Is stripping grapes essential?

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Nov 25, 2015
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I have been given something like 25kg of grapes by a friend who very kindly cuts down the bunches for me and gives them to me every year. For the past couple of years I have stripped the grapes from their branches but she has given me far more grapes this year and I can see stripping them taking me many, many hours. What are the implications if I do not strip them? I've read the wine might be tannin flavoured if I leave the grapes on the stalks / branch;can I add something to offset that?
I normally freeze the grapes and make the wine at my leisure. I just make the wine by mixing the fruit with water, sugar (as required) and yeast. I don't press the juice out. Would an option be to press the grapes whilst they are still on the branch?
I have no experience with this, but all my reading has lead to the same conclusion you did. It’s best to not let the large stems soak in the must.
I would be worried about excess tannins or vegetal flavor in the wine if stems were left in during fermentation. As far as pressing grapes with the stems, I think it depends on the grapes; I read somewhere that with white grapes, pressing with the stems (or perhaps only some of the stems) is sometimes done.
I always leave the whole bunches in when I do red wine. You do get little extra bitterness but it ages out quite well, in the end it's similar to using oak barrels.
I crush the grapes and then pick out the stems later, which is tedious but I don't mind it all that much.
If you don't have a grape crusher, the "milk crate crushing method" works pretty good for both de-stemming and crushing.
You shouldn't have to add water or sugar to your wine.


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