close up photography of wine glasses

We Made Our Own Wine

We had fun making a batch of “home made” wine at our local make your own wine store!

If you enjoy a little wine like me, you may have thought about making your own wine at home. However, the process can seem intimidating, especially if you’re not sure where to start. That’s where a “Make Your Own Wine” store comes in! These stores provide everything you need to make your own wine, – the grape juice, yeast, fermenting supplies and bottling equipment.


A Gift for a DIYer

My husband bought me a gift certificate for my birthday – to make a batch of Pinot Grigio at a local Make Your Own Wine Store! This was an awesome idea. I do make beer at home regularly with a kit, and in the past I have made homemade pear and apple cider, as well as liqueurs. But – making wine at a wine store simplifies the process so much and keeps me from making a mess at home!

In a make your own wine store
Make your own wine store

Choose Your Wine

The first step in making wine is to choose your wine grape variety. At a “Make Your Own Wine” store, you’ll have a variety of grape varieties to choose from – red or white – and different types of wines, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and so on. They also usually offer a variety of fruit wines.

Pinot Grigio for Summer Sharing

This batch of wine was timed to be ready for spring – for enjoying with friends while sitting on the patio or porch in nice weather – or enjoying at the cottage. To me, summer sipping calls for a light Pinot Grigio, and so that’s what we made. There were different “grades” of wine available – and we chose the premium wine. I recommend sampling the choices – so that you will enjoy what you make!

Pre-crushed Grapes

Now – if I had a vineyard, I’d kind of like to crush my own grapes – BUT – I confess – I have killed way too many grape vines in my gardens over the years! Since the grapes are not my own – I’m extremely happy to have someone else crush them and get them ready – which is what happens in a wine store. We purchased a pre-crushed grape mixture, with the juice already released.

close up photography of wine glasses
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on

Starting the Fermentation

About 6 weeks ago, we popped into the store to start the wine fermentation process. We poured the juice into the already sterilized glass jug, and sprinkled the premeasured yeast over the top. That was it – no mess for me! There were no worries about crushing grapes, dealing with fruit flies, filtering wine gunk, measuring specific gravity (whatever that may be) or anything at all!

The wine store kept the giant jug of fermenting grape juice – so we didn’t have to lug it and keep it at home! Once the fermentation period passed, the wine store staff took care of filtering the mixture and getting it ready for us to bottle. On our pre-booked bottling date a carboy of Pinot Grigio was ready and waiting for us to bottle!

Bottling Supplies

My gift certificate included thirty bottles, labels and corks. (Sometimes you can bring your own recycled wine bottles if you prefer. It can take a bit of elbow grease to get the old wine labels off!)

Sanitizing the Bottles

Our first step in bottling our wine was sterilizing the bottles with a little machine which rinses the bottles with a sanitizing powder. Then we placed each bottle on a bottle tree.

Wine bottle tree
Wine bottle tree

Filling the Bottles

After that we placed each clean bottle into a device that filled the bottles through a hose from the wine keg (carboy).

Filling the wine bottles
Filling the wine bottles
filling the wine bottles
Filling the wine bottles

Applying the Cork and Seal

This was followed by a quick blast in the corking machine.

The Cork Machine

Finally, a seal was applied to the cork with a heated machine for each bottle.

Sealing the Corked Bottles

We were given pre-made labels to apply to the bottles – but I think I may print out some labels with our own artwork at home!

At first I was a tad awkward with the filling of the bottles, and fell behind my husband’s efficient corking and sealing. Eventually we fell into a routine – our own wine assembly line.

A Fun Activity

Making wine at a “Make Your Own Wine” store is a fun and rewarding experience. It’s fun to do with just one or two people or you can do it with a small group! Years ago I enjoyed bottling a batch of wine while my mom watched from her wheelchair, happily giving me instructions while sipping on the product. We had a hoot, and I will always remember!

The Finished Product

We prepared 30 bottles of delicious wine – and had a sip or two at the store. This was a fun and super-easy project. I can’t wait to sip wine on my front porch – summer is coming!

photo of glass of wine on the table
Photo by Krisztina Papp on

I may take a bottle of wine or two up and down the street to give to my neighbours, and brag a bit – but we will be taking most of it up north to our island cottage. I do hope we have lots of opportunity to share with guests! Maybe it’s time to plan a party. Cheers!

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