Homemade Wine for Thanksgiving – Start Now!

Want to get the conversation started at the Thanksgiving table?

How about serving your own homemade wine!  You need to get started though – it takes 24 days – And this post is getting to you just in the nick of time.

You must be over 21 to continue with this post.


This is winemaking at it’s most basic, and it is super simple.

The wine enthusiast may not be overly impressed, but I bet he will be curious enough to try it.

Good or bad it will have the guests talking…

The creative one at the table will share ideas on what could be added next time to give it notes of oak or smoke.

The life of the party will come up with the idea of adding a habanero pepper.

Grandpa will chuckle at the memory of when he was “knee-high to a grasshopper” and his dad made wine in the bathtub by stomping grapes – he will scratch his white beard with thick bent fingers that have been exposed to too many winters, and wonder out loud if that red stain ever came out of that old claw foot tub.

If we are going to have homemade wine by Thanksgiving, we’d better get started.

Recipe Ingredients and Instructions:

Mix the following in order in a clean gallon Jug

3 Cups Sugar

4 Cups Boiled Water – let cool a bit before adding to jug

Stir to dissolve sugar

In a small bowl mix…

1 packet of yeast

1/4 Cup Warm Water – 110 to 115 Degrees – if you do not have a thermometer – test it on your wrist – it needs to be warm, like a baby’s bottle.  If it is too hot or too cold it will kill the yeast.

Stir to mix and let sit about 5 minutes to activate

When sugar water in Jug has cooled to room temperature – Add yeast mixture & stir

Add 64 Oz bottle of room temperature 100% Grape Juice from Concentrate

Fill to where the bottle begins to neck – adding more water if needed.  See photo below.

Once everything is in the jug, stir again to mix well.

Secure a balloon on top – or purchase an airlock from Amazon like the one below.  This comes with the gallon jug, a stopper, and the airlock.



If you are using the airlock – be sure to put water to the fill line of the airlock.

Place in a warm area and wait for at least 24 days – make a note on your calendar for the 24th day.

Balloon users will see the balloon expand and slowly deflate over the next 24 days.

Airlock users will see a lot of bubbling action during the first few days that will taper off.

When the 24 days are up – it is time for the taste test.

The rule in winemaking is that the winemaker has to be the one to test the wine.

If it is to your satisfaction – use cheesecloth and a funnel to pour into a carafe what you will be drinking in celebration of becoming a winemaker.

Continue to filter the wine into resealable jars.  We use ball jars.

The cheesecloth captures all the dregs.

We make 2 gallons at a time and experiment with various flavors.  This particular time we used a teaspoon of vanilla extract in one of the jugs.  It was really good.

Now that you have mastered your very first batch of wine, just think of what you can create for Christmas!

Congratulations on becoming a winemaker!




Please drink responsibly.


Thank you so much for reading.

I would love for you to leave a comment below.

If you enjoyed this post,

please like us on Facebook,

consider sharing and

Please subscribe so you never miss a post.


Subscribe to get our email posts sent to your inbox so you never miss a post.


All photos, thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.




  1. D Jane Bartlett

    Fermented apple cider in one of those glass handled jugs on honeymoon; tale someday about explosion of jar as we went up and down over the Smokies–have the scar to prove it. Loved your post as brought back so many memories. Love you…blessings…

    • teresa.peters@live.com

      Jane – You have the best stories! I can’t wait to hear this one, it sounds like your jar should have come with a warning label!!

    • teresa.peters@live.com

      Maddy – ummm the old hickory stick wine… the batch that was supposed to smell of wild hickory…? I took one sip and poured it down the drain. Maybe that hickory stick was not sanitized??? Lol… I am making a batch today with liquid smoke with the hope that it will have the autumn flavor we are going for without the “stick”!!!

  2. teresa.peters@live.com

    Hey there Samantha – I am so impressed that you can your own juice! I have no idea how it would turn out, but you would have very little invested. The beauty of wine is that you can make it from anything… dandelions, apples, strawberries… I would guess that it might be better than using store-bought juice. You may be on to something spectacular!!!
    Good Luck and let us know how it turns out!!

    • teresa.peters@live.com

      Oh… Me too Ellyn! This makes me want to experiment – How about white grape juice and less sugar?
      Which of us is going to try this???

  3. Mary Kay

    This was a great post! I remember my dad making wine in our old fridge in the basement; alas too young for a taste test…I imagine I would have thought yuck anyway haha!
    I’ll have to add this to my hobby to-do list, as my taste buds have definitely improved 😆

  4. teresa.peters@live.com

    Hahaha Mary Kay – the more stories I hear of your parents – the more I like them. You really should try making wine. I enjoy it. Of course, it would be fun to make Gin – or maybe we could get some of your old family recipes for Whiskey…. but where would we put the distillery??

  5. teresa.peters@live.com

    Good morning Shea – experimenting is the fun part. We once put a hickory stick in a bottle… did not have a good result. But yesterday I made a batch and put 3 or 4 drops of liquid smoke in it. We won’t know how it will turn out until Thanksgiving.
    Thank you for reading my blog and Good Luck on the wine making.

  6. I’m going up to Napa for Thanksgiving where my brother lives so probably won’t be making wine, but it’s fun to know how it’s made. My father in law used to make wine. Some of it went right to your head. Yours looks really good!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *