Grapes and more grapes101WINEMAKING.COM      
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How to make your own wine from grape juice!   This is a simple basic procedure for winemaking at home.

Cold pressed grapes (red or white) require 15 pounds of fruit per gallon of juice yield.

White grapes are not fermented on the skins.  They oxidize too rapidly. They can be allowed skin contact after crushing before pressing. If allowing skin contact, cover with clear plastic (out of the sun) to minimize oxidation.

Grapes can be crushed into your open top container, never a carboy. Juice, if ordered, is ready to pump into your container. To start winemaking with juice, you'll need...

* Juice: 5 1/2 to 6 gallons of juice for 5 gallons finished wine. OR

* Juice: 5 gallons, topping up with finished wine from your cellar. Five (5) gallons will yield 2 dozen: 750 ml bottles.

* Order your white grapes at the rate of 15 pounds per gallon. You will probably cold press. 

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



1. Our juices are sulfited; no additional sulfite should be added prior to fermenting, unless you test it and find it very low, then it is a winemaker's decision to add SO2.

2. Take a hydrometer reading of the fresh juice to determine the sugar percentage or brix (o). Adjust the sugar to 210 or 220 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.

3. To ferment juice take the level of the juice down to the shoulder of the carboy and equip with an airlock ½ filled with water. The balance of the juice may ferment in a glass gallon jug with an airlock. Our juices are refrigerated. Warm to room temperature by waiting 24 hours to avoid cold shock to the yeast.

4. Re-hydrate the yeast with tap water according to packet instructions (no longer than 15 minutes as there are no nutrients present).  The use of distilled water for rehydration is NOT recommended as there is an absence of electrolytes. 


5. Add yeast to room temperature juice to avoid "cold shock".

6. Place a proper size drilled bung on top of the carboy (or bucket) and insert an airlock that is 1/2 filled with water.

7. Just when the juice starts to ferment, add 1/2 dose of Fermaid nutrient. The second half of the nutrient dose is added at 1/3 sugar depletion. Take a hydrometer reading.

8. Ferment 1 to 2 weeks or until a definite line of sediment (called lees) is evident. Transfer via siphon (tubing) to a clean container, add proper metabisulfite, which is 1/8 teaspoon per 5 gallons for a red juice or 1/4 teapsoon per 5 gallons for a white. Top up with the reserved juice or wine to within 1 inch of the stopper. This transfer is called racking.

7. Ferment 1 to 2 months more. Rack when bubbling has ceased or has become very slow and a definite line of sediment (lees) shows. Top up the new vessel with wine to within 1 inch of the stopper.

NOTE: Check your water level in the airlock frequently. They can go dry. Some winemakers use colored water to help visibility. Some use a meta solution for airlocks.

9. Rack, sulfite, and fine as necessary. (For finings look in problem wines, cloudy wines)

10. Wine should be brilliant, having fallen bright. Now, you can cold stabilize. Put glycerin or sufficient alcohol (vodka) in the airlock to prevent freezing. If you wish to ADD SORBATE, do so now at the rate of 1-2 grams per gallon (1/2 teaspoon is approximately 1 gram). You must have proper meta levels when using sorbate. Dose the meta prior to but close to the same time you do the sorbate (or run a Titret free SO2 test). The SO2 level should be about 40-80 ppm for sorbate use. Place the carboy at 20-25o F for 2 weeks or more. Excess tartrates will precipitate from the wine. This mellows the wine by reducing the acid. It will help stabilize the wine by preventing these tartrates from settling out after bottling. Rack into a clean carboy while cold. If you add SORBATE without cold stabilizing, allow 24 hours before bottling. However, the addition of any potassium ion will make the wine unstable and this is why cold stabilizing is recommended after adding sorbate. Add proper metabisulfite when you rack.

10. Filter if desired and bottle when stable. Always rinse bottles with a C-Brite or a meta solution. Drain well. The drainer trees are very nice for this purpose.



May Your Wines Fall Bright!