Top 5 Winemaking Tips

Homemade wine can make an excellent gift, especially with a little creative label making. See more wine pictures.
Photo courtesy Becky Striepe

­For some wine lovers -- also known as oenophiles -- it's not enough to simply experience all the varied vintages that the world has to offer. Instead, they study the agricultural, chemical and artistic skills that go into turning a few hillside vines into arguably the most revered beverage known to man.

Making wine is ultimately a simple chemical process, using the natural process of fermentation to turn fruit juice into alcohol. Yet while any backyard vintner can turn grapes into booze, only a few can craft a truly good bottle of wine. The process is part lab experiment, part culinary art. Given the ­time it takes for even professional wineries to master their craft, the process often seems nothing short of alchemy.

­As long as you realize you're probably not going to set the wine world on fire with your results, making wine at home can be a rewarding experience. In addition to learning more about the journey between vineyard and glass, home winemaking can provide you with some excellent holiday gift-giving options.

But don't just run with the first wine kit or Internet recipe. In this article, we'll look at a few crucial winemaking tips for new vintners.