top and you will have more live cells than if you hydrate any way. Please read our free tips on understanding wine yeast.


·         One of the biggest mistakes that a person can make is poor temperature control; however yeast likes certain temperatures (65 degrees F to 75 degrees F) and doesn’t care much for fluctuations in these numbers. For winemakers if the fermentation area is too cool the fermentation will be slow and may even stop and if it is too hot, it may ferment too quickly or kill the yeast, higher temperatures may also leave your wine open to the growth of unwanted organisms that may destroy your wine. You may need to buy or build a wine cellar.


·         A common problem that most people are unaware of is that if they add sulfite and sorbate at the wrong time it may cause irreparable damage to their wine’s production. These products are stabilizers and they work to inhibit the yeast’s activity. If you put them in to early they may stop your fermentation and prevent the fruit from ever finishing fermentation.


·         Another thing that could be a potential problem is leaving out the sulfite all together. Some people may complain of being allergic to sulfites and will leave them out of their fermentation processes. However true sulfite allergies are rare and no wine is ever sulfite free, because the yeast makes sulfites while they are fermenting. Without the sulfites, the wine may oxidize or spoil very quickly and be undrinkable in about three months.


·         A serious problem many new wine makers are often guilty of is not stirring the wine, many wine musts must be stirred vigorously, and usually this is because juice and concentrates don’t always mix with water easily. Even if you think it looks like it is in diluted in the water, it is not. The wine is probably lying at the bottom of the pail or fermenter with water on top, this throws off gravity reading and makes the yeast work harder, so you will need to stir when the recipe calls for it.


·         The last but probably the most important problem of new winemakers is that they are impatient; they want to open the wine right away. Most wine kits say they are ready in about 28 to 45 days, they may be too, but they are usually not ready for consumption. You will need to wait, at the very least wine taste good after a month, three months is even better to give the wine character, and six months is needed to improve the mature characteristics of the wine and give it a smoother taste. If you want a wine that is mature, smooth, clean and delicious you may want to allow it to age for at least a year before drinking.

      If you are having difficulties with your first few wine batches it is important to stick with the basics. Our home page describes the basic how to make homemade wine fundamentals and is the best place to start. You can also check out our Free tips & tricks plus the Free E-Course we offer and lastly our FAQ.




   how to make wine from home 

how to make homemade wine 







How to make wine 
how to make fruit wine 
Wine tasting book 
how to make homemade wine