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Old 09-12-2012, 07:40 PM   #1
jagec
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Default Putting lipstick on a pig: An experiment in making Welch's grape juice wine

Hi,

I've made a few batches of Welch's Concord grape juice wine based on Yooper's recipe, and while I certainly didn't expect to get anything world-class, I was both pleased by the results and interested in how I could improve them. I'm intrigued by the idea of tweaking the recipe to make a $1 bottle of wine that will fool your friends into thinking that it's (low-end) commercial. I want to pull out every cheap trick that people use to disguise bad wine, while keeping the costs as LOW as possible. But I'm still pretty new at this, so I'd welcome any suggestions!

Here goes:
2 cans Welch's 100% concord grape juice concentrate
Sugar and water to 1 gallon, with a final OG of 1.090
Measure TA using test kit, adjust as needed to 0.7% or so
1 tsp Yeast nutrient
8 oz chopped raisins (redundant?)
1 banana?
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1/2 oz oak chips (Medium Heavy toast American oak sound best?)

Leave overnight before adding yeast to allow pectic enzyme to act. Add yeast. After a week, add airlock.

Taste every few weeks, once it's slightly too oaky, rack into new jug. Stabillize, degas.

After a few weeks, taste, backsweeten slightly to balance acidity and bring out fruit flavors, taste, add glycerine (Probably in the ballpark of 1/2 oz?) to increase mouthfeel, taste, add tannin(?), taste, bottle. Age a couple of months at least.


Thoughts? Is oaking and adding tannin a bad idea for this wine? I felt that my versions so far have lacked in complexity, with my best attempt being when I added acid blend and then backsweetened slightly afterwards.

Any other "dirty tricks" to save money or build complexity in this wine?

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Old 09-12-2012, 08:39 PM   #2
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I'm no expert winemaker, but I am good at being a cheapskate!

I've noticed wines people tend to call complex also have 'hints' of other fruits. You might try adding some other cheap fruit concentrate in the secondary. Maybe some vanilla? I couldn't guess on what measurements to suggest... Just do it to taste.

Oh! My friend who does wine for a living suggested mixing batches of different yeast strains. Do 1 gallon with a yeast strain that brings out aroma and another that brings out fruity tastes. Then blend them and you have a aromatic fruity wine that is naturally complex.

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Old 09-13-2012, 02:20 AM   #3
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A friend of mine made some welch's concord which is in the secondary now. He called me up and asked about oaking or other ideas to deal with the strong concord flavor. I said oaking is certainly one possibility, but that he might try going *with* the concord flavor and consider using the wine for Sangria (while it's still summer anyway) ... for wine coolers with sparkling water and sweetened with a fruit syrup (blackberry, currant, etc) ... and this winter for hot spiced wine with cinnamon cloves and lemon and orange peel. He's going to visit once it gets cold and bring some of the spiced wine for hot wine.

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Old 09-13-2012, 03:40 AM   #4
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That's an idea. Using good wine for sangria always seemed a waste to me. Id really be interested to hear how to make wines 'complex' and 'full' and 'with body' too though. C'mon you winos! Where's your two cents?

Yooper? Your like the queen bee of HBT winemaking. Care to enlighten us aspiring sommeliers and vinos?

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Old 09-13-2012, 05:01 AM   #5
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When back sweetening I think it will be redundant to add in tannins at that point. I think you will have plenty by adding the raisins and oaking. However if you want the heavier body/mouth feel then may try replacing a cup of water with a cup of strong Earl Grey Tea. Or any herbal tea to your taste. That will help with a little body/mouth feel along with adding a bit of "complexity".

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Old 09-13-2012, 03:57 PM   #6
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Some good suggestions. I was also thinking about using THREE cans of concentrate for a gallon batch, but worry that it might make the wine too fruity. Also, that instantly raises the price of a bottle by almost 50%.

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Old 09-13-2012, 03:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpolis View Post
When back sweetening I think it will be redundant to add in tannins at that point. I think you will have plenty by adding the raisins and oaking. However if you want the heavier body/mouth feel then may try replacing a cup of water with a cup of strong Earl Grey Tea. Or any herbal tea to your taste. That will help with a little body/mouth feel along with adding a bit of "complexity".
+1 on the tea. I've used various teas, earl gray, constant comment etc with good results.

Adding tannins ... grape tannins that is (which is generally the tannin powder purchased at the brewing/vinting store) is sometimes a bit too bitter when added after the primary ferment. This is why the type of tannin that comes from wood/oaking is what is generally used with wine after primary fermentation.

Here's a post re using tannin ...
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/wine...3/#post4382358
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:47 AM   #8
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Its true you can ferment anything, Rats, mice ferrets etc. Not sure how these beauties got into the primary, but I have heard stories about it. In all seriousness though, any kind of juice can ferment. In jail they call it hooch made from yeast sediment from wet bread. I guess it does get you drunk, but not sure I would drink it. Concord grape juice, orange juice, apple juice, maple syrup, old hardened honey all will ferment out. All that is needed is a sterile environment and an airlock, yeast (yes any kind of yeast will do), wait a few days or until the airlock stops bubbling and wham mo you have alcohol. Personal taste is the difference. Hell I remember drinking black label at a dollar and a half in the early 80's. Then I also heard a story of how the employs were so disgruntled that they pissed in the fermentation tanks. Never drank it again and never heard from Black Label again. Guess they went out of business.

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Old 09-14-2012, 05:38 AM   #9
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Oh the musty goodness Johnny walker... Wait, are you suggesting we pee in our wine?

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Old 09-14-2012, 02:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unferth
Oh the musty goodness Johnny walker... Wait, are you suggesting we pee in our wine?
OP did say he wanted cheap complexity ;-)
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