Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (2024)

Learn how to turn fruit into delicious homemade wine and hard cider! This overview will point you in the direction of everything you need to know. Including beginner-friendly recipes and practical advice.

In order to run this site, Fermenting For Foodies sometimes earns an affiliate commission on the sales of products we link to. We only feature items we genuinely want to share, and this is an arrangement between the retailer and Fermenting For Foodies. Readers never pay more for products. Thank you for reading!

Making homemade wine and cider is a fun and delicious way to preserve the bounty of summer fruit. It is also much easier than making other alcoholic beverages, which is probably why people have been doing it for centuries.

The difference between wine and cider

Generally hard cider refers to apple cider. But there isn’t much difference between a hard apple cider and a young sparkling peach wine.

The basic process for making both wine and cider is the same. Fruit is mixed with sugar and yeast, and allowed to ferment. If it ferments through until it has very little sugar left and is higher in alcohol, then it’s wine.

If the ferment is bottled after just a few weeks, then it will become a sweet and sparkling beverage (aka, hard cider).

Factors that influence fermentation

There are several factors that influence the length of fermentation, which will, in turn, affect whether you end up with wine or cider.

  • Type of fruit: Grapes are ideal for feeding wine yeasts. They have all the necessary nutrients. This is why most traditional wines are made from grapes. Pears, apples, and other fruits don’t necessarily have the nutrients needed to feed yeast. Thus, they are traditionally used to make cider.
  • Amount of sugars: Yeasts break down sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The amount of sugar will determine the final alcohol level. The sugar in wine and cider cannot be replaced with stevia, xylitol, erythritol, or other sugar substitutes.
  • Type of yeast: Wine yeasts were specifically selected to tolerate higher alcohol levels. Using bread yeast or wild yeast will limit the fermentation.
  • Yeast nutrients: Yeast nutrients and energizer can be added to wine and cider to feed the yeast and ensure a good ferment.

–> Most of my recipes can be turned into either wine or cider, depending on the length of fermentation.

My usual homemade wine process involves filling a few bottles of wine whenever I rack to a clean carboy. This minimizes wastage by allowing me to filter out dead yeasts and sediment, which won’t take nice in the final wine. However, rather than pouring the bottom of my carboys down the drain, I run the liquid through a filter and bottle it for a sweet and sparkling cider. (If you’re new to wine making, don’t worry, all this will make sense when you brew your first batch).


I tend to make the same types of wine and cider over and over again. This is mostly based on the type of fruits that I can get for free from my friends. (People with backyard fruit trees make good friends!)

Here is a round-up of all my current recipes. I’ve roughly organized them from easiest to most difficult.

  • Simple fruit juice cider is the easiest recipe. It’s made in a bottle of juice and only requires a packet of yeast. Perfect for the absolute beginner.
  • Apple cider can also be made in a bottle of juice, however, it follows a more structured fermentation procedure and will make a higher alcohol cider.
  • Plum wine is easy and reliable.
  • Pear cider and pear wine require added nutrients and a bit of attention to the sugar levels for a good ferment.
  • Peach wine is often best when blended with other fruits.
  • Perry is pear cider brewed from heritage perry fruit.

Information and Resources For Beginners

The simplest recipes for homemade wine and cider, really don’t need any specialized tools or skills. Remember, people have been making wine for centuries!

However, here are a few posts that will help you reliably make good-tasting wine and cider.

  1. Equipment and Supplies: Find out everything you need to make homemade cider and wine. A good setup will only cost about $50, and it’s well worth the investment.
  2. Sanitation: It’s important to ALWAYS make sure that all your equipment is sanitized. It’s the only way to ensure a safe and successful ferment. Homebrew should never taste funky, and sanitation is key to preventing contamination by mold and bacteria.
  3. Step-By-Step Guide: If you’re new to wine making, check out this simple guide to the steps involved. It has both photos and videos to show the process of turning fruit into a delicious bottle of cider or wine.

If you have a question feel free to leave a comment below or join the Fermenting For Everyone Facebook Group.

Previous Post: « Fermented Zucchini Relish

Next Post: Pickle-ific Lentil Sloppy Joes (Vegan, GF) »

Reader Interactions


  1. Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (3)Patrick Mitchell Winstead

    I have 10 pounds of plums and want to make wine. I have your recipe and ordered the champagne yeast. I have all the equipment I need since I already make beer, and wine sometimes from kits. My question is, will it help to juice the plums first? My neighbor has a very powerful juicer that will extract all the juice from the plums very quickly, so I can do that or follow your recipe and work with the whole plums. Thanks.


    • Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (4)Emillie

      Great question! Including the pulp adds richness to the finished wine. So if you juice the plums be sure to include the pulp in your ferment. I personally don’t have a juicer, however, I imagine it might make it easier to remove the solids if the pits have been removed by juicing. There would be a lot less solids to strain out. Enjoy!


  2. Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (5)Freyda Black

    I am so happy I have found your website! I grow so many berries, mostly blackcurrant, gooseberry, and blueberry, as well as collecting wild blackberries and raspberries. When I am too overwhelmed with production to preserve them all as jams and syrups, and they are sitting in the refrigerator too long, they start to ferment! I don’t see any recipes on your website for berry wine. I am wondering if I can use the plum wine recipe or what adjustments I need to make for using the berries. Generally, the pectin levels will be low as the fruit will be very to overripe.
    When I was a child, I came home with so many huckleberries that, in addition to a cobbler, my mom and grandmother suggested making a “cordial”. for this, they put the berries in a gallon jug (filled less than halfway), and poured sugar over the berries. No, no measurements! Then they covered the mouth with cloth and set it to ferment. I watched fascinated for a very long time, who knows how long? By the end of Summer, they poured off the thick juice. It was sweet and alcoholic. I really want to recreate a version of this childhood ambrosia, but perhaps a little less thick and a little less sweet!!


    • Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (6)Emillie

      Hi Freyda,
      Interestingly, I have a recipe in my upcoming cookbook (not out until May 2022) for a berry cordial that is fermented with wild yeast! I don’t have access to a huge amount of berries, so I haven’t yet made a berry wine. However, I think you could follow the plum wine recipe and it should be successful. The only trick is, that if your berries have started fermenting, you’ll need to make sure to pour the boiling water over to kill the wild yeasts and bacteria. Then reculture with the wine yeast. Wild yeasts just aren’t reliable for a longer ferment. Enjoy!


  3. Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (7)Sheri

    Overwhelmed!! We have way to pears and confused on all the wine//cider recipes we have read. Read on here where pears are harder to make wine/cider with, Can you please help.



    • Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (8)Emillie

      Hi Sheri, I just made 3 batches of pear cider/wine using whole pears (made 10 bottles of cider and the rest is turning into wine). You can definitely use whole pears provided they are soft enough to mash. Pears don’t contain all the necessary nutrients to ferment into wine, however, adding yeast nutrient and acid blend will make up for it. Those are both easily available at your local homebrew supply store. Check out my pear wine/cider recipe (linked under the recipes section on this page) and let me know if you have any other questions. Also… we had so many pears this year that I increased the fruit and reduced the sugar (as described in the notes of the recipe) and it worked great! So it’s definitely an option if you have a lot of fruit. (It worked so well that I might formally change the recipe in the off-season, but right now there are a lot of people using that recipe, and I don’t want to switch it while people are using it!) Good luck!


      • Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (9)Sheri

        The first check was good running about 11
        The second check was running about 15.
        What do we need to do? We have 3 gallons of pear juice and 2 gallons of water and 8 pounds of sugar. Used all the correct ingredients. We bought a kit and it was confusing!


        • Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (10)Emillie

          Hi Sheri, I’m not sure what the measurements mean. Is it 11 ABV? That is quite a bit of sugar, so I imagine it could become quite alcoholic. Are you hoping to make cider or wine? I’m guessing you’ve already started, using the recipe that came in the kit?


  4. Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (11)Sheri

    Thank you! I may be in touch with a few more questions:)


  5. Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (12)Holly Cox

    Hello!! I am that neighbor with a back yard full of fruit trees. I just started my first batch of plum wine. So excited!! I also have 3 grapevines. Im not sure what kind they are but they are seedless and make a beautiful Barbie pink jelly. Can I use this recipe to make wine next year with my grapes? Thank you !!


    • Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (13)Emillie Parrish

      A backyard full of fruit trees is a lovely thing to have. 🙂 You can make wine from pretty much any non-citrus fruit. If the grapes are sweet, it just means your wine may lack tannin. But that doesn’t mean it won’t make delicious wine! I have never had that kind of access to grapes, so I haven’t made grape wine. If you can’t find a recipe, I can share my recipe for berry wine with you. (I’m currently brewing and will share on the blog next summer after I’ve tested it. I’ve made several different batches to find out what works best).

      Enjoy your plum wine! Cheers, Emillie


Leave a Reply

Homemade Wine and Cider: Recipes & Advice (2024)


What is the best yeast for homemade cider? ›

The most commonly used yeast is a champagne yeast. Being a very aggressive yeast, it ferments quickly to a very clean, dry flavor that suits the apple character very well. This yeast is cheap, easy to use, and makes a delicious, consistent beverage.

How to make good tasting homemade wine? ›

Here are some tips I go by.
  1. Use good quality fruit. ...
  2. I generally ferment on the fruit or at least the pulp. ...
  3. I generally use 3–4 pounds of fruit per gallon of wine you're making. ...
  4. Use food grade containers. ...
  5. Sterilize everything that will touch any part of the wine or fruit. ...
  6. Use a good quality yeast.
Nov 15, 2017

Do you have to use Campden tablets when making cider? ›

When the fermentation has finished we recommend that you add one Campden Tablet per 5 litres (1 gallon) and one gram per 5 litres (1 gallon) of Potassium Sorbate. This will help prevent infection and from restarting to ferment.

How do you make homemade cider better? ›

Caroline advises that with the addition of a little apple juice or elderflower cordial there is every chance that you will be able to turn your cider from puckering to perfect. Just don't put the lid back on it and pop it in the cupboard as it may well start to ferment again.

What kills yeast in cider? ›

Potassium Metabisulfite or Campden Tablets are used to kill off the wild yeast and bacteria. It will take about 24 hours to work and then you can add your cultured yeast. You will find that using sulfites will give you a cleaner flavor.

How much yeast do I need for 2 gallons of cider? ›

Add yeast and nutrients: Add ½ teaspoon (~2 grams) of yeast nutrient (Fermaid K) per gallon of juice. Carefully swirl to mix. Add ¼ teaspoon (~1 gram) dry yeast per gallon of juice by sprinkling across the surface of the juice.

Why does my homemade wine taste weird? ›

If your homemade wine has a sour taste it could also be caused by vinegar bacteria (acetobacter). The bacteria infects the wine an slowly begins to turn it to vinegar. There are two ways to distinguish vinegar sour from just plain too tart. The first being, the wine will become more sour as time goes buy.

How do you remove bitterness from homemade wine? ›

Blending: Blending wine with a sweeter wine can help balance out its bitterness. Aeration: Aerating wine by swirling it in a glass or using a decanter can help reduce its bitterness and bring out its other flavors.

What is the easiest wine to make? ›

Making red wine with just such grapes is very easy. If you have a clean space, good temperature, and not vinegar around, you cannot fail. Then you can make things more complex, by mixing different grapes, by better stabilizing the wine (so that if will not go dark if it remain open for too long), more “clear”, etc.

Should I stir my cider during fermentation? ›

Do not stir. Add the lid loosely to the fermenter or attach an airlock (partially filled with water) and seal the lid. Primary fermentation should begin in 24-36 hours and should finish in 5-9 days. After the fermentation slows down, you should rack the cider into a clean carboy and attach a stopper and an airlock.

Can you ferment cider too long? ›

If you leave it a long time, and you have used little to no sulfites, there may begin a spontaneous "malo-lactic fermentation." This is a very slight spritzing in the fermenter which will lower your acidity and smooth out the cider - this is good.

How do you know when cider is done fermenting? ›

"How can I be sure that my cider has stopped fermenting?" Observe the airlock. If the bubbles have stopped passing through the airlock, your cider may have finished fermenting. Use hydrometer to measure the Specific Gravity – if the specific gravity is 1.000 or below the fermentation will have finished.

What is the best sugar for cider making? ›

Liquid sugar is one of the most widely used sugars in cider production because its 67% sucrose content and low viscosity enable it to deliver consistent and reproducible results.

What apple is best for homemade cider? ›

For sweeter cider, try Gala, Fuji, Cortland, Golden Delicious, or Red Delicious varieties; for a more acidic ghostwriter seminararbeit, tart flavor, go with Pink Lady, Braeburn, Jonathan, or McIntosh. A blend of apples from both the sweet and tart flavor families is sure to be a hit!

What is the best dry yeast for apple cider? ›

Nottingham Ale Yeast is our personal favorite option for new cider makers and even for many experienced cider makers. Nottingham is a dry English ale yeast, making it inexpensive and easy to purchase online. With an alcohol tolerance of about 14%, it can handle any low to medium-high alcohol cider.

What is the best yeast for mead and cider? ›

Lalvin D-47

This white wine yeast is the primary choice for many mead makers. It ferments at a moderate to fast pace with little foaming and is good for medium to dry meads. It tends to accentuate the honey characteristics so it is a good choice for traditional varietal mead.

What is the best yeast for homemade alcohol? ›

Out of the nine distiller's strains available from Ferm Solutions, we probably use the FermPro 927 (FP927) the most. This strain has excellent temperature tolerance and can ferment to completion in as little as two days, producing an award-winning distillate. 921, 917, 900, 048 and FP1 are also excellent choices.

Can you use active dry yeast to make cider? ›

Once your fermentation equipment has dried, use a funnel to pour your apple juice into a carboy fermenter and sprinkle in the dry active yeast. The type of apple juice you use matters. The more apple varieties that are in the juice, the more complex your apple cider will taste.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Twana Towne Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 5934

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Twana Towne Ret

Birthday: 1994-03-19

Address: Apt. 990 97439 Corwin Motorway, Port Eliseoburgh, NM 99144-2618

Phone: +5958753152963

Job: National Specialist

Hobby: Kayaking, Photography, Skydiving, Embroidery, Leather crafting, Orienteering, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Twana Towne Ret, I am a famous, talented, joyous, perfect, powerful, inquisitive, lovely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.