Frequently Asked Questions:
How much does it cost to start making wine at home?
Surprisingly, it is not as expensive as you might think to start making wine
at home. The wine making supplies and wine making equipment necessary
to make 5 or 6 gallons of wine at a time will cost around $50-$100. After that,
each batch of homemade wine will cost about $30-$70. Thatís a maximum
cost of $2.50 per bottle of wine. And, if you home grow your own grapes or
other wine making fruit, the cost goes down even more.
Is home wine making legal?
Since 1978 the Federal Government has made home wine making legal.
However, there are some limitation. A household of two adults or more can
make up to 200 gallons of homemade wine annually. Single adult house-
holds can make up to 100 gallons of homemade wine annually. You may
also want to check with your state and local authorities to see if there
happens to be any other local restrictions in your area on home wine
Can I make my wines sweeter than the wines I buy at the store?
Absolutely! When you make you own wine you get to make it the way you
like it - sweet or dry. You can also make your wine heavy and full or light
and crisp. You can even control the wineís alcohol percentage. That's part
of what makes home wine making so fun.
Donít you need a wine press to be good at home wine making?
Not at all. Wine presses are used by wineries to get every last drop of juice
out of the pulp, not for quality reasons. When you make your own wine for
$1.00 or $2.00 a bottle, getting every last drop of juice is not so important.
Home wine making as a hobby is very flexible in this way. †
Which type of concentrate is best for making a sweet wine?
It really does not matter which type of concentrate you choose. Any wine
you make whether it is made from concentrate or fresh fruits, is going to
be dry when it is finished. That is just part of having a complete ferment-
ation. When you get to the point where you are ready to bottle, that is the
time to make your wine sweeter. You add wine stabilizer such as
Potassium Sorbate to your wine. This stabilizer will keep the wine from
re-ferment. Then add sugar back to the wine until you reach the desired
sweetness you are looking for. This gives you complete control over
how sweet the wine is going to be.
What is Bentonite?
Bentonite is a gray, clay granule that is used in wines as a clarifier. It is
unique in that it possess a negative electrostatic charge. (Just a fancy
word for static electricity) This attracting charge along with hydrogen
bonding, causes suspended particles in the wine to cling to it as it settles
to the bottom of the container.
What are the advantages of using Bentonite?
There are several advantages to using Bentonite. It is very effective in
dragging out yeast, tannins and other stubborn protein-based particles
that may want to linger after fermentation. But, it also helps to reduce the
occurrence of certain off-flavors, as well as reduce the wine's ability to
Are all Bentonites the same?
Not at all. The particular type of Bentonite we offer comes from a specific
mine in Wyoming that is known for providing Bentonite with an unusually
high electrostatic charge. That is why we call ours Speedy Bentonite. There
are other major source of Bentonite, but they are primarily intend to be
used as a bedding sealant for watering ponds.
How Is Bentonite Used?
Bentonite is relatively easy to use. You start out by mixing it with water
into a slurry. The slurry will have the consistency of a thin, watery cement
mix. A dose of the slurry mix is then stirred into the wine. It should also
be noted here that the Bentonite should not be added to the wine until
the fermentation is complete.
The method we recommended for making the slurry is to use boiling
water and to mix it in a blender. Blend it for 1 to 2 minutes until a creamy
head is formed. The slurry then needs to set for about an hour so as to
allow the Bentonite granules to swell and become saturated. The recom-
mended mix is 3 tablespoons of Bentonite to 1 pint of boiling water. It is
then recommended that you add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the slurry mix to
each gallon of wine.
Are There Any Tips For Making Bentonite More Effective?
There are a couple of thing you can do to make your Bentonite treatment
First of all, the colder the wine is the stronger the effect of the Bentonite's
static charge. While at room temperature Bentonite is adequately
effective, but chilling the wine down before adding the Bentonite to
around 45 degrees, or as cool as you can conveniently get it, is an added
Secondly, when adding the Bentonite to the yeast, stir it in thoroughly.
Don't agitate the wine, but smoothly blend it in to where you know, with-
out question, that it is evenly dispersed throughout the wine.
Also, stirring the wine several times after the Bentonite has been add,
will give the Bentonite more time to attract particles before settling. For
example, stir it once every hour or so throughout an evening.