First attempt at winemaking - help!

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george
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First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 243497Post george
Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:18 am

Okay I have read MKG's excellent easy guide to making wine and I want to have a go.

http://www.selfsufficientish.com/forum/ ... e&start=15

However, I have been given 5kg of black grapes and I would like to try with these (rather than the teas). Can anyone help with how much sugar, water and yeast I should add?

Any other hints and tips would be greatly appreciated.

Also note that I am not able to get any specialist wine making equipment or materials where I am currently living - hence I really like MKG's introduction article.

George

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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 243522Post MKG
Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:59 pm

Hi George ...

Wine - "proper" grape wine, that is, is made from grapes. That may look silly at first sight, but it's true - there are no additions of anything at all, as grapes (ideally) contain everything necessary in exactly the right amounts - including sugar. Red wines are made by fermenting on the pulp for a few days, and white wines are fermented from the juice after any solids have been strained off. Even the yeast comes ready-supplied (at least in the Mediterranean area).

However. nothing's quite that simple. Those grapes you have may have been bred specifically for eating rather than winemaking. They may or may not have the requisite amount of sugar. The only way you can tell is by extracting some juice, making sure that there are no suspended solids and then testing with a hydrometer - but I assume that you can't get hold of one of those.

So it's suck it and see time. If the grapes are good for wine, they should produce something like 12 to 13% ABV. If they're not so good, they may only get up to about 8% without added sugar.

The other problem you may have is the amount of juice you'll get, as you shouldn't be adding water to grape juice. I don't know what 5 kg of grapes will give you in terms of juice volume. However, I'd be tempted to add the equivalent of 250 grams of sugar per gallon of juice (unless you KNOW that the grapes were intended for winemaking, in which case add none). That should get the alcohol up to a more normal level.

The technique couldn't be simpler. Crush the grapes and add a level teaspoon of yeast (I wouldn't trust the yeast on South Korean grapes to be the right stuff). Ferment on the pulp for four days and then strain off the solids. Cover and leave in a warm place until it's finished.

Best of luck ...

Mike

EDIT: Just found out - your 5 kilos will give you about three quarters of a gallon of juice if you press the pulp well when you strain off.
Last edited by MKG on Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 243523Post george
Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:08 pm

Thanks for this.

So, let me check I understand this correctly.

I crush the grapes, add 250g of sugar per gallon of juice that the grapes give (or add no sugar in which case the alcohol content might be lower). Add some yeast to the crushed grapes (is a teaspoon enough or should I add more?).

Leave it all for 4 days and then take out the solid stuff and leave it to ferment as per your other instructions.

I can't easily get hold of a hygrometer. The grapes are eating grapes and they are quite sweet (Korean style), but I am not going to eat them all anyway so if it is a disaster I don't care. I have wanted to try making wine for ages so I am very excited about giving it a go.

Thanks for your help.

If it is a disaster I will try it with the tea next time!

George

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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 243526Post MKG
Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:17 pm

Yes - a level teaspoon of yeast is plenty.

It probably won't be a disaster - you'll certainly end up with something with alcohol in it. But it's good not to be too bothered about the results - the fun's in the attempt :iconbiggrin:

Mike
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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 243528Post grahamhobbs
Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:27 pm

MKG, I'm interested in a couple of points you say, that dessert grapes may not have enough sugar and only ferment with the skins, etc for 4 days before removing them.
I am certainly no expert and I only know about winemaking au paysan en France. (Next week I am off to do just this, grape picking and wine making with my friend in France). There (for red wine) we leave the grapes to ferment for about 3 weeks until the fermentation is complete before pressing and removing the solids. We leave them a day or two for making rose. Also I would have thought that the dessert grape would have enough sugar but will lack acid and therefore will be bland.

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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 243532Post MKG
Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:48 pm

I'll certainly bow to experience when it comes to fermenting on grape pulp, Graham. Having said that, I would have thought that a three-week pulp fermentation would extract every gram of tannin there was to be had - which would be OK in a heavy red but not so great in a light red, which is what I'm assuming that George may end up with. So, George, I'd take Graham's advice here and certainly extend that pulp fermentation period - but maybe not for three whole weeks.

The strange thing about dessert grapes is that they actually taste much sweeter than wine grapes. But you actually hit the nail on the head, Graham - it's the acid content which gives this impression. Wine grapes do contain more sugar, but also much more acid. Dessert grapes are appreciably less acidic, and so the sweetness comes through much more markedly. So I'm sticking to my guns on that one.

But you're bang on about the blandness - I have omitted to add the juice of half a lemon to the recipe I gave George. Sorry, George.

George?

Are you there, George?

Add the juice of half a lemon, George. Hello?

Mike

EDIT: Found the figures for you, Graham ...

Dessert grapes are usually harvested at a 16% sugar level (occasionally, but not often, 20%).
Wine grapes contain between 22 and 24% sugar.
Last edited by MKG on Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 243533Post boboff
Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:03 pm

I think he went to Asda...........
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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 243536Post Gra
Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:24 pm

Thanks MKG, nice to learn a good bit of science

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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 243576Post george
Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:59 am

boboff wrote:I think he went to Asda...........
:iconbiggrin: :iconbiggrin:

No I was asleep!

Thanks for your help Mike and Graham. The people on this website are awesome! :icon_smile:

So, add the juice of half a lemon and then leave the solid stuff in longer than 4 days but not as long as 3 weeks. Great!

I just have to go and buy myself a big plastic jar now and I am all set to get started.

I will let you know how it goes and probably be back for more questions later.

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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 243641Post WILDBREW
Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:21 am

HI George
I would press and strain the grapes for all the juice,then add to your demijohn with 750g of sugar in a
syrup form when cool and a tsp-GP yeast compound and top up with water fit your airlock and fully ferment out,then rack add wine finings and rack when clear and leave to mature for at least 12 months.

NOTE: when i use grape juice i use at least 1lt of grape juice and 1lt of fruit juice as well as 750g
up 1kg of sugar. :icon_smile:
hope this helps :wav:

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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 250033Post george
Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:41 am

Thanks for all your help.

I followed Mike's instructions. I crushed the grapes, added 1 cup of sugar, juice of half a lemon and the yeast (1 teaspoon). Left it all for 2 weeks and then took the solids out. Decanted it off the sediment twice. It made a little more than 3 bottles. The first bottle was ok but not great as it was a little thin. However, I have had worse wine bought from a shop! I drank the next one about 4 weeks later and it was much better and it was a bit fuller. I have 1 bottle left to drink and am looking forward to it.

Thanks for all your help for a successful first go at making wine. Can't wait to try again!

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Re: First attempt at winemaking - help!

Post: # 250038Post MKG
Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:16 am

Good to hear!

Welcome to the plonky club, george :lol:

Mike
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