When my grandfather started E. C. Kraus back in 1966, wine making at home was illegal, so was home brewing. The truth of the matter was, he was selling supplies for the purpose of making an illegal substance. Never thought of it that way until just now, but that’s how it was.
But all that changed when legislation was carried into Congress by Senator Alan Cranston of California. This legislation would make it legal for both home winemakers and home brewers to make their delectable beverages. It was signed into law with little fuss by President Jimmy Carter and became law on February 1, 1979.
The bill made it Federally legal for a single adult household to make up to 100 gallons of wine and beer each year, and up to 200 gallons for a households with two or more adults. This law still remains in effect to this day.
Here are some things you should know:
- It is still very illegal to distill alcohol at home. Distilling is very different from wine or beer making and was not covered in the new legislation in any way.
- The bill does not allow for the sale of homemade wine or beer. So don’t think this gives you a green light to set up shop.
- While this legislation made in okay to ferment alcohol at a Federal level, at the time of the signing there where laws in many States that still made it a crime to produce alcohol. It wasn’t until 2013 that the last states made legal to make beer or wine in some capacity. Some States do have varying restrictions.
Even with these few caveats, it’s still great to know that you can legally make wine at home without fear of prosecution of some sort. So get some cookin’ invite some friends over an share and have comfort knowing are doing it legally.
Thanks Senator Cranston!
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.