Easy Country Wine in Three Weeks


Post by community member:

Making wine is something I always wanted to try, but frankly, the idea seemed a little intimidating! One Christmas, a neighbor changed all that for me. A lovely bottle of homemade grape wine was sent over on Christmas morning. (Perfect timing, as I was stressing out over making dinner and all the soon to be arriving company! ) The wine was delicious and arrived in a Captain Morgan Rum bottle! I could not wait to find out the story behind this delicious wine in a rum bottle!

My neighbor told me they make this wine every month and that it was very simple to do. I was told to gather up an empty plastic milk jug, a balloon with holes pricked in it, 3 cups of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of plain old yeast, and 3 cans of juice concentrate.


Apparently this was a very common way to make wine back in the days of prohibition! One simply mixes the juice, sugar and yeast in the jug, add enough water to fill to just below the shoulder of the jug, and shake well to dissolve.

Prick several holes in the balloon. Place the balloon (latex is best) over the milk jug spout. Place the gallon of soon-to-be-wine in a dark, cool spot. The balloon will fill up over time, as the wine ferments, and then after about 3 weeks, will deflate. At that point, you will siphon the wine from the jug, into another clean jug, leaving the sediment behind. (I use a few feet of clear plastic tubing that I bought in the plumbing department at a local store.) Chill and enjoy!


After I made a few jugs of wine this way, I obtained some glass wine jugs. (You can buy some cheap wine in jugs to make vinegar with, then use the bottles for your homemade wine project!) A couple of dollars at my local wine supply store bought me a “bubbler” to use in place of the balloon (all of which you can see in the pictures.) The process is otherwise the same.

Only three weeks to some easy country wine!

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  1. brookdale says:

    This is so cool! Do you use frozen juice concentrate? Love your vintage breadbox in the picture, too.

  2. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    Yes, just make sure it is juice concentrate- not cocktail. You use any kind! We have done white and red grape, Raspberry, etc.

  3. debbie says:

    Can you reduce the amount of sugar, or is wine one of those recipes you don’t play around with?

  4. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    I have seen similar recipes with less sugar and more sugar. I have stuck to my neighbor’s recipe, so have not tried any other amounts. We love it this way. Try it and let me know!

  5. drucillajoy says:

    well hell yeah, I might do this…what size cans of juice..6 or 12 oz.?
    It sounds somewhat like the jail wine a friend of my sons told him about last summer, it used fresh fruit, a slice of bread & sugar in a zip-loc bag…he made some & kept it in his bedroom, probally would’a been good except him & the fruitflies couldn’t keep out of it long enough to let it develop….wine is good 🙂

  6. Sheryl - Runningtrails says:

    I would use wine yeast instead of baker’s yeast for a better wine flavour. It will also taste better if you wait until it is perfectly clear before drinking it but that will take longer. Wine is easy to make and fun! I make it from all kinds of things. My favourite so far is rose petal 🙂

    I have used white grape juice concentrate to make a good wine. Any fruit juice concentrate will do as long as it’s pure juice and preferably unsweetened so you know exactly how much sugar to add. For one gallon of wine, I usually add 2 lbs (not cups) of sugar. A little more or less depending on how much natural sugar there is in the fruit you are using. For instance, strawberries have less natural sugar than grapes, so you might want to add a bit more sugar for strawberry wine.

    Too much sugar will still make good wine, you will just have some sugar left in the wine when the yeast are finished. If you like your wine sweet, that could be a good thing. Not enough sugar will also make a good wine but with less alcohol. You can make a light wine with less sugar.

  7. Sheryl - Runningtrails says:

    I make mine in a plastic 4 ltr (one gallon) ice cream bucket and just set the lid on loosely instead of using a baloon. It sits in there for a couple of days then into the glass jug with an airlock (the little thing laying horizontal on the table in the pictures above) until it’s clear and ready to drink. Grape wine is ready quickly. other fruits and things take longer. Each one is different.

    If you are drinking it right away and not bottling it with a cork, you don’t need anything more than that. It’s really very simple!

    One work of caution: If you don’t sterilize everything you are going to use, you are taking a chance that no bacteria or foreign yeast will get in there and produce something other than wine, like vinegar, and try to expose it to the air as little as possible.

  8. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    The thing I appreciated about the original recipe, was, for me, the straight forward simplicity. I can’t taste the yeast at all. It is not a fine wine, but it tastes really good (and I don’t usually care for sweet wine.) For me is was an easy way to get my feet wet with wine making. I have moved on to more complicated recipes and techniques, but I still enjoy making this one- quick, easy and good!

  9. Patty says:

    I’ve had this wine on numerous occasions. It is the most delicious wine I have ever had. Amazingly simple! Give it a whirl with the ingredients listed, so inexpensive and no worries. Mix and nearly forget about it!

  10. Ruthmarie says:

    A basic wine is this simple??! I make minestrone soup a LOT as our favorite, using a cup of red wine with the crushed tomatoes. Pushes the cost of the soup but it just isn’t the RIGHT flavor without the wine! Well, now I’ll be cruising for the those gallon wine jugs in the low end price and grape concentrate on sale. Thank you for this revelation!

  11. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    It is a sweet wine, Ruthmarie… would you need a dry wine for Minestrone? If it does not matter, this would certainly cut your cost!

  12. Laura says:

    How long does the wine last once it’s finished if you don’t bottle it?

  13. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    I keep it in the fridge and it keeps quite well… or maybe we just drink it fast? (Kidding.) We have kept it for a few weeks.

  14. Ross says:

    NC Senator Sam Erwin said that during the depresion his fathr was a circuit court judge and a woman was brought before him on the charge of making wine during prohibition. She said that she had done no such thing! She had put perfectly fresh, sweet grape juice into that barrel and what happened to it after that was the Lords doings not hers.

  15. Ross says:

    Laura, I have never had a bottle of wine last more than one night after we pulled the cork.

  16. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    Not to be contrary, but, the wine stays just fine. I use a stopper for unfinished wine all the time and enjoy it. For this gallon of wine, I simply put the cap back on and keep it in the fridge. It still tastes great after several days. Give it a try. I have not wasted any of the gallon yet.

  17. kellyb says:

    Thank you for the great post. I have a lot of juice that I canned from steam juicing fruit, do you think it would work in this recipe? I have a mixed berry that included cranberry, strawberry and red raspberries. It smelled incredible while steam juicing. I’d love to make something wonderful from the juice.

  18. Laura says:

    Thanks! I made a gallon of apple.

  19. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    It might work just fine, Kelly, but, you may want to consider using Sheryl’s wine recipes for juice you have taken so much effort in obtaining… unless you have enough to experiment with. The nice thing about the recipe I posted is how inexpensive concentrated frozen fruit juice is. You steamed juice is probably more costly. ( That said, if I had a lot of juice, I would probably try it! lol.)

  20. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    I would love to know how that apple wine turns out, Laura. I have not tried apple, but have heard it is good!

  21. drucillajoy says:

    What size cans of juice do you use?..they come in several sizes…

  22. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    I think they are 12 oz? Not the family size.

  23. Ruthmarie says:

    Cathy, thanks for heads up on the sweet part … yep, dry would be better, but a few shots of balsamic vinegar will do that and sweet dark grape wine will add nice color. This is quite the intriguing idea … our local new Sprouts market is having a wicked sale on organic apple juice in lovely gallon glass jars. Oooo, I might start there after pouring off a few glasses ….

    LOL! Ross, your dry humor isn’t always obvious in the written word. It needs the visual of a lifted eyebrow and subtle wink.

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