Originally Posted by Rhys79
I'll preface this by mentioning I'm a beer brewer, I've never done wine.
I just got offered a fencerow's worth of grapes by a guy at work if I come pick them. I'd like to do a batch of wine with them if there's enough (I took the offer up site unseen, but I'm told there should be at least 50+ lbs of grapes on the vines), but I'm not having much luck finding any information on how to process them without spending $400+++ on a press.
My question is, is there any way to make wine out of these grapes without access to a press, or should I just make grape juice and jam out of them?
I make wine out of grapes without a press or a crusher. I first destem them and freeze them in big garbage bags. That makes them easier to smash up. When I'm ready to use them, I put the grapes (still frozen) into great big mesh bags. I put them into a sanitized primary, and then add the sufites and water called for in the recipes. (Unless they are wine grapes, they will be very acidic and low in sugar, so you add sugar and water to bring up the OG and to dilute the acid a bit). I stir well, and wait 12 hours. Then add pectic enzyme, so the wine will clear and not form a pectin haze. 12 hours after that, I pitch my yeast. After the SG is about 1.020 or so (usually about 5 days), I pull up the mesh bags and hand wring the juice out of them. Then, I move the wine to secondary, top up and airlock it.
Jack Keller is the foremost homewinemaking authority I know of, and he has pages and pages of info on grapes. Here is a link: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/nativew1.asp
and here's another good link:http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/natives.asp