Yes, you could have installed it by just typing ./configure, make, make install, but, the wine readme specifically tells you to use the ./tools/wineinstall utility for a reason. In the past, I tried installing wine by using the ./configure make make install method, and had problems... compile would fail, etc. But when I ran the ./tools/wineinstall script, it installed flawlessly and worked like a charm. But that's only for wine, most other programs don't have install scripts like that.
To know how to install a program, you should always view the "readme" or "install" txt files that will be in the source directory after you extract the source tar files. 95% of the time, all the information you need to know to install the program will be included in those txt files.
If all of this is too hard for you, you might want to consider getting something easier like mandrake suse or redhat, as they have package managers and precompiled binary packages that are much easier to install.