Home Winemaking

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

home winemaking, small-scale domestic activity indulged in either for fun, to save money, or both. Because such wine attracts no duty, it is especially popular in countries with high excise duties. Some countries with no or minimal viticulture such as Britain have a long tradition of making fruit wines and wines based on plants, flowers, or even root vegetables.

Home winemaking became popular in the United States during prohibition, when making an annual allowance of 200 gal/7.5 hl of fruit juice per household (a limit that still applies in the US) was the only legal way the average American household could procure alcoholic drink. Technology was primitive, and tales of exploding bottles were common, but the pursuit was so popular that vineyard acreage in California doubled between 1919 and 1926.