Grapes and more grapes101WINEMAKING.COM      
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May your wines Fall Bright!

Order red grapes at the rate of 12-13 pounds per gallon
if fermenting on the skins

* If COLD pressing red grapes prior to fermentation, you'll need 15 pounds per gallon.

* Order your white grapes at the rate of 15 pounds per gallon.
They will be cold pressed. White grapes are not fermented on
the skins. They oxidize too rapidly.

* 1 full bushel is about 40 pounds of whole grapes. Our picking boxes hold ~30 pounds level full.

The grapes MAY need to be de-stemmed and crushed.
You may use our machine for this task for a modest fee or free if your buy our grapes. 

(White grapes are not fermented on the skins. They oxidize too easily and can-not accommodate all the issues of skin fermentation. You may cold-soak crushed white grapes on the skins for up to 8 hours to intensify flavors but cover them with a clear plastic to minimize oxidation. Use meta and pectic enzyme during this soak. Press immediately and proceed with basic winemaking.)

Add potassium metabisulfite to your red must (crushed grapes) at the rate of 1/8 teaspoon per 30 pounds of fresh grapes at crushing time. After the
grapes are crushed take a hydrometer reading of the fresh juice to determine the sugar percentage or brix (

Adjust the sugar to 21o or 22o brix. We use corn sugar as it is a simple sugar ready for yeast consumption. Compute the increase in brix desired (i.e. 16 to 21=5). Estimate your gallonage after fermentation based on 12-13 pounds
of fruit per gallon
. Multiply the increase of brix desired (5) by the number of gallons to be adjusted (5x5 gal=25). As .125 pounds of sugar raises 1 gallon 10 brix, multiply this (25) by .125 which will equal the pounds of sugar to add
to the entire batch of must (or crushed grapes).

(3 cups of corn sugar is approximately 1 pound and 2 1/4 cups of cane
sugar is about 1 pound.) Add the required sugar. If you use cane sugar it is recommended to heat it in some of the juice. The heat and acid will convert
it to a simple sugar. We use the same formula to calculate the use of cane sugar, even though it is slightly different. 

Re-hydrate the yeast with or with out G-Ferm and add to room temperature grapes (must). Ferment 1-2 weeks.  Here is a link for Tom's yeast starter and instructions for the use of GoFerm in the re-hydration process

 Dose the must with a nutrient such as Fermaid or DAP (diammonium phosphate) at the recommended rates. Do not overdose excessively. You would probably be ok with a double dose, but.... This is a nutrient (fertilizer) and can be overdosed. Follow label recommendations. Yeast nutrient cuts down of fermentation problems such as the rotten egg smell, the production of sulfur hydroxide.

It is recommended to split the nutrient (Fermaid) dose. The first 1/2 dose,
which is ½ teaspoon per 5 gallons for Fermaid and 1/8 teaspoon of DAP, should be added at the end of the lag stage, which is just before
fermentation starts. The second 1/2 of the dose of ½ teaspoon per 5 gallons should be added at 50% sugar depletion.


This initial fermentation, which is 1-2 weeks, is done in a bucket with a lid that you can outfit with an airlock.

Every day during fermentation you have to push the skins down once or
twice as they float and form a cap. This blends the skins with the resulting alcohol which extracts the color and flavors from the skins into the wine.

On the last day, leave the cap in place, siphon the juice underneath by
snaking a rigid racking wand down to the juice-wine through the cap.  Have
the tubing attached and start the siphon.  Rack into a clean carboy, press the skins, adjust sulfite levels and continue the fermentation (secondary and
much slower) in glass. Top up the carboy with wine as much as whatever fermenting activity will allow (within 1 inch of the bung).   "Topping up" is
an important issue to avoid oxidation. Do NOT top up with water as it will
upset the acid structure of the wine and may result in spoilage (vinegar).

The primary fermentation has finished, so there probably will not be much activity. Wines fermented with Red Star Cotes des Blanc, Premier Cuvee 
and the Lalvin yeast can be topped up more and earlier due to the low
foaming nature of these yeast. Ferment 1 to 2 months more.

Rack when bubbling has ceased or has become very slow and a definite
line of sediment (lees) shows. Sulfite and fine as necessary. Top up the
new vessel with a compatible wine to within 1 inch of the stopper. We do
not recommend topping up with water. Water will throw off the acid structure
and change the brix or residual sugar.

We usually end up racking 4 times in a 6 month period, adjusting the SO2
with each racking. 





May Your Wines Fall Bright!