Making Your Own Wine: How Hard Is It?

I’m making my own wine.  People ask me all the time “how hard is it to make wine?”

Well, let’s talk about one stage of winemaking: Pressing the grapes.

Sure, there are modern wine presses I could rent or buy which would make my job easy.    But I did it the old-fashioned (i.e. cheap) way … using a mesh sack.

The grapes act as a sponge, soaking up and jealously retaining every drop of liquid.  So it is very difficult – especially when going it alone like I did, mano y mano, with nothing but my bare hands – to press the wine from the grapes.

How hard?

These authentic ancient Egyptian drawings showing a group of men pressing grapes from a sack may give you an idea:

Perhaps I’ll rent a modern wine press next year …

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  • jo6pac

    If you add a little Mary Jane to it right after you do the crush it will remove the thc if you’re making red wine. This will bring a 🙂 to your face.

  • Carl_Herman

    GW! As a math teacher as well as social science, I proudly proclaim this as “real-world math” that makes real the work involved for people serious about reality 🙂

    Btw: this also contrasts the ridiculous gap between counting what matters (real-world math) with the algebra, trig, calculus that ignores what matters, a huge topic within how public education will never ever ever ever address what is most important for people to learn.

  • Sam Adams

    This last several months I made starfruit wine and lilikoi/starfruit with a touch of vanilla. Both were huge successes among friends. All the fruit was organic and from the property I live on. It’s one of the easiest things I’ve done.

    Here’s what you need:

    6-gal carboy with bung and airlock, organic fruit juice, approx. 12-1/2 lbs of organic cane sugar, 1 packet champagne yeast, 5-gal water.

    Warm up about 1-1/2 gal of water and dissolve the sugar into it in a stock pot. Don’t boil it! Let it cool to room temp. Add fruit juice to taste.

    Pour mixture into carboy and with water to 5-gal.

    Optional: pour out a small portion of mixture from the carboy and measure specific gravity with a hydrometer. Note the measurement. This will be used to determine ABV in one month.

    Warm up champagne yeast in water that is 110 degrees. Mix it in completely and then pour it into the carboy. Watch it go crazy eating the sugar and turning it into alcohol.

    Cap the carboy with the bung & airlock. It will bubble in the airlock for about 1 month.

    In 1 month, pour out enough wine to measure the specific gravity. It should show that the ABV is around 14-16%. Champagne yeast dies at 18%, so you won’t get any higher ABV than that. Don’t forget to taste it! 🙂

    Strain the wine into a food grade container removing as much yeast as you can. What doesn’t get strained will settle to the bottom of the bottles.

    Bottle your wine! We use recycled clear screw top wine bottles. Clean them first using a mixture of Oxy-clean and very hot water. Let them soak over night. Rinse thoroughly.

    You should get have enough wine to take to weekend parties and impress friends for the next month while your next batch is brewing.

  • Dominic S. Irudayaraj

    I am looking for the sources of these “sack press” pictures – authors/publications that hold the copyrights.
    As I see the need to reuse one of them for my upcoming work, I would greatly appreciate your kind help here.

    Thank you.
    Dominic S Irudayaraj