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Old 11-11-2012, 08:11 PM   #1
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A friend gave us her grapes. She mostly uses them for jam/jelly but gave the rest of them to us for wine. They are a beta-cross, similar to a concord grape but very tart.

We stuck them (once destemmed) in the freezer and finally got around to them this weekend.

When we weighed them, we had 78.5 pounds! I knew there were a lot, but not THAT many. So I got ready to make 13 gallons of wine.

Since they are hard to crush and press without a chrusher or a press, we put them in nylon mesh bags and allowed them to thaw in the fermenters. Bob found a big stake (baseball bat sized) that I bleached and rinsed and he got to work.

I'm using approximately 6 pounds of grapes per gallon, one liter of grape concentrate for the whole batch, and I think it was 22 pounds of sugar total for an OG of 1.085. Pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient was added as well, but no tannin or any other additives at this point (besides the campden when thawing the grapes in the fermenters).

I did not do any acid adjustments at this point, as the grapes are known to be acidic but the must tasted so good I didn't even bother to check the acidity. We'll see if that was a mistake or not!
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:38 PM   #2
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I thought I'd update this thread.

The wine went into secondary around Thanksgiving, and then sat while we were gone to Texas. It was pretty cool in our house, and the wine went through cold stabilization while we were gone, I guess!

I sampled and racked today. All the carboys were full of wine diamonds (tartaric acid crystals), and the wine has a definitely lowered acidity.

It's beautifully clear, rich tasting, and dry at .990. It's a tiny bit tart on the back of the tongue, so I racked it onto some medium toast oak cubes and I'll let that sit for a few weeks.

I'm very happy with the way this is turning out! It's going to be a wonderful wine.
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:54 PM   #3
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What yeast, Yooper?
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Primary: Chardonel
Secondary: Apfelwein, Chambourcin, Blackstone Pond American Ale, King of the North, Concord, 2nd wine from pulp of both
Bottled: Bavarian Hefeweizen, Dortmunder, King of the North (2010), Apfelwein (2010), Lesser Wilderness Mead (2010), King of the North (2nd wine - 2010)

 
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Old 03-29-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossnaree View Post
What yeast, Yooper?
I used k1-1116.

I'm looking forward to sampling it again in a couple of weeks, to check on the oaking!
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:47 AM   #5
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Concord is in the beta family right?

Does it taste anything similar to Welches grape juice wine, then?

 
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unferth View Post
Concord is in the beta family right?

Does it taste anything similar to Welches grape juice wine, then?
Yes, concord is very similar (beta is a concord, crossed with a wild grape), and before when we made it was was very concord-ish.

but this time, it's not like Welch's at all. It's got a hint of that tartness, but that's it. It tastes more like a wine grape, but with a hint of concord behind it, if that makes sense.

The grapes had more natural sweetness this year, and I think that's part of it. They were big and really juicy and very ripe when we picked them!
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post

Yes, concord is very similar (beta is a concord, crossed with a wild grape), and before when we made it was was very concord-ish.

but this time, it's not like Welch's at all. It's got a hint of that tartness, but that's it. It tastes more like a wine grape, but with a hint of concord behind it, if that makes sense.

The grapes had more natural sweetness this year, and I think that's part of it. They were big and really juicy and very ripe when we picked them!
Awesome. Nice to hear when American varietals come out as great wine. Cheers!

 
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:17 AM   #8
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I got 6 pounds of what I discovered to be Beta grapes from my neighbor last summer. I followed Jack Keller's Mustang Grape Wine recipe (kind of) and waited to see the results. At 6 mo it was drinkable, at 9 is damn tasty.

Today I came home from work and the neighbor asked if I wanted to pick as many of the grapes off his vine as I wanted. Me and my daughters went to work. I hit 17 lbs. . . enough for a 3 gallon batch before I felt guilty for picking so many. They told me they still have tons in the freezer from last year, so no worries.

I am now trying to remember exactly what I did. My red wine came out a bit more bold and tart than any welches. It tastes more like a Cabernet than anything else I have made. . . and that is good. I love Cabs, but it is hard to hit those flavors with fruit.

Any advice?

 
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tokerlund View Post
I got 6 pounds of what I discovered to be Beta grapes from my neighbor last summer. I followed Jack Keller's Mustang Grape Wine recipe (kind of) and waited to see the results. At 6 mo it was drinkable, at 9 is damn tasty.

Today I came home from work and the neighbor asked if I wanted to pick as many of the grapes off his vine as I wanted. Me and my daughters went to work. I hit 17 lbs. . . enough for a 3 gallon batch before I felt guilty for picking so many. They told me they still have tons in the freezer from last year, so no worries.

I am now trying to remember exactly what I did. My red wine came out a bit more bold and tart than any welches. It tastes more like a Cabernet than anything else I have made. . . and that is good. I love Cabs, but it is hard to hit those flavors with fruit.

Any advice?
No, no real advice! Since your last one came out so good, I'd just say to do the same thing, pretty much!

If the grapes aren't overly acidic, that's a good start. We're picking our friend's grapes again this year, probably in about a month or so, so they should be fully and richly ripe. That helps with natural sugar.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:49 AM   #10
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Some of them had been hit by a white fungus or mold. I picked around these and made sure to discard any that looked affected. It wasn't hard because the mold had decimated them. The rest were very ripe and there were several already on the ground. I'm hoping it turns out half as good as the last go round. I just wish I'd taken better notes. It was my first wine from actual fruit.

 
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