Yes it will work without the nutrient. I just got done making a couple gallons. I just used the juice, sugar, yeast, and water in a gallon jug with an airlock on it. I did it mainly to show my grandson that it would work. People call it "hippy wine" or "hillbilly wine", lol. I've made it for years that way. However, it seems to ferment a little faster when you use the nutrient and energizer.