{expert tip} DIY Wine 101

If you’ve ever considered making your own wine, this article written alongside James Fields of Vintner’s Cellar Waterloo, will tell you everything you could possibly ever need to know about making your own wine…

How much to make (the equation), pricing vs savings, what corkage fees are, links to your liquor license application, what size bottles are available, labeling your bottles and more.

That said, it all boils down to the fact that at Vintner’s Cellar, it’s about ensuring your wine making experience is simple, easy, and affordable. From liquor license to labels, here’s everything you need to know about making your own wine with Vintner’s Cellar Waterloo…

Looking Ahead Before Getting Started

Before you get started, you need to make sure you are giving yourself enough time. After all, good wine doesn’t like to be rushed! James recommends that you start your wine at least six to nine months before your wedding date so that the wine can properly age in the bottle before being served.

It’s Easier Than You Think

Never made wine before? No problem! Vintner’s Cellar says that any bride and groom can make their own wine in three easy steps..
1) Choose the type of grape and the quality level of your wine.
2) Add the yeast to the grape juice.
3) Come back in six weeks and bottle your wine using our state of the art equipment.

What to plan for

Liquor License: You will need to apply for a Special Occasion License if you intend to serve the wine at the wedding. No license is required if you intend to give the wine away as your wedding favours.

MAG-JAN15-Vintner2Is DIY Wine Allowed at the Venue?

Confirm with the location you have chosen that they allow you to bring your own wine. If they do, you should find out if there is a corkage fee. A corkage fee is a service charge (charged per bottle) for serving the wine. If there is corkage fees, consider reducing  the cost  by using larger bottles.

Which Type of Wine Should you Choose?

The type of wine you choose should pair well with the food you plan to serve. Vintner’s Cellar Waterloo can help choose an appropriate wine for your special day. If it’s easier, you can look through Vintner’s Cellar Waterloo’s wine descriptions on their website for appropriate wine pairings. (For more information visit www.vintnerscellarwaterloo.com.


Vintner’s Cellar Waterloo offers free customized label upgrades on any batch of wine that is to be used at a special event. You can view their customized labels at www.vintnercellarwaterloo.com


Bottles come in various sizes. Vintner’s Cellar offers:
•    375ml Ice Bottle – $2 each
•    750ml Clear Bottle – $1.15 each
•    750ml Green Bottle – $1.15 each
•    1500ml Green Bottle – $3 each

To see photos of different bottle types, visit vintnerscellarwaterloo.com.

Pricing (aka. savings)

All of the kits at Vintner’s Cellar make approximately 30 bottles of wine. The average cost for 30 bottles from the LCBO will be about $450 in comparison to the prices below:
•    Concentrate Kits (Cost is $157.82 with tax and 30 new 750ml bottles included)
•    Supreme 100% Juice (Cost is $212.82 with tax and 30 new 750ml bottles included)
•    Vintner’s Reserve (Cost is $252.82 with tax and 30 new 750ml bottles included)

Quality Influences Flavour

The quality of wine you choose influences the flavor. Vintner’s Cellar recommends the 100% Juice quality level for weddings because of it’s excellent value for the price…

Quality Level  Equivalent Bottle Cost at LCBO
Concentrate $10 – $12
100% Juice $15 – $25
Vintner’s Reserve  $35 – 45

How to determine the Quantity you need

Vintner’s Cellar offers an equation that makes it easy to determine how many bottles of wine you need (750ml) for your reception.

(# of Guests – Non Drinkers ) X 2 Glasses per person
————– divided by —————
4 glasses per bottle
 =   # of Bottles (750ml)

For Example: A wedding with 200 guests of which 10 are children would be calculated like this… 200 adults – 10 non-drinking/children = 190. Multiply that by 2, resulting in 380 glasses of wine. Divide that by 4 glasses per bottle and you’ve got 95 bottles, which is either 3 batches (90 bottles) or 4 batches (120 bottles) of DIY wine. “The typical wedding is 4 batches of wine (120 bottles) with 2 batches of red wine and 2 batches of white wine,” explains James who adds that it’s always better to have more wine than you think you will need. Extra wine bottles make excellent gifts for your guests and can also be used for wedding showers and bachelor parties before the wedding.

More on Vintner’s Cellar Waterloo

James Fields and the team at Vintner’s Cellar Waterloo can be reached in person at the store (283 Northfield Drive East, Waterloo), by telephone (519-725-WINE), or online. You can also read The Ring’s review on Vintner’s Cellar Waterloo.

This article is originally from the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of The Wedding Ring ONTARIO Magazine

DIY wine, Expert Tips, The Wedding Ring Ontario Magazine Spring/Summer 2015, Vintner's Cellar Waterloo