Longtime homebrewers may, at some point, wish to branch out a bit. Many eventually add mead, cider or both to the list of fermented beverages they produce. And of course, wine is also a popular option.
Homebrewers can introduce themselves to winemaking by trying kit wines. Kit wines contain everything you need to make wine in one box, presuming you have a bucket fermenter and all the usual equipment (hydrometer, tubing, etc.) The best kits are simple to make and the resulting wine can be excellent if you follow the directions closely. However, the simplicity and “by the numbers” approach of kit wines may not be attractive to homebrewers who wish to make wine “from scratch.” Unfortunately, making wine from grapes requires some reasonably expensive (and fairly large) pieces of equipment and this can discourage some from trying it.
For homebrewers who’d like to try winemaking without having to buy a lot of equipment, but still retain the freedom of making wine from raw ingredients (or nearly so), there is frozen grape juice. There are companies that crush quality wine grapes from vineyards in wine growing regions and freeze the resulting juice. This can be used by home winemakers to make high quality wine.
Overview of How Wine in Made
In order to introduce the topic of making wine from juice, I’ll review how wine is usually made. Winemaking starts in the vineyard where wine grapes are grown. Most wines you would buy are made from grapes of the species Vitis vinifera, and these include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay and Riesling.