The idea of making alcohol at home is certainly not a new one. You need only visit a supermarket and you’re likely to see a home brewing kit or two for the beer and ale lovers out there. People love the idea of making something that is completely their own.
We’d argue that’s what the entire Italian wine industry is built on.
Yes, it’s a huge global industry now. But way back when, families made wine for the joy of making it. In some cases, they barely produced enough to sell.
However, even those families needed land, vineyards, and production facilities. These are all things that the average home lacks. While brewing beer at home is often a fairly simple process, making wine promises many more challenges for the person who doesn’t so happen to live in a winery.
And yet people are doing it.
In fact, making wine at home has become a popular trend in recent years as wine lovers try to stack their talents up against the best in the business.
Of course, the end product isn’t going to reach the same high standards. Plus, you’re going to have to buy a bunch of equipment, plus the grapes, to even get started.
But let’s say that you want to give it a crack. It isn’t an easy process, by any means.
That’s why we’re going to share a few tips to ensure that you can make your wines as safely as possible.
Tip #1 – Start With Grapes or Concentrate
As mentioned, you’ll have some wine grapes to work with in an ideal world. You may need to source these from local producers though, as they’re not the easiest thing to find in stores.
And if you don’t already know, regular grapes won’t do the trick when it comes to making wine. They’re specially grown to not have as many concentrated sugars. You need grapes that are specifically grown for the purposes of making wine.
But what happens if you can’t get your hands on those grapes?
That’s where concentrate comes in.
You can purchase grape concentrates fairly easily, though you’ll still likely need to go to a specialist store. The issue with them is that even a slightly trained nose can usually tell that the wine doesn’t come from grapes. You’ll get something passable, and maybe even enjoyable. But it won’t match the level of quality that you could achieve with actual grapes.
It all depends on what your goals are. We’d recommend starting with concentrate to get the process down. And once you’ve got a bit of experience under your belt, you can move onto wine grapes.
Tip #2 – Clean Your Equipment
We cannot stress this one enough. If you’re not working with clean equipment, there’s a possibility of introducing all sorts of nasty stuff into your wine.
That extends beyond the general toxins, bacteria, and chemicals, that might collect on your equipment over time. Even uncleaned stains from previous batches of wines can cause issues. If nothing else, they’ll taint the taste of any other wines that you use the equipment to make.
A solution that makes use of potassium metabisulphite is often the recommended way of cleaning a home winemaking kit. Make sure you give everything a good clean using the solution. Your goal is to introduce your grapes or concentrate to as sterile an environment as possible so they have the chance to turn into wines with their own unique characteristics.
Put it like this. Fermentation is a very precise process that can take years to truly master. If you’re working with unclean equipment, you’re at a major disadvantage from the start. And the likelihood is that any wines you produce won’t taste all that good.
They could even end up being dangerous.
Tip #3 – Always Start Small
You’re brand new to this. You simply cannot expect to make a huge vat of wine and have it turn out okay.
Just like any winemaker, you’ve got to start out small. Make enough to fill a bottle or two at first. Taste it, figure out what went wrong (because something will go wrong), and then try again with another small batch.
The point is that you want to work out all of the kinks in your production method using these small batches. Otherwise, you’ll spend a ton of money on ingredients that end up getting wasted because you haven’t mastered the process yet.
Furthermore, starting small gives you a chance to really learn about your equipment. This ensures that you can use it safely when it’s time to scale up.
Tip #4 – Get Creative
The great thing about making wine at home is that you have no constraints. You’re not looking to achieve DOC certification here. That means you can play around with different grapes and flavours to your heart’s content.
Maybe you have a few favoured grapes that you’ve always loved. What happens if you combine them into one wine? You won’t know until you try it. Perhaps you’ll make something that tastes amazing. Or maybe you’ll end up understanding why no other winemaker has tried combining them.
Whatever the case may be, just have as much fun as you can with it. You’re going to make wines that simply don’t taste that good. But here’s the thing. Even the best producer has been there. They’ve had to learn what works and what doesn’t as well. And they do it by trying new ideas.
Interestingly, you can also try things like adding herbs or flowers to the fermentation process. Perhaps you can emulate the earthy tones that you might miss out on if you’re using a concentrate.
Again, you won’t know until you try.
The Final Word
The simple fact of the matter is that no wine that you make at home will be able to replace the best Italian wines on a quality level.
But you can still have fun with the idea. Why not give it a try yourself?
And if it doesn’t work out, we’re always here to offer you an amazing selection of Italian wines from some of the best producers in the country.