Love your Instant Pot? Love wine? Us too! When one blogger created a recipe for Instant Pot wine hoping for a perfect marriage of these loves, we just had to try it! Here are our Test Kitchen results.

By Sheena Chihak
December 10, 2018

Back in February 2018, a blogger dreamed up one possible solution to world peace when he figured out how to make Instant Pot Wine. Read all about it in his blog post. The Internet exploded with news of his culinary feat. We wanted to share the news with you, too, but we're sticklers when it comes to recipe testing (we do have the BH&G Test Kitchen after all), so we wanted to put it through the paces first. Here's how it went.

Most of the ingredients and tools you need to make Instant Pot wine are already in your kitchen, but you may need to place an online order for a couple items.

Ingredients

  • 64-ounce bottle of grape juice (we used Welch’s)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ a packet of red wine yeast (this is that online order thing you’ll probably need to get)

Tools

  • Instant Pot (duh) with yogurt function
  • A funnel
  • Two 32-ounce mason jars (the blogger version simply reused the grape juice bottle, but we divided the recipe so a couple of us could take home the wine to taste test over the Thanksgiving holiday)
  • Two mason jar lids with aerating function, such as reCAP (again, the blogger skipped this and reused the grape juice bottle lid taped on loosely to allow carbon dioxide to release, we thought these aerating lids were easier)

Okay, we're ready to make our wine!

Mixing the Wine Ingredients

Your bottle of grape juice makes a handy vessel for combining ingredients without dirtying a bowl.

  1. Pour 1 cup of the grape juice out of the bottle, reserve it for a couple minutes from now
  2. Add 1 cup sugar to the grape juice bottle, recap the bottle and shake
  3. Add 1/2 packet of red wine yeast (1 tsp.) to the grape juice bottle, recap the bottle and lightly shake again
  4. Pour the juice mixture and reserved 1 cup juice into your Instant Pot

Processing the Wine in Your Instant Pot

  1. Close and lock the lid. Select the yogurt function, then press less. (The idea is this is the temperature that's just right to get the yeast working.) Leave the vent open.
  2. Let the Instant Pot run for 48 hours, starting a new cycle after the first 24 hours. Yes, this is one of the least instant recipes you'll ever make in a pressure cooker.
    • Every 6 to 8 hours alternate closing and opening the vent. This is to let the carbon dioxide escape from the cooker.

Let it Rest

We did it! We managed to wait 48 hours for this process to finish. Now to wait some more :(

  1. After 48 hours on the less yogurt cycle, use a funnel to transfer the juice to your container(s).
    1. Yes, of course we tasted it at this point and we thought it tasted like lukewarm grape juice with yeast and it was very fizzy as you can tell from the picture.
  2. Add the cap you'll use that will let carbon dioxide escape. We used the fermentation caps for our mason jars.
  3. Wait, wait, wait. The blogger said in 8 days there was barely any fizz left and declared it good enough to drink (though he does say it would probably be better after a month). This was the part I was most excited about, finding that exact time when our homemade wine would be at its peak. Little did I know it would become a task of dread.

Taste-Testing the Wine

Here's the part of I was most excited about. I hoped to taste the wine each day to report every subtle change. My notebook and pen set next to my jar of wine on the kitchen counter (next to my decanter of bourbon, should I need to rinse my mouth after tasting) ready for action. Spoiler alert: There hasn't been much to document (I'm on Day 25, why is this taking so long?), the flavor remains about the same, but the level of fizz is changing, so I'm optimistic science is still happening and we're working toward a more delicious end result than what we have right now. Since there haven't been a ton of changes, here are notes from a few of the days throughout testing from my Test Kitchen co-taster and myself.

  • Day 10: Still quite fizzy with a lot of sediment on the bottom (should I stir that? I didn't today). Tastes like grape juice flavored with yeast. My husband wants to taste it, I tell him it's not worth it.
  • Day 13: From my Test Kitchen co-taster, "I tasted today and it’s still fizzy and tastes like grape juice.” I’ll keep holding, but not sure this process is worth it."
  • Day 18: From my Test Kitchen co-taster, "Better today, but still fizzy. Still not a quality wine.”
    • From my kitchen: This is the day I started to notice a difference. There was again a lot of sediment on the bottom of the jar, this time I gave it a gentle stir. It's still fizzy, but less so and I'm finally getting hints of wine flavor that are less pure grape juice. There was even a touch of dry mouthfeel after swishing it around. I suppose this could happen with unaltered grape juice, too. It still smells like grape juice with yeast, which is oddly reminiscent of peanut butter and jelly. My husband wants to taste again so I pour him some and he agrees, strangely tastes like peanut butter and jelly.
  • Day 19: I stirred the sediment again (the photo above shows you how much fizz is still in there) and still see some fizz. Taste is the same as Day 18, but today I attempted the seemingly-snobby wine swirl to test its legs. Nope, no legs, just a cloudy film left on my glass. The appearance of the wine in my glass is also cloudy/milky. Do I have to keep drinking it?
  • Days 20-24: I just don't want to drink this. I see it sitting there, notebook at the ready, but I can't.
  • Day 25: From my Test Kitchen co-taster, "Ugh I think it got worse. I turned the jar a few times and it got fizzy. Still not a good flavored wine."
    • Note: This was the first time she stirred her wine and she thought it got worse. Maybe we'd be better off not stirring and skimming wine from the top? We're not sure what the best course of action is, but we unintentionally tested it both ways and neither of us liked what we were getting.

The Verdict

Not worth it. I'm definitely not saying decent Instant Pot wine is impossible, but it would take a lot more testing, and frankly, I'd rather grab a bottle of wine for under $10 that I think tastes better and leave the wine making to the pros. Or heck, there are wine delivery services that could bring wine to me faster than this. Did you have better luck making wine in the Instant Pot? Think you know where we went wrong? Let me know and I'll toast your success with a sip of wine from a purchased bottle. Cheers!

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