A Cheap and Easy Homemade Wine Recipe

Gary Miller shares his easy homemade wine recipe using fruits or honey to create a cheap wine from home.
By Gary Miller
September/October 1970
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You can make wine out of almost any fruit. In fact, you can make it from just about anything that grows. I have used grapes, pears, peaches, plums, blackberries, strawberries, cherries and—my favorite—honey.

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In the DEAR MOTHER section of MOTHER EARTH NEWS No. 3, Gary Dunford asked if it's possible to make wine at home without buying $40 worth of equipment. The answer is yes.

I started making wine with stuff I could scrounge while living in a one room apartment in the city. Following are my own Super Simple directions. They're guaranteed to drive dedicated winemakers up a wall but they do produce results. Anyway, they're a beginning and beginnings are the most important part.

You can make wine out of almost any fruit. In fact, you can make it from just about anything that grows. I have used grapes, pears, peaches, plums, blackberries, strawberries, cherries and—my favorite—honey. Honey wine is called Mead. The so-called wine of the gods. It's cheap, easy and good. Here's how:

Homemade Wine Recipe

Get a gallon jug, preferably glass but plastic will do. Clean it out good. Smell it. Someone may have kept gasoline in it. Wash the jug with soap (NOT detergent), rinse with baking soda in water and—finally—rinse with clear water.

Put a pint and a half to two pints of honey in the jug (the more honey, the stronger the wine), fill with warm water and shake.

Add a pack or cake of yeast—the same stuff you use for bread—and leave the jug uncapped and sitting in a sink overnight. It will foam at the mouth and the whole thing gets pretty sticky at this point.

After the mess quiets down a bit, you're ready to put a top on it. NOT, I say NOT, a solid top. That would make you a bomb maker instead of a wine maker.

What you have to do is come up with a device that will allow gas to escape from the jug without letting air get in. Air getting in is what turns wine mixtures into vinegar.

One way to do the job is to run a plastic or rubber hose from the otherwise-sealed mouth of the jug, thread the free end through a hole in a cork and let the hose hang in a glass or bowl of water. Or you can make a loop in the hose, pour in a little water and trap the water in the loop to act as a seal.

Now put your jug of brew away about two weeks until it's finished doing its thing. It's ready to bottle when the bubbles stop coming to the top.

Old wine bottles are best. You must use corks (not too tight!) to seal the wine as they will allow small amounts of gas to escape. The wine is ready to drink just about any time.

You can use the same process with fruits or whatever, except that you'll have to extract the juice and, maybe, add some sugar. You'll also find that most natural fruit will start to ferment without the yeast and will be better that way.

Once you've made and enjoyed your first glass of wine, no matter how crude, you'll be hooked.

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8/10/2014 8:40:21 AM
I have been wanting to make my own German fruit wine, and became interested in Irish as well as Scottish wines and am hoping that I will be able to make a good, decent wine for my own home. Live on fixed income and like to use wine for meals, and cooking to tenderize meat and to add flavor to my dishes and baking.

7/22/2014 1:49:00 PM
How much FRUIT do I use 4 this reciepe..??? AND when Do I ADD. it..??

7/22/2014 1:45:17 PM
How much FRUIT do I use 4 this reciepe..???

8/22/2013 9:49:47 AM
use some wine yeast, not bread yeast. you will have far better results.

8/16/2013 3:25:56 AM
i tried to make some wine and now it taste like beer is there anything i can do to save it i used apple cider yeast and surgar

8/16/2013 3:25:51 AM
i tried to make some wine and now it taste like beer is there anything i can do to save it i used apple cider yeast and surgar

Sally Brooks
10/28/2012 1:45:00 AM
this article is very interesting, as my husband and I have been trying to make a good wine out of mustang grapes that grow on our property every year for twenty years his dad made wine out of them and now we are trying. We had an argument about the yeast part he said yes I said no. Well he won and now we are waiting to see the results. Wish us luck because we have a five gallon jug. Hopefully it is still drinkable we will now in about 3 days. Thanks for all the info.

7/13/2010 11:53:05 AM
honey wine takes a extremely long time to ferment, it is a better idea to make this with bottled RED grape juice, it is done in 3 weeks insted of 3 months. dont try with white bottled grape juice though, something that they add to it always makes the wine smell like old tires.

5/2/2009 1:18:22 PM
I have tried to made mead (honey wine) and followed your instructions, but after 5 weeks, bubbles still come up if I shake the jug. is this normal?

1/25/2009 4:39:03 PM
I use to make this wine all the time in the 90's. I used a clean, used cranberry juice glass jug with a hole punched in the top of the screw on lid just big enough for the plastic hose and then ran the hose to a canning jar filled with water where it would bubble away. I let it sit for an hour on the counter instead of over-night before doing the hose part and then placing it under my sink for a month. The resulting Mead was very good. Fizzy, like Champagne and had a definite "kick" to it. Tips: Make sure your yeast is fresher than fresh and that your water is not too hot nor too cold. Other than that it should cause no extra steps to get a good jug of Honey Wine.

7/26/2007 5:26:18 PM
Hey i did all that stuff, except it disn't foam, where did i go wrong..will it still come out alright?

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