Making Wine in a College Dorm

Oh, college. We did some pretty dumb things back in those days, didn’t we? When we first started, back when we were surrounded by parties and waves of alcoholic bliss, it seemed like the fun would never end. The one major roadblock, however, was our age – we weren’t 21 just yet.

Besides asking our RA’s to drive us to the corner liquor store to purchase the booze for us, we decided making wine in our dorm rooms would be a pleasant experiment. After all, you can buy all the ingredients in wine legally at any age – the fermentation and consumption is the only issue the state has.

So we did, basing our recipe off a type of wine called “Pruno,” or prison hooch, because it’s made in jails. The recipe is pretty simple – double bag some black plastic bags (easily stolen from the prison kitchen) and pour warm water, some fruit or fruit juice, tomatoes, raisins, yeast and all of the sugar that you can get your hands on. One of the hardest things in prison is to find yeast, as it’s blacklisted. Prisoners will use slices of bread, the moldier the better, but not dried and thrown into a sock for easier straining. We were civilized, so we just bought yeast packets.

Next, tie the bag off and let a tube stick out the top so it won’t explode whilst it gives off carbon dioxide.

Trust me, this tube part is important. A friend of a friend forgot this step, throwing his ingredients in a giant pickle jar and the thing exploded on him. His kitchen was completely ruined.

Anyway, the next step (if you’re in prison) is to hide the bag somewhere and wait at least three days. A week is plenty.

We threw all these disgusting things together into a bucket, covered it with a plastic tarp, inserted a tube we ripped out of a vending machine and waited two weeks. Then, we poured our pruno into a bunch of glasses and served it up at this birthday party for this kid we didn’t like very much.

None of us really drank that much – it tasted pretty foul, no matter how many packets of Splenda we stirred into it. But the other party guests were either too drunk to notice the taste or had burned off all their tongues by smoking. They drank gallons of the pruno, until they started puking all over this kid’s apartment. It was hilarious.

We never made pruno again because it was obviously not very safe, but my interest in home brewing had just begun. The next time, I bought myself a kit and did things in a sterile environment. I soon began bottling red versus white wines, merlots versus zinfandels. I’ll always raise a glass and toast my wild and reckless college days for introducing me into a cultured and respectable form of home brewing. Cheers.

Author Bio: Jimmy Kane holds a Ph. D in molecular science and happily travels the globe spreading his seeds of wisdom.

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I am just a writer that needs some attention. I am also a fun loving wine maker. The logical conclusion was the combine the two. If you want to follow all of his journeys online stalk him at

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