First Question, which grapes to use?
Homemade wine with grapes
Here are 10 popular wine grape types, along with their characteristic flavors:
1. Chardonnay: This versatile grape can be used to make everything from sparkling wine to buttery, oaky Chardonnays. Look for characteristics like apple, pear, and citrus, with a creamy or buttery texture.
2. Sauvignon Blanc: Sauvignon Blanc is known for its crisp, refreshing flavors of grapefruit, green apple, and melon.
3. Riesling: Riesling is a versatile grape that can be used to make everything from dry to sweet wine. Expect flavors like peach, apricot, and floral notes.
4. Pinot Grigio: Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied wine with refreshing flavors of citrus and melon.
5. Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied red wine with flavors of cherry, strawberry, and spice.
6. Merlot: Merlot is a medium-bodied red wine with flavors of blackberry, plum, and chocolate.
7. Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red wine with flavors of blackberry, cassis, and chocolate.
8. Zinfandel: Zinfandel is a full-bodied red wine with flavors of raspberry, blackberry, and spice.
9. Syrah: Syrah is a full-bodied red wine with flavors of blackberry, plum, and pepper.
10. Malbec: Malbec is a full-bodied red wine with flavors of blackberry, plum, and chocolate.
Those ten are the very popular grape options. However for the first time making wine, I suggest you use Alicante.
Alicante Bouschet is a red grape variety that is mostly grown in the Languedoc region of France. The grape is also known as Alicante Henri Bouschet, Alicante H. Bouschet, or just Alicante. It is a cross of Petit Bouschet and Grenache. The grape was created in 1866 by Henri Bouschet. Alicante Bouschet is mostly used as a blending grape, because it has very high tannins and color. It is often used in cheap red wines, because it can add color and body without adding much flavor.
However, there are some varietal wines made from Alicante Bouschet, especially in the USA. These wines can be very good, with aromas of plum and black cherry, and flavors of chocolate and spice.
The reason I suggest using Alicante, is because it is very forgiving if you make mistakes. Other grapes can give you rotten egg syndrome, or other issues i have seen people have. Alicante is a strong grape, and even if you don’t rack it, it wont rebel on you and go sour.