Home wine making is an easy way to preserve fruit, and make something delicious at the same time. Wine always makes a great gift, and it’s even better if it’s a homemade vintage.
At this point, there are more than 40 winemaking recipes and mead recipes on Practical Self Reliance, and there are a dozen more coming later to round out the selection.
While there are plenty of recipes, there wasn’t really anything explaining how the whole process works from start to finish. I decided to change that!
This year, my plan is to do a number of deep dives into specific topics, and cover everything you could possibly want to know as a novice.
Winemaking is the first, and I’ve put together a nine post series explaining the process, equipment, ingredients and more!
Beginners Guide to Making Fruit Wines, where I take you through all the steps in the winemaking process.
Small Batch Winemaking can be done for micro-batches, making as little as 1 bottle of wine at a time, and the process and equipment are a bit different with super tiny batches.
How to Make Mead (Honey Wine) is mostly the same, but there are some particularities when working with honey.
Equipment for Winemaking, which covers all the durable equipment you’ll need to make your first batch (besides your ingredients).
Ingredients for Winemaking, which covers all the other things you’ll need (besides yeast).
Yeast for Winemaking can get complicated quickly, and there are dozens of common strains (and hundreds of obscure ones). Picking the right one is actually pretty important, but I’ve broken them all down for you.
How to Make Wine from Grapes, though not necessarily for beginners, but everyone always asks about this one first!
Winemaking Recipes can be hard to find, but I’ve put together a list of more than 50 to get you started.
Meadmaking Recipes are even more obscure, but I’ve got you covered there too.
Read up now and you’ll be ready when fresh fruit comes in season!
If I’ve missed anything, please do let me know and I’ll add it. Just leave me a note in the comments below.
This is the first deep dive, and I’ve got a few more coming soon. Next up is chicken keeping, so let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like me to cover.
Things You Might Need This Week
How to Make Soap ~ This is the perfect winter project, and it’s not as hard as you think!
Storing Eggs in Limewater ~ This egg preservation method keeps eggs fresh for 12+ months, and they come out as good as the day they went in. With the price of eggs these days, don’t let any of your flock’s bounty spoil!
Foraging Usnea ~ Winter is the best time to forage Usnea lichen, and it’s everywhere! This natural antibiotic was used as a wound dressing historically, and these days it’s still made into tinctures fighting infections and respiratory support.
Recipes to keep your larder full all year round…in season now:
Traditional Bread Kvass - A great way to use up leftover stale bread, this traditional ferment is made using sourdough culture so it’s fizzy and pro-biotic.
Salt Cured Egg Yolks ~ A tasty (and unconventional) way to enjoy eggs, these cured yolks last for weeks and they’re tasty grated over both savory and sweet dishes. If you have an extra yolk or two from a recipe, don’t let them go to waste…cure them!
Dandelion Wine ~ Our dandelions are a ways off, but I know some of you have dandelions up already!
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Things I’m Loving
Naked Wines ~ While we make a lot of fruit wines at home, grape wine varieties are a whole different thing. It’s hard to know if you’ll like a particular variety, regardless of how many reviews you read. Naked wines has a “Wine Genie” tool that asks you a series of questions about what types of things you like, and then chooses the best varieties for your tastes. I tried it, and it worked wonderfully. If you use the link above, it’ll take you to a signup page where you’ll get a full case of wine for $40 (that’s $100 off) and free shipping.
90+ Cellars ~ If you already know what types of wine you like, and you’re looking for a bottle that doesn’t break the bank, 90+ Cellars is a good option. Everything I’ve tried from them has been great, and a perfect representation of the style. Most bottles are around $12, but they always taste like a $20 to $40 bottle on my dinner table. I use their Chianti when I’m canning homemade pasta sauce, and their Côtes du Rhône is perfect next to rich meats (like a nice steak, or duck confit, or those potted meats I told a you about in the last newsletter).
What are you harvesting, preserving, building, or exploring on your homestead this week? I’d love to hear about it!
Leave me a note in the comments…
(Comments only, please. Emails tend to get lost in my inbox, and as much as I’d love to get back to each and every one, my screen time is very limited…and things fall through the cracks, and emails get buried in my inbox. If you comment here, they’re all in one place, and it’s much easier to get back to every single one.)
Until Next Time,
Ashley at Practical Self Reliance
Hi Ashley, my name is Lucien and I just read ur article about learning how to make wine, on making soap and other fantastic things. N I would like to learn these things bcuz I’m planning on moving off grid and having my own homestead with some animals and learning how to b self sufficient
Yay!! I'm looking forward to your deep dive emails in my inbox. Thank you immensely