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Things you can’t do in home winemaking

Updated on December 19, 2012
These six gallon containers are perfect for home winemaking.
These six gallon containers are perfect for home winemaking. | Source

You can't make it

That's right, you cannot legally make homemade wine (or beer) in Alabama. If you live in any of the other 49 states, it's okay to make wine at home.

In most states you can legally make up to 200 gallons of non-tax-paid wine per year. If you live alone the limit is generally 100 gallons. That's because most states follow the federal guidelines . The federal limit is a generous amount: 200 gallons translates to 1,000 750 ml bottles of wine. That's more than two and a half bottles a day. Is this a good time to talk about drinking in moderation?

States can enact stricter laws regarding home winemaking. Many of them do - on all kind of things related to wine made in the home. For now it's important to understand that the state you live in, may have lower limits on the amount of wine you can legally make at home. In Connecticut, for example, the amount is half of the federal limit.

Bottom line: The amount of wine you can legally make at home varies from zero to 200 gallons, depending on where you live.

Some background

Before we go any further about things you can't do with homemade wine, let's touch on two things that make understanding the limits on home winemaking easier.

First, the federal government is primarily interested in collecting an excise tax on all commercially produced wine.

Second, when prohibition was repealed by the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution, Section 2 of the Amendment granted huge control over regulation of alcoholic beverages to the individual states. Leaving regulation of wine to the states accounts for the various differences between the states on limits and a host of other issues. I'll be addressing these issues in future posts.


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    • gawinemaker profile image

      gawinemaker 4 years ago from North Georgia, USA

      Joan, thanks for the welcome and the kind words. I see you are from Chile. Chilean wines are among our favorite. We especially like the Carmenere.

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Welcome to Hubpages, this was a very good read! Voted up and interesting. You have joined a good site with a wonderful community, I wish you all the best!