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Old 07-30-2011, 05:21 PM   #1
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Default Free grapes. Now what?

I just recently have someone give me acess to the grapes they have growing on their property. They do not know what variety they are as they were there when they moved in. All they know is that the former owner made wine from them. the real question is this. since i just got into making wine i dont have alot of equipment(floor corker is the fanciest thing i will probably invest in at this time). what will need to be done with the grapes to get them ready? and does any one have any truely redneck(and waaaaay cheap) devices/ideas for getting this accomplished? I mean crushing enough grapes for a 6g batch is way above my league so far(lol 17lb of red currants seems tame in comparison.)


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Old 07-30-2011, 05:50 PM   #2
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You can sometimes rent a press from homebrew stores. Crushing is difficult, but a plastic swimming pool and the stomp method works.


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Old 07-30-2011, 06:07 PM   #3
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I freeze 6 pounds of muscadine grapes in a 1 gallon baggie. Thaw, and crush in the bag with a rolling pin. I've had no problems with the bags breaking. I can do easily do 6 bags in 30 mins for a 6 gallon batch.

I just realized I'm making 666 wine!
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:57 PM   #4
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so how many pounds on average of grapes per gallon of wine?
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Old 07-30-2011, 07:45 PM   #5
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I do 6 for lots of body.

Edit: I'm making fruit wine, adding water and sugar to table grapes. I don't have acces to wine grapes.
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Old 07-30-2011, 07:54 PM   #6
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My book thingie says 18 lbs per gallon ...the recipe doesn't call for sugar but I'm sure you'll have to adjust once you take a reading with the hydrometer.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:55 AM   #7
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There is a video on youtube to make a "redneck" wine press using scrap wood and a car jack
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:21 PM   #8
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thankes everyone. and bobbop89 that sounds about like what im after lol
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:01 PM   #9
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Make moonshine. It's a zillion times faster than wine and more of your friends will be impressed :-)
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:30 PM   #10
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Taste the grapes. I assume they are a concord or catawba grape variety if they are "yard grapes". If they are not wine grapes, they will be tasty but tart and acidic and low in sugar.

I use 6 pounds per gallon of grapes, and enough sugar to boost the OG to 1.095 or so. You have to add water, also, to dilute the acidity.

I don't have a press, so I freeze the grapes (seeds and all, but destemmed) in big garbage bags. When I go to make the wine, I put the grapes in big mesh bags and put them in a sanitized primary. I add some boiling water and add one campden tablet per gallon. I then check the SG and add sugar /water to bring up the OG and the volume. (Some easy math helps with this).

I add a bit of powdered tannin, some yeast nutrient, and any other needed items (I doubt you'll need acid blend). Wait 12 hours, and then add pectic enzyme. Wait 12 more hours, then pitch the yeast. Cover with a thick towel to keep out fruitflies!

Stir twice a day for about 5 days. Smash up the grapes with a mash paddle or heavy stainless spoon. Since the grapes were frozen, it's easier for them to break up (no stomping required!) Make sure you stir down the "cap" that forms so the grapes don't dry out. Then, remove the bags of fruit and squeeze them as much as you can to get out every bit of juice. I take them into a new sanitized bucket and press down thoroughly.

Then, transfer to carboys, and airlock. Top up when fermentation slows.

That recipe works for catawba grapes and concord grapes. I don't know much about other grapes like muscadines.

I love Jack Keller's site and here's the part on native grapes: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/nativew1.asp

Scroll down a bit and he tells how to drop the acidity if necessary for some very tangy grapes.


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