Home winemaking is an enjoyable hobby that can bring you great joy, but if you’re not prepared, it can be frustrating and near impossible. It’s important to understand the first steps in winemaking; to get a solid grasp of the basics, as well as an understanding of why it is you are doing what you are doing at any step of the way.
One of the first steps in winemaking that you should do is to get educated. Sign up for classes at your local University or Community College, or purchase some home winemaking books and get reading. There’s nothing worse than buying homemade wine equipment and launching right into making wine without knowing what you are supposed to be doing. Having knowledge of why it is you’re doing what you’re doing, again one of the first steps in winemaking, is extremely important, particularly when it comes to needing to adjust a fermentation on the fly. Written wine recipes are great when everything goes according to plan, but if something goes awry, it’s very important to have the knowledge and understanding as illustrated in these first steps in winemaking in order to know how you can adjust things to get back on the right path.
Another one of the first steps in winemaking is to decide what type of wine you’d like to make. Determining what type of wine you’d like to make will ultimately decide what type of winemaking equipment you need. As we learned about in the first steps in winemaking listed in the previous paragraph, knowing what type of wine you’d like to make is important, as you’ll need to know what type of equipment you need to buy and what steps you’ll need to take during the winemaking process. There are slight differences between making wine with grapes and making wine with fruit or anything else, so it’s important as one of the first steps in winemaking to have a solid grasp on what you’d like to do.
One final first steps in winemaking is to purchase the appropriate winemaking equipment. If you’re new to winemaking, purchasing a winemaking kit is a great idea. This way, you’ll know you aren’t missing any particular piece of winemaking equipment and you have a nice, easy wine recipe to follow along with. If you’re a more seasoned home winemaker, you may wish to purchase pieces of winemaking equipment individually, as this will give you more options and flexibility in terms of the style of wine you’d like to create, and ultimately how easy and fun it is to make! It’s important never to lose sight of the first steps in winemaking, as forgetting the basics could come back to haunt you!
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.