Top 5 Winemaking Tips


Know Your Additives

In turning fruit, juice or concentrate into your own basement-brewed merlot, you'll need the help of yeast and sugar. While these basic elements can yield a perfectly drinkable carboy of wine, many prefer to throw in a number of other ingredients to improve the color, odor and flavor.

Fining agents such as bentonite, gelatin and egg whites can help clarify the wine. Potassium metabisulfite helps by adding antioxidants and killing bacteria. Other additive mixtures help make up for the lack of grape skins in concentrate and juice, providing pigments and flavor.

However, as with everything else in the winemaking process, make sure you use the correct proportions. Some first-time winemakers also mistakenly use sodium metabisulfite instead of potassium metabisulfite, resulting in a very salty-tasting wine.

With these winemaking tips in mind, you're one step closer to enjoying that first glass of merlot or whatever you choose to brew.

Explore the links below and learn even more about how to love wine.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • "5 Do's and 5 Don'ts." WineMaker Magazine. November 2006. (Feb. 18, 2009)
  • "Common Wine and Beer Fining." Brewery Lane. (Feb. 12, 2009)
  • "How To Use A Hydrometer In Winemaking." Grape Stompers. (Feb. 12, 2009)
  • Keller, Jack. "Advanced Winemaking Basics." Nov. 2, 2000. (Feb. 12, 2009)
  • "Making Wine -- An Overview." Pressed For Wine. 2005. (Feb. 12, 2009)
  • Parks, Betsy. "25 Winemaking Tips." WineMaker Magazine. July 2007. (Feb. 12, 2009)
  • "Wine Ingredients." Northern Brewer. 2008. (Feb. 12, 2009)
  • "Winemaking Instructions." Kamil Juices. 2001. (Feb. 12, 2009)


Tiny Traces of Fukushima Found in Limited California Wines

Tiny Traces of Fukushima Found in Limited California Wines

The 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident caused a measurable but harmless increase in the levels of a radioactive isotope in a few bottles of California wine.