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Old 09-21-2008, 09:51 PM   #1
schultan
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Default Questions on fresh grape wine

Alright.... a couple quick questions with using fresh grapes for wine. I have some carbernet grapes coming from CA to my LHBS.

1) Is there a particular strain of yeast that would be best suited for this grape?

2) What gravity range is optimum for the transfer to the secondary?

3) How much campden should be added at each stage?

TIA

Tony

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Old 09-22-2008, 11:03 AM   #2
summersolstice
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Originally Posted by schultan View Post
Alright.... a couple quick questions with using fresh grapes for wine. I have some carbernet grapes coming from CA to my LHBS.

1) Is there a particular strain of yeast that would be best suited for this grape?

2) What gravity range is optimum for the transfer to the secondary?

3) How much campden should be added at each stage?

TIA

Tony
Making decent wine from grapes is not a simple undertaking and the answers to your questions are easily located with a quick web search. There are several variables for choosing a wine yeast, such as fermentation temperature, for one. Google Lalvin yeast chart to decide.

Gravity at transfer to secondary isn't set in stone but many people rack off the gross lees to the secondary after most of the primary fermentation is complete and somewhere around 1.00.

You'll need to use potassium metabisulfite (powdered campden tablets) directly on your grapes when they arrive and then more once fermentation is complete but they will also delay malolactic fermentation which may begin spontaneously next spring when the weather warms and may occur in the bottle.

Are you planning to do a cold soak on your grapes? You'll have to crush and ferment and then press and continue fermentation. How long will you ferment on the skins? When will you begin malolactic fermentation? Have you ordered your malolactic culture yet?

I'd suggest getting a good book and doing some quick homework before the grapes arrive. Alternately, your LHBS should be able to help you with all your questions.
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Old 09-22-2008, 03:43 PM   #3
Matt Up North
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schultan View Post
Alright.... a couple quick questions with using fresh grapes for wine. I have some carbernet grapes coming from CA to my LHBS.

1) Is there a particular strain of yeast that would be best suited for this grape?

2) What gravity range is optimum for the transfer to the secondary?

3) How much campden should be added at each stage?

TIA

Tony
Moreso than with beer, yeast choice in wine is decider on flavor. If this is your first time I would tell you to use something that doesn't require much management (Pris De Mousse) and really makes a solid wine for the first time. People are going to counter my point there saying that it isn't traditional for the grape, but it is my experience that you don't want to screw up the first wine otherwise you might not make it again. That strain is low nutrient, high performing, high alcohol tolerent and very quick to ferment all the way dry (which could be a problem if you want some sugar left).

Follow what Summersolstice said about gravity at transfer.

I too would sulphur at the beginning to make sure you have no initial problems during the trip from CA to you. 100 part per million is standard, though 50 will work (talk with LHBS for amount to use for your quantity of grapes). Don't add the yeast till the next day.

Again, if this is your first time, I would not do a cold soak, extended maceration or any of the other fancy things that are done. Make sure that your wine ferments all the way within two weeks and keep it topped up while aging, sulphur with 50ppm every time you rack (though not if still fermenting) and that's all there is to it.

PS...don't stir it too often. In small batches you want to conserve the heat and make sure you don't oxidize. So if doing 5-15 gallons, once a day will give you plenty of flavor, color and good wine. Also if you add too much sulphur you will bleach your wine, so use what the LHBS tells you.
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Last edited by Matt Up North; 09-23-2008 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:43 PM   #4
MikeInCtown
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Tony, I see you are from Ohio and was wondering where by chance? I know my LHBS is getting fresh juice in starting this week. I'm waiting for the Ohio juice as it's half the cost and as a beginner I don't want to waste money in case I screw up.

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