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Old 11-19-2008, 09:59 PM   #1
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Default Wine from scratch

While not known for its fine wines grapes grow well in Utah and eveyone now has a fence full of overripe grapes. Unfortunately they are concord for green and not sure for red. But they are there and free, so I am thinking of making some wine from them. It has been years since I made wine from the purchased juice, so am a little lost on making from the grapes. So some questions please.

How many grapes would I need for a 5 gallon batch? Or what would a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket produce?

Any links on how to go about it from the grapes?

I am going to pick the grapes today but am heading out for 3 days. Should I keep the grapes inside(warm) or outside till Saturday night when I get to start the crush?

Thanks

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Old 11-19-2008, 11:11 PM   #2
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While not known for its fine wines grapes grow well in Utah and eveyone now has a fence full of overripe grapes. Unfortunately they are concord for green and not sure for red. But they are there and free, so I am thinking of making some wine from them. It has been years since I made wine from the purchased juice, so am a little lost on making from the grapes. So some questions please.

How many grapes would I need for a 5 gallon batch? Or what would a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket produce?

Any links on how to go about it from the grapes?

I am going to pick the grapes today but am heading out for 3 days. Should I keep the grapes inside(warm) or outside till Saturday night when I get to start the crush?

Thanks
It depends on the grapes. Concord-type grapes make ok wine. I have had to add sugar (and also some water, due to the high acidity) to get to a decent OG because some grapes don't have much natural sugar. Last year, I used 65 pounds of catawba grapes to end up with 14 gallons of wine. I started with an OG of 1.100.

Jack Keller (jackkeller.net) has many recipes for different types of grapes, including an "unknown variety" recipe.

I use sulfite, at the rate of 1 campden tablet per expected gallon of wine. Then, 12 hours later, I added some pectic enzyme, and 12 hours after that pitched the yeast.

The grapes I used were very acidic, so I did some acid reduction and cold stabilization (and the acid formed crystals and dropped out) and even MLF. And I did one 3-gallon carboy without any corrections. This year, I'm doing no corrections, except adding a pint of grape concentrate (available from LHBS) to each 5 gallon carboy to help it get a more fuller flavor.
I found that the acid reductions and the MLF made the wine a bit too bland. I think sometimes more natural can be more better!
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:21 AM   #3
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Thanks Yooper,
I don't think sugar content will be a problem, These grapes are overly ripe, some were half way to raisinhood. As I was trying to pick them they fell right off the stems. I just had to put the bucket under the vine and run my hand down the vine and all the grapes fell off many even made it in the bucket. I filled one big bucket in a short time. I posted a grapes wanted add on craigslist and have two more offers of grapes to collect.

Thanks for the link of info and recipes.

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Old 11-20-2008, 08:52 AM   #4
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Unfortunately they are concord for green and not sure for red.
Concord grapes aren't green, so I'm fairly certain that your identification is not correct.
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:35 PM   #5
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I think concords are a dark purply/blue color - about the color almost as a blueberry if I remember? My mom has some growing in her yard that she makes jelly from......

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Old 11-20-2008, 05:51 PM   #6
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Thanks Yooper,
I don't think sugar content will be a problem, These grapes are overly ripe, some were half way to raisinhood. As I was trying to pick them they fell right off the stems. I just had to put the bucket under the vine and run my hand down the vine and all the grapes fell off many even made it in the bucket. I filled one big bucket in a short time. I posted a grapes wanted add on craigslist and have two more offers of grapes to collect.

Thanks for the link of info and recipes.
Unless they are wine grapes, you won't have enough sugar in the grapes to make a wine with adequate alcohol. The level of ripeness isn't really the problem- it's just that table grapes and grapes for jams and jellies just don't have enough sugar on their own.

You can crush them, and then check the SG. If the SG is less than 1.085, you'd need to add some sugar to bring it up.
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:26 PM   #7
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Okay it was a wild guess as far as grape type. I had planted some grapes at the beginning of the summer and was only able to find concord grapes so that is what I guessed is available here.

My girlfriend went to get some more of the free grapes. I have two different types both red. So there are three buckets two red and one green. I guess I now crush them and see what kind of OG I get and go from there.

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Old 11-24-2008, 06:01 PM   #8
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Just some quick advice on these wild grapes:

Crush them and get the juice off the skins right away - the skins will likely add some fairly off flavours in this variety which is likely a v. riparia or v. muscadina

You may wish to either cold stabalize the juice or the wine after fermentation to get rid of as much potassium tartarate as possible but may still need to add calcium carbonate or some such acid reducer. (its best to measure the free acid if you can)

You may wish to add a relatively aggressive yeast like Lalvin K1V-1116 or EC-1118.

Best of luck

Oh this might help:

Vitis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 11-29-2008, 12:36 AM   #9
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I have an old (50 year plus according to an old neighbor) vine in my SLC backyard that makes a "green table grape" . Who knows what kind they are, but they are similar to a green grape you would buy in a grocery store, only smaller.

I ended up piling grape clusters in a home depot bucket up to the ~3 or ~4 gallon mark, and still ended up needing more later on just to make a gallon. I estimated to have maybe 14-15 pounds worth. I don't have my notes in front of me, but I do recall that I had to add perhaps 1 1/2 C sugar to the must to bring it up to the 1.082 range. My titration test showed approximately .65% tartaric.

We made some jelly with the concords from our friend's fence, and they were quite purple, fwiw.

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