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Old 07-14-2011, 10:51 PM   #1
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Default first wine attempt, help

hello wine people! I'm normally a beer brewer, but I have a wild hair today and thought I'd use some of these grapes I have in the freezer. they are muscadine grapes from my yard last fall. I have a pack of wine yeast, nutrient, a refractometer, an acid test kit and acid blend. anybody wanna give me some guidance? I want to make something drinkable, but I don't care if it's perfect. this is just a project for me today. do I boil the grapes? once I squish the juice out, can I keep it on the skins for color? lay some knowledge on me guys!

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Old 07-14-2011, 10:58 PM   #2
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hello wine people! I'm normally a beer brewer, but I have a wild hair today and thought I'd use some of these grapes I have in the freezer. they are muscadine grapes from my yard last fall. I have a pack of wine yeast, nutrient, a refractometer, an acid test kit and acid blend. anybody wanna give me some guidance? I want to make something drinkable, but I don't care if it's perfect. this is just a project for me today. do I boil the grapes? once I squish the juice out, can I keep it on the skins for color? lay some knowledge on me guys!
Don't boil the grapes. You will want to get Campden tablets and peptic Enzyme Yeast energizer wouldn't hurt either, Mush the grapes well leaving the skin on, Since these are yard Grapes, i would go to the grocery and pick up some 100% white grape juice(no additives kind) if your doing a 5 gallon batch you can pick up 5 gallons of juice, Mix it with the smashed grapes,sugar if your using it, Add the campden tablets per package instructions( you may or may not want to add some sugar, either table or corn sugar depending on Gravity, i normally add 5lbs) let set 24 hours, Add yeast nutrient ,energizer,peptic enzyme, acid blend(if needed) and re-hydrated yeast. I have made wine this way for many years and has always tasted good to me!
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:11 PM   #3
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I have a bunch of grapes, I was kinda wanting to just use them (for less than five gallons) no LHBS, so I'd have to order campden tabs and I think I have some pectic enzyme, but I'm not sure. will omitting these things make terrible wine? I was thinking to boil the grapes since I don't have campden, this will make it hazy right? I'm not terribly worried about that. same with the pectic enzyme? just for clarity?

I realize I may not be making great wine with this, but it's mostly just for fun, and to clear up some freezer space. I would like it to be at least drinkable though. thanks Vance!

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Old 07-14-2011, 11:16 PM   #4
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I have a bunch of grapes, I was kinda wanting to just use them (for less than five gallons) no LHBS, so I'd have to order campden tabs and I think I have some pectic enzyme, but I'm not sure. will omitting these things make terrible wine? I was thinking to boil the grapes since I don't have campden, this will make it hazy right? I'm not terribly worried about that. same with the pectic enzyme? just for clarity?

I realize I may not be making great wine with this, but it's mostly just for fun, and to clear up some freezer space. I would like it to be at least drinkable though. thanks Vance!
Ok to do it without campden, i still wouldnt boil it, I would bring the grapes up to 170 and hold for 20-30 mins to kill off any bacteria, or wild yeast. If you have Peptic Enzyme by all means use it. I hate to say it but i doubt the grapes alone will be enough for a 5g batch unless you have like 50+lbs of grapes. I would still add some white Grape Juice and some sugar, How much depending on your SG and How much Liquid your grapes produce.

Edit: Oh my bad, for less than 5 gallons. Well in that case i would still do all the above, and just use enough white grape juice to make up enough liquid.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:23 PM   #5
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good call on the 170 thing. sorry, I'm still not sure why to use the white grape juice if Im not concerned about volume. can I not just make it from all grapes? ( like I said, this is my first try so I don't really know anything about it)

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Old 07-14-2011, 11:23 PM   #6
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Muscadines are rather, well, skanky. They do make a great wine, but need some age and love. The grapes should be destemmed, crushed, and then fermented. I would highly recommend the campden, as they will be covered with wild yeast and mold and bacteria and it's pretty hard to pasteurize 40 pounds of grapes.

Anyway, once they are destemmed and crushed, you can proceed.

I really like Jack Keller's website on winemaking, and he's an expert on muscadines:

Muscadine Grape (Vitis Rotundifolia) Wines
Muscadine grapes, the infamous Vitis rotundifolia, is a black cousin to the bronze scuppernong. Found throughout the southeast from east Texas-Arkansas to the Atlantic, the muscadine and its wine are as Southern as Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy.

Theses grape vines are terrific climbers and reach up high into trees, cover brush, climb telephone poles and guy wires, and run along fences, growing up to 50 feet per year. The grapes themselves are usually sweet but can be acidic requiring lots of sugar and positive acid reduction measures to make a decent wine. Like the mustang grape, the muscadine is not the best wine grape, but since it's readily available and free to boot, it will do--often quite nicely. Muscadine wine can be very good, especially when allowed to age 3-4 years. Having said that, I'll add one other precautionary warning. When high in acidity, muscadine grapes can cause severe skin irritation until the acidity is corrected. For that reason, wear rubber gloves when picking, handling and squeezing these wild grapes. The wine won't taste any better, but you'll avoid a 2-3-week rash between your fingers and on your wrists should they prove to be irritating.



MUSCADINE GRAPE WINE (1) (Makes 1 Gallon)
6 lbs ripe Muscadine Grapes
2-1/4 lbs granulated sugar
3 qts water
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 crushed Campden tablet
1 packet Montrachet wine yeast
Boil the water and dissolve the sugar in it. While sugar-water is cooling, wash, destem and crush the grapes. Pour crushed grapes into nylon straining bag, tie securely, and put in primary. Pour water over grapes, add crushed Campden tablet and yeast nutrient, and cover primary securely. After 12 hours add pectic enzyme. Wait additional 12 hours and measure both specific gravity and acid. S.G. should be 1.090 or higher; acidity no higher than 7 p.p.t. tartaric. Correct S.G. if required by adding additional sugar. Correct low acid by adding acid blend and high acid by using one of three methods described following recipes. Add yeast, recover primary, and squeeze nylon bag lightly and stir must twice daily for about 5-7 days or until S.G. drops to 1.020. Press pulp well to extract liquid. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit airlock, and let stand 3 weeks. Rack and top up, then rack again in 2 months and again after additional 2 months. If wine has cleared, bottle. If not, wait until wine clears, rack again and bottle. This wine may be sweetened before bottling by stabilizing, waiting 10-12 hours, then adding 2/3 to 1-1/3 cup sugar-water per gallon (2 parts sugar dissolved in 1 part water). May taste after one year, but improves remarkably with age (2-4 years). [Author's recipe.]



MUSCADINE GRAPE WINE (2)
Makes 1 Gallon
6-8 lbs Muscadine Grapes
2 lbs granulated sugar
3 qts water
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 crushed Campden tablet
1 packet Montrachet wine yeast
Wash and destem the grapes. Run grapes through a grape crusher or crush in crock primary using a sterilized 4X4 or other suitable device in an up-and-down action. Meanwhile, bring water to boil. Add sugar to grapes and pour boiling water over grapes and sugar. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Add crushed Campden tablet and yeast nutrient and cover crock. Wait 12 hours and add pectic enzyme. Wait 12 additional hours and measure both specific gravity and acid. S.G. should be 1.088 or higher; acidity no higher than 0.70% TA. Correct S.G. and acid as in recipe (1) above, if required. Add yeast, recover primary, and stir must 2-4 times daily, knocking down "cap" of skins and seeds each time. Check S.G. daily until it drops to 1.040. Strain and press pulp well to extract liquid and discard pulp. Recover primary and continue fermenting as before until S.G. reaches 1.020. Siphon into secondary fermentation vessel, fit airlock, and ferment to dryness (30-60 days). Rack and top up, then rack again every 30 days until wine has cleared. Wait additional 30 days, stabilize, and rack again. Sweeten to taste and bottle. Allow to age at least 18 months before drinking. Improves with additional aging. [Adapted from recipe published in New Orleans area newspaper, identity unknown, circa 1990.]



MUSCADINE GRAPE WINE (3)
Makes 3 gallons
20-22 lbs ripe Muscadine Grapes
5-6 lbs granulated sugar
8-9 qts water
3 tsp pectic enzyme
3 tsp yeast nutrient
3 crushed Campden tablet
1 packet Montrachet wine yeast
Boil the water and dissolve the sugar in it. While sugar-water is cooling, wash, destem and crush the grapes. Pour crushed grapes into primary. Pour water over grapes, add crushed Campden tablets and yeast nutrient and cover primary securely. After 12 hours add pectic enzyme. Wait additional 12 hours and measure both specific gravity and acid. S.G. should be 1.090 or higher; total acidity no higher than 0.75%. Correct S.G. if required by adding additional sugar. If acid is low, add acid blend as required. If acid is high, use one of three reduction methods described following recipes. Add activated yeast, recover primary, and punch down the cap twice daily (about 5-9 days) until S.G. drops to at least 1.020. Strain off pulp and press in fruit or grape press to extract liquid. Pour into secondary fermentation vessel, fit airlock, and ferment to dryness (S.G. at 0.990). Rack and top up, then rack again in 2 months and again after additional 2 months. If wine has cleared, bottle. If not, wait until wine clears, rack again and bottle. This wine may be sweetened before bottling by stabilizing, waiting 10-12 hours, then adding 2 to 3 cups sugar-water (2 parts sugar dissolved in 1 part water). This wine is drinkable immediately but improves remarkably with age (1-3 years). [Author's recipe.]

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Old 07-14-2011, 11:47 PM   #7
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thanks yooper! again, I don't have enough for five gallons, I have two bags that I think are about nine pounds each. I think pasteurizing them wouldn't be as hard as fifty pounds and I wanted something to do today but would have to order the campden on line. pasteurizing wouldn't work? and also these recipes call for water and sugar. is that because they are, like you said skanky? if I did use water and sugar could I just use honey instead of sugar? or is that a waste of honey?

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Old 07-14-2011, 11:49 PM   #8
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I made 5 gals years ago before I new about campden, pectic enzyme, nutrients, acid blends and such. Even had the wife stomp 'em with her feet in a bucket. I did have a hydrometer and added concentrated grape juice and water to make up 5 gals of 1.090 SG. I used Montrachet yeast and the wine turned out great and was gone in 9 months time.

I made another batch in 2009 pretty much verbatim of the 1st recipe Yooper posted. It also turned out great. Probably even better than the first batch. I still have 5 gals of it bulk aging - I'm trying to get it to the 2 year mark.

I was able to crush about 36 pounds of grapes in 1 gallon baggies (each holds about 6 pounds) with a rolling pin in about 30 minutes.

Good luck.

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Old 07-14-2011, 11:55 PM   #9
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thanks yooper! again, I don't have enough for five gallons, I have two bags that I think are about nine pounds each. I think pasteurizing them wouldn't be as hard as fifty pounds and I wanted something to do today but would have to order the campden on line. pasteurizing wouldn't work? and also these recipes call for water and sugar. is that because they are, like you said skanky? if I did use water and sugar could I just use honey instead of sugar? or is that a waste of honey?
I like shelly_belly's story! You can definitely make it without campden. But I have been making wine for years and find that campden just makes my life easier!

With 18 pounds, you could easily do a 3 gallon batch. The reason you use sugar and water is that the muscadines have a very low natural sugar, compared to wine grapes, and you want an OG of 1.085-1.100 or so for preservative qualities as well as to be a high enough OG for wine- about 12-14% is a good place to be. Remember you'll also be topping up your carboy (you need three one-gallon jugs or one three gallon carboy for secondary) and that will dilute a bit.

Honey is great- but it's sort of a "waste" unless you have a large supply of cheap honey. I'd probably save the honey for sweetening later, after stabilizing (when you need campden anyway, by the way!) if you don't like it mouth tinglingly tart! Bob likes it dry at .990. It's good, but it's definitely tart! I'd prefer it just slightly off-dry at about 1.000 or so, if it was up to me.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:57 PM   #10
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sweet. thanks everyone. like I said, I'm not using these grapes for anything else so I think I'm just gonna go for it, just grapes. I have a gallon jug, so I'll do this batch now and another batch when I get the stuff to do it right like you guys suggested. then I can learn a little. thanks everyone! and Shelly for that first batch did you pasteurize or just use the raw feet grapes?

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