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Kits and Tips to Make Great Homemade Port Wine

Kate Miller-Wilson
Reviewed by California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS) Karen Frazier
Goblet of port wine

If you love sweet wines and you've always wanted to try your hand at making some, then a port wine making kit is the perfect way to get started. These sweet port-style wine kits allow you to make around three gallons of a delicious, port-style wine at home.

Buying Port Wine Kits

Expect to spend between $50 and $150 on the kit, which will make about 14 or 15 bottles of port-style wine. You'll find kits at your local home brewing and winemaking store, or you can buy a kit online.

Après Dessert Wine Kit

Formerly called Après Port, this dessert wine kit allows you to make three gallons of finished port-style wine. It's a full-bodied, sweet ruby port-style wine that takes four to eight weeks from beginning to bottle. It costs around $100.

Winexpert Dessert Wine Kit

Make 3.25 gallons of a dessert wine that's a ruby port-style with the Winexpert Dessert Wine Kit. It's ready to bottle in six weeks and costs around $90.

RJS Craft Winemaking Cru Speciality Premium Dessert Wine Kit

With this port-style winemaking kit, you'll produce a ruby port-style dessert wine. It yields 3 gallons of sweet ruby port-style wine for about $100.

RJ Spagnols Craft Port Wine Kits

With RJ Spagnols craft port wine kits, you'll need to act fast. The port-style wine kits are only available seasonally, but there are several to try including:

  • Crème brûlée port
  • Mocha raspberry port
  • Black forest port
  • Toasted caramel port
  • Coffee port

Expect to pay about $120 per kit, which makes 3 gallons of port-style wine, ready in about six weeks.

Making Port Wine at Home

Whichever type of port wine you prefer, you can make your own batch at home with the right ingredient kit. Wine kits typically include concentrated grape juice and specially chosen varieties of yeast. To make the wine, you combine the ingredients according to the instructions in the kit. You then allow the wine to ferment for the specified period, often about six weeks. Finally, you transfer the wine to bottles or casks and allow it to age to your own taste preferences.

Port Wine Making Supplies

Most at-home wine makers need a few basic pieces of equipment in order to produce port-style wine:

  • A primary fermenter for the initial fermentation stage
  • A secondary fermenter for further aging the wine
  • Cleaning equipment and supplies
  • Siphoning equipment
  • Bottles and corks
  • Bottling equipment

Often, you can purchase a basic wine making kit that includes everything you need to get started. These kits are usually available wherever you choose to buy your port wine ingredient kit.

Helpful Tips for Using Your Port Wine Making Kit

There's more to home-based port making than simply buying a great ingredient kit. Keep the following tips in mind as you make port at home:

  • If you're interested in making a port wine that has a barrel-aged flavor, look for a port kit that includes oak chips.
  • Always keep your winemaking equipment clean. Even a little of the wrong kind of bacteria can affect your yeast and spoil the flavor of your port.
  • Carefully follow the instructions in the port kit in order to produce a wine with a great taste and color.
  • As your port ages, pay attention to the storage conditions. Your ingredient kit will specify a certain temperature range for the fermentation and aging stages.

About Port Wine

Port is one of the many dessert wines or fortified wines on the market. Frequently sipped as an after-dinner drink, this type of wine is usually sweet. Many port wines are red in color (also called ruby Port), but they can also be golden brown or white (tawny Port or white Port). Port is usually more alcoholic that other wines, often around 20% alcohol by volume. Most home port wine kits produce ruby port-style wines.

Enjoy Homemade Port

With the right port wine kit, some basic supplies, and a few months of aging time, you'll have a great batch of port that you can share with friends and serve at dinner parties. It's a great introduction to the world of home wine making.

Kits and Tips to Make Great Homemade Port Wine