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Old 09-22-2009, 11:58 PM   #1
Rhys79
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Default What to do with a bunch of grapes???

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?

TIA!!

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Old 09-23-2009, 12:41 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Rhys79 View Post
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?

TIA!!
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
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:03 AM   #3
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Thank you much! I was thinking along those lines (well, hadn't thought of the freezing part, good idea there!), but wasn't sure how well it would work. Have to wait till this weekend to see how much grapes I manage to harvest.

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Old 09-23-2009, 09:34 PM   #4
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I have a 5gal bucket of grapes waiting for me right now: I moved in to a home with a large mature vine/vines. I'm a beer drinker and plan to start brewing as soon as I've given this winemaking business a try. Jack Keller does seem to have a lot of information, but he's also long-winded. I found a couple other winemaking blogs that pretty much say the same thing YooperBrew did... nylon bag in the primary thingie (of which I am still learning the proper name...). I will be starting my wine this weekend as well, so I'll let you know how I fare.

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Old 09-24-2009, 09:22 AM   #5
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I do muscadine wine. I use a really big Rubbermaid cointaner and put about 80lbs of grapes at a time in there once I hand crush them. I do an intial ferment in this cointaner for a week and then strain the juice off of the material using large mesh seafood boilng bags. Place into fermenters and let it go.

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