Newbie wine making instructions

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Odsox
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Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281009 Odsox
Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:46 pm

OK, I think I'm going to regret this (regret because I tried years ago and swore never to try again), but here goes.

I keep looking at the hundred and some odd bunches of grapes that are steadily ripening in the greenhouse. It shouldn't be too much of a problem dealing with a good percentage of them, but there will inevitably be quite a lot surplus. This vine is only in it's second year and I have 2 more rods growing, so next year I could have twice as many bunches and the year after 3 times as many. Plus I have another vine in the polytunnel which should have a few bunches next year .... you get the drift.

I got shot of all my wine making equipment many years ago, so I have absolutely nothing apart from ordinary kitchen equipment. I can obviously get 5 litre PET water bottles and I found a place to get a suitable bung and airlock, so what else do I need ?
Mashing the grapes in a bucket sounds easy, so what do I do after that ?
These are white grapes and I want to make a good quality Sancerre. If I end up with wine that tastes like cr@p again, then I can prune those other 2 rods off this winter and forget about it again.

Mike ????? :wave:
Tony

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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281010 MKG
Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:45 pm

I will respond soon. I have my mother to contend with at the moment. She is what you'd expect.
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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281013 diggernotdreamer
Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:38 pm

Haven't you got a fruit press, we pressed loads of grape juice when we had grapes and then pasteurised the juice into bottles it really improved the flavour of it, made if sweeter than just pressing and freezing...... but then I have never tasted a bottle of home made wine that was really, well ........drinkable

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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281015 Odsox
Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:57 pm

diggernotdreamer wrote: but then I have never tasted a bottle of home made wine that was really, well ........drinkable

YES !! I thought it was just me as everyone on this forum reckons all home made wine is the bees knees.

No fruit press, never felt the need for one and I don't see buying one now if the wine I'm contemplating turns out as I'm expecting it to.
BUT .... I'm willing to give it one last go, and to be suitably impressed if it does turn out to be drinkable.
Tony

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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281020 Green Aura
Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:33 pm

I wouldn't say all home made wines are fabulous - we've had some outstanding disasters (mainly with attempts at reds which always seem to oxidise :dontknow: ) but our dandelion and rhubarb wines are lovely.
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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281025 MKG
Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:48 pm

Odsox wrote:... These are white grapes and I want to make a good quality Sancerre ...


Oh, don't we all :lol:

First of all - apart from being white, what kind of grape are we talking about? There are grapes, and then there are grapes, if you know what I mean. Are they specifically wine grapes (and, even more specifically, are they Sauvignon Blanc?) or are they grown for the table? Do you have a pH meter capable of accurately measuring the acidity of the rendered juice? What weight of grapes are we talking about, and do you have a means of extracting the juice efficiently?

And a million more questions after you've answered that little lot :iconbiggrin:

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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281026 Brewtrog
Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:00 pm

A quick (rough, but easy) guide. crush the grapes to get the juice (at it's most simple a spud masher, or two boards). Take pH and sugar readings (at the most simple litmus paper and a hydrometer). Get the pH to what you want (around 3ish IIRC, but then I never worry too much about acidity) and the sugar to a desired abv (higher isn't always better). Once sorted chuck a campden tablet and 1tsp pectolase in with the juice (in a sterile [miltons tablets will do that job] container) and leave for 24 hours. Add yeast (get a wine yeast, bakers yeast will make crap wine) and allow to ferment. Rack once the lees are about 1 inch thick/when it stops fermenting (move it off the crud). Allow to ferment out. MAJOR point, remember that wines improve with age, just because it tastes like french urine to begin with doesn't mean that it wont improve with age. Also, as Mike pointed out, you'll do better with wine grapes than dessert grapes. Again, this is a very rough and ready quick guide, but it should hopefully change your mind about homebrewing, if not then try a good country wine recipe (I've never actually brewed with grapes before)

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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281034 Odsox
Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:56 am

Thanks Brewtrog for the instructions.
Mike, the grapes are table grapes of course (why would I grow wine grapes ?) and are seedless. There are just starting to get ripe, as in they are quite sweet but still have an acid tang. Last year they got as sweet as shop bought grapes and that was about mid September I seem to remember.
As to weight, I have no idea but I would think 50 - 60 bunches whatever they weigh. I was going to point you to the photo that I posted on here a few weeks ago, but it has been corrupted. It seems photos must be very vulnerable as they were posted since John did the upgrade (I think), anyway I'll post it again here.
Extracting juice, I was thinking of mashing and straining through the jelly bag I have and squeezing with my hands.A pH tester and hydrometer are readily available on this Irish mail order homebrew site I've found, as are everything else it seems.

OK, if not sancerre, then how about muscadet ?

Grapes.jpg
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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281040 Zech
Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:59 am

I've never tried making wine from grapes, but as a newbie I wouldn't be aiming for a good quality Sancerre, or even Muscadet. That seems both too ambitious and too specific to me. Apart from anything else, doesn't the type of wine depend on the variety of grape?

Looking back at my earliest wine making attempts, I find notes on elderflower champagne - "A bit yeasty, but nice enough to open a second bottle," nettle wine - "Once I'd got used to the idea that it tasted more like cider than anything else, it was really quite nice," marmalade wine (I'd chopped too many oranges) = "surprisingly drinkable."

Three years on and I've yet to make a decent blackcurrant wine (I keep trying), but on the other hand, my oak leaf wine won first prize (white wine, dry) at the local country show. It doesn't taste much like anything you'd buy in a shop, but it is really nice. My standards for "drinkable" may be quite low, but I think having an open mind about what kind of flavours to expect helps a lot. If you expect a particular flavour (e.g. shop-bought wine, made from wine grapes) and get something else, that's going to be disappointing. If you taste it thinking, "I wonder what this is going to taste like?" I think there's a much better chance that you'll like it.
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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281046 Odsox
Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:05 pm

Maybe I'd better rethink my strategy then.
I drink "quality" wine every day and have done since I don't know when. I have a few bottles of Château Margaux Bordeaux laid down of every year back to 1998, except the ones that I've already drunk because they were ready.
It may be wise then to juice those extra grapes for the grandchildren to drink at Christmas dinner, or I could turn it into Pineau.

Now that I've got this wine making urge in my head, I do have several pounds of frozen Loganberries and a glut of autumn raspberries coming, would they make a drinkable wine ?
I also have a Worcester Pearmain absolutely loaded with apples, bearing in mind I don't have a fruit press, could I make wine easily with them (wine not cider) ?
Tony

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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281048 MKG
Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:34 pm

I only have a minute, so I'll have to give you details later, Tony.

Apple wine - yes, easy, don't need special equipment.

Raspberry wine - not recommended as it's an extremely strong flavour. Best used with other fruit (apples, for instance).

Loganberry - never tasted one. If it's more blackberryish than raspberryish, it sounds an ideal candidate for wine. The other way round - see comment of raspberries.
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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281050 Brewtrog
Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:54 pm

As Zech pointed out, you'll not easily make a replica of a wine without getting the exact grapes that it is made from, or the yeast for that matter (yeast has a major input on flavour). So saying I do have a "How to brew wines like those you buy" book, but it is a bit faffy and uses far too many different fruits to try and replicate something made only from grapes.
As Mike says, apple wine is easy to make, just find a recipe that sounds good and role with it.
Again, as Mike says, raspberry wine is supposed to be a bit overpowering flavour wise, but then I know someone who swears by the stuff
Sadly my dad didn't let me brew his loganberries this year, but I'm sure if you mixed them with some raspberries and blackberries (total 3-4lb fruit) you'd get a gallon of drinkable wine.

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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281124 MKG
Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:55 am

I'm going to chuck a couple of recipes at you later on, Tony.
But I think that you're suffering from an expectation that a lot of new winemakers have - that all wines should taste like the wines in the shops. They don't (unless, as Brewtrog has mentioned - I have that book too - you are prepared to introduce so many different fruits and different methods of preparation). That's interesting, but only from the point of view of discovering what's possible with a lot of work. Wines made from fruits other than grapes simply don't taste like grape wines, with a single exception - elderberry - and that can be put up in competition against anything made from grapes and often come out on top. That's because elderberries are chemically identical to grapes, only the proprtions of various constituents being different. I've made elderberry wines which I would challenge anyone to distinguish from a good, aged port, or a standard plonk, or anything in between. Virtually the same thing could be said of wines made from table grapes - they're certainly drinkable, but you'd have to do a fair bit of chemical adjustment to achieve high quality (note that there's more sugar, for instance, in wine grapes but that's disguised by high acidity).
But that's as it should be - why should an apple wine taste like a grape wine? I'll add here that matured home-made stuff doesn't necessarily taste of its primary ingredient either, but that can be said of most grape wines.
These days, I tend to take the easy route - I make wines that I know I'm going to drink young with a splash or two of lemonade. As they're young, they still tend to have the taste of the main ingredient, but that's what I like. They're always slightly different depending upon whether or not it rained last Tuesday and, occasionally, I produce something which is simply undrinkable. But it's also dirt cheap, so those are poured straight over the compost heap. I have so much stuff coming from the garden and the hedgerows that I could cheerfully make a gallon of wine a day during summer and autumn (I don't!!) but I have a limited number of fermentation and storage vessels and enjoy the making more than the anticipation of a fantastic years-old mature result so, in the main, young wines it is for me.
Other people will totally disagree with that, which is fine because they're going to make what they want to make. I make a fair bit of under-strength stuff which, as it isn't going to sit around for long, is OK and ensures that I don't get too drunk during tasting sessions.
So it's a make what you like situation. And it's cheap. And more often than not, you get reasonable results. And, just occasionally, you surprise yourself by producing a cracker. They're the ones which get hidden away for a year or two but, to prevent curiosity depleting those supplies, you have to make more of the run-of-the-mill stuff. And so it goes. It's good fun.
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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281132 Odsox
Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:10 am

Thanks for that Mike, that explains everything neatly.
I refer you to my previous post and I won't bother with the grapes.
But, if you can tell me how to produce a drinkable wine from apples that doesn't require a fruit press, I might give that a go.
I probably (literally) have 2 or 3 bushels of Worcester apples and there is no way the 2 of us can eat them, especially with all the other varieties ripening fast.
Tony

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Re: Newbie wine making instructions

Post: #281159 MKG
Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:25 pm

Right Tony - I've found the apple wine recipe I was looking for. Just a couple of things I need to know first.

Do you have wine yeast or are you intending to use bakers yeast? Do you have any yeast nutrient and pectin-reducing enzymes handy? Do you have demijohns, or are you going to do this in a bucket? Do you have any raisins or sultanas? Can you nick a Vitamin B1 tablet from anyone?

Once I know that I can tailor the recipe for you.

Mike
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