Author Topic: Have grapes... Want wine  (Read 6278 times)

Offline David in MN

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Have grapes... Want wine
« on: June 14, 2016, 08:23:41 PM »
OK, so my grapes are taking over the fences I planted them on. I'll likely have grapes upon grapes this year.

I'm looking for a resource (book, website, etc.) for start to finish wine making. The grapes are white varietals and I've only done wine kits before. I'd love to spend the next few weeks curling up with a book on home wine production. Any advice is appreciated.

Offline jerseyboy

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Re: Have grapes... Want wine
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2016, 09:09:42 PM »
I wish I could find the ones I have but they are out of print.

No red grapes so no need to ferment on the skins for very long as no color to extract. White wines can't handle very much tannin so don't add any stems, only grapes. If you are going to sweeten the wine, it can handle more tannin.

Acidity is important to white wine. However, if this is an American grape you may be better suited for a sweet/dessert wine due to the possible foxy nature of the grape.

Remember, Total Acid is titrated and not measured with pH paper.

Generally speaking, I like the science books over the recipe books.

Good luck and let us know which books you choose.  Also let us know the variety of the grape.

Jerseyboy

Offline BillyS

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Re: Have grapes... Want wine
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2016, 09:27:29 PM »
The birds got all my grapes. Next year look for the post: "How do I make wine out of dead birds?"

Offline David in MN

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Re: Have grapes... Want wine
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2016, 01:52:56 PM »
I've settled on Cox's From Vines to Wines and Goode's The Science of Wine. The former is kind of a bricks and mortar on the basic process and the latter is a bit of the lab science behind it all. I worked in the food industry in a lab for almost a decade so I wanted some hard technical stuff.

My confidence is growing. I had a fun chat with a friend who indelicately reminded me that this stuff has been made for thousands of years. I might not like the taste of the first few iterations but my background in brewing and food science means I'm getting an unfair start way ahead of any master from antiquity.

Offline jerseyboy

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Re: Have grapes... Want wine
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2016, 08:57:53 PM »
I've settled on Cox's From Vines to Wines and Goode's The Science of Wine. The former is kind of a bricks and mortar on the basic process and the latter is a bit of the lab science behind it all. I worked in the food industry in a lab for almost a decade so I wanted some hard technical stuff.

My confidence is growing. I had a fun chat with a friend who indelicately reminded me that this stuff has been made for thousands of years. I might not like the taste of the first few iterations but my background in brewing and food science means I'm getting an unfair start way ahead of any master from antiquity.

I am fascinated by wine making. Grapes are the only fruit with enough sugar to make wine without adding sugar. Of course having said that someone will come up with another fruit that has even more sugar (Gogi berry??).
A lot of French wines only use the native yeast found on the grape for fermentation. You get a bit less alcohol than using the common wine yeasts you can buy.

Here is a good primer on grape chemistry I found

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/wine/sites/www.extension.iastate.edu/files/wine/compositionofgrapes.pdf

Degrees Brix is percent sugar. Really it is percent sucrose but the sugar in grapes is not sucrose.

Most hydrometers are graduated in Brix, Specific Gravity, and Potential Alcohol so you can just use whatever scale you wish.

For wine to be self preserving you need a minimum alcohol level. 12% is often quoted but many wines are as low as 9% alcohol.

Tannins and how they polymerize are fascinating. Not all tannins polymerize. Specifically, the tannins from wood do not polymerize but the grape tannins from the seeds and skin do polymerize. This is part of the aging of red wines and the smoothness of older red wines. They are also a preservative. White wines use high acid as a preservative in addition to the alcohol content.

There is so much to learn and do

Have fun!!!

Jerseyboy


Offline David in MN

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Re: Have grapes... Want wine
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2016, 05:57:13 PM »
I'm almost through From Vines to Wines and it's a little intimidating. I've made wine before from kits where you basically ferment a sack of grape juice. The real deal is a little more complicated. The process is very complex. Little things like how long you let the grapes sit between crushing and pressing matter a lot. I was prepared for acid balancing but the harvesting stuff is very new to me. Nobody in my family has done grapes before.

I'm set that the experience will be like brewing. The first batch will be undrinkable, the second OK with a slice of lemon and the third will be borderline acceptable. I'm optimistic but I'm going to have to build quite the Excel file to track all my steps in order to tease out the data and really learn the skill. Very exciting.

Offline jerseyboy

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Re: Have grapes... Want wine
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2016, 06:09:47 PM »
If it was easy to make a $100 bottle of wine, everyone do it  ;D

Hey, you may be surprised how well it turns out.

Also, a little bit of sugar hides a lot of errors.  One thing people do is leave it dry in the bottle and serve it with a creamer tin of lite sugar syrup for people to sweeten to their taste. This prevents the need to add sorbate or sulphite to the wine as some people are allergic to them as I found out when I gave my neighbor a bottle a few years back.

I have only had one batch go bad on me to the point I had to throw it out.

Keep us updated.

Also keep a log or notebook of everything you do to every batch. You might later figure out what you did right or wrong years later.

Jerseyboy

Richard (richard)

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Re: Have grapes... Want wine
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2016, 01:21:13 PM »
OK, so my grapes are taking over the fences I planted them on. I'll likely have grapes upon grapes this year.

I'm looking for a resource (book, website, etc.) for start to finish wine making. The grapes are white varietals and I've only done wine kits before. I'd love to spend the next few weeks curling up with a book on home wine production. Any advice is appreciated.
What resources have you found? I get catalogs from Midwest Supplies all the time, but I don't know where to start.