Home-grown wine again

WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
It's that time of year again.
After last year, when I lost a lot of grapes due to a combination of gale-force winds & bugs -mostly wasps - this year I constructed a 'ghetto greenhouse' with thick plastic sides & a micromesh netting roof.....it stopped the bugs, but unfortunately the backwards seasons ( hot & sunny in the growing season, torrential rain & gales when they were ripening ) meant I lost a lot of grapes again :'(

I managed to salvage about 25Kg of red grapes, though, and after de-stalking and discarding the bad ones I've ended up with about 10L or so of juice.
This is now sitting in a 15L lidded bucket ( together with the crushed grape pulp ) to which has been added Campden Powder & Pectolase.
It's currently a disgusting looking green colour ( unlike previous years when it's started off fairly red ) but hopefully that'll change after a week or two.
Next decision will be what yeast to use & whether or not to add oak chips, which is something I haven't done with previous home-grown wine.


  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    Great that you have managed to get some grapes this year, it's a shame not as many as you wanted though due to the weather. If you do decide to experiment with oak chips it might perhaps be an option to split the grape juice and make 2 smaller batches, one without the addition, and the other batch with oak chips and see what difference it makes and which you prefer - if you record the amount/weight of oak chips to the amount of liquid you added it to then you will get the ratio and know whether or not to add more or less to next years harvest
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Checked the starting SG of it this afternoon.
    As expected, it was fairly low - between 1.035-1.04 ( which would potentially mean about 4.5% ABV ) so I've added about 2Kg of brewing sugar to take it up to around 1.1 SG ( potentially around 13% ABV )
    Tomorrow I'll chuck in some Tronozymol yeast nutrient & probably Gervin GV11 yeast.
  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    Great, the extra sugar will increase the strength and Gervin yeast is very reliable, there are a couple of red wine yeast in that range which will do the trick
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Two weeks down the line, so I thought it was time for an update.
    The good news is, it's no longer green...the bad news is, it's pink! :)

    The SG is down to 1.0, so that would make it around 13% ABV, so can't complain about that.
    Some time over the next few days I'll be filtering it out.
  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    Great, it is starting to look more like wine, it does look to have quite a pink colour to it as you say, but the most important thing will be the taste! Once the reading is as low as it will go degassing and filtering should clear it
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Well, I changed my mind and left it on the pulp for an extra week to see if it would get any redder.
    It did, but not by much.
    As the SG was still 1.0 when I checked it three days running, I stopped it & degassed it.
    Today's been the long process of first-filtering to get rid of the pulp.
    The reason it's been long ( 6 hours for about 4L so far! :o ) is because I was too lazy to put the pulp in a straining-bag when I started it & the pectolase has done such a good job that what's left is now very fine.
  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    It will be worth it, once it has strained through and left the bulk of it behind it should then clear nicely, if possible pop a photo of the finished wine up
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Photo & taste review will follow.
    In the meantime, this is how much of the pulp I've still got to filter ( in a 5L brew-bucket )....

    Hopefully leaving it for a day or two will allow it to settle & separate.
    The wine I've already filtered is currently in a 'bag in a box', but once it's all filtered I'll be transferring it to bottles.
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Another week, another update.
    Just finished final filtering & bottling it.
    The finished product :

    Looks like a light Pinot Noir.

    Granted it's not had time to mature or anything, but first tasting is that it's leaning more towards sweet than dry & a reasonably sharp bite.....no noticeable oakiness, unfortunately.
  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    It's cleared nicely, it's hard to know how the finished wine will turn out, oak chips will infuse some flavour and are sometimes used when making wines, once stored for a while it will probably develop further
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Been a while since I posted anything brewing-related, but that's because I haven't brewed anything for several months.

    It is, however, that time again -- grape picking.

    Thanks to the wonderful weather - even worse than last year - my grape crop was pretty much devastated :'(
    Only enough red grapes for about 3L of juice, slightly more for the white ones ( a mix of Riesling & Muscat de Alexander )
    I decided not to mix them, I've brought them up to a more usable volume by adding water & dextrose instead.
    To add to the woes, there wasn't enough must to impart any colour to the red wine, so I'm going to effectively end up with a white red wine. :s

    Some time over the next few days I'll be filtering the juice out and adding the yeast ( Gervin GV9 for the white, Mangrove Jack's R56 for the 'red' )

    Think next year I'll bite the bullet and splash out on a polytunnel or greenhouse.
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Just checked the SGs of both...
    'Red' is 1.046 , White is 1.054
    If they ferment out to 1.0, that would make the Red about 6% & the White about 7% ABV

    To get a decent ABV ( 10-14% ) that would mean the Red will need about 750g-1Kg & the White about 350g-500g more dextrose.
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Given the distinct lack of red colour with the red grapes, I've had a rethink with regards the yeast.
    I'm now leaning towards trying to make sparkling wine, using either Gervin GV3 or Mangrove Jack's SN9 yeast.
    Possibly may also chuck some oak chips in with the Red as well
  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    Hi WCG, that is bad news on the grape harvest, it just hasn't been a great year for some fruits unfortunately. We know what you mean about trying something different with the juice, when there is a small amount it can be a good time to experiment and try something new, it may well produce a great sparkling wine, keep us posted on how you get on with it
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Well, my guess as to how much dextrose to add to the Red was a bit out.
    I added 1Kg and the SG went up to 1.15 .... added more water to bring it down to a more sensible 1.09 ( which should give an ABV of around 11.5-12% )

    The White was about right, the extra dextrose taking the SG to 1.08 ( which should give about 10.5% ABV )

    The only good thing with the Red is that the volume meant I could split it into 2x 5L batches.
    I'm doing both using sparkling wine yeast, one with bourbon oak chips and one without.
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Got to be a record....9 days before they started fermenting! :o
    During that time, the SG of the white actually increased from 1.08 to 1.09

    I didn't bother filtering-out the must from the Reds, and it appears to be paying off...both are taking on a more reddish colour.
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Just checked the Reds ( or pinks, as they are now ) and they're both down to a SG of 0.99 , which works out as around 13% ABV.
    Still bubbling, so I'll give them a few more days.

    Not checked the White ( which currently looks somewhat yellowish ) yet as it's still fermenting quite vigorously

  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Change of plan.....
    The Reds have stopped bubbling and the SG is still 0.99 , so I've decided to 'stop' them.

    White's still fermenting but has slowed right down, still haven't checked the SG though.
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    SG of the White wine's down to 1.00 , which equates to around 11.75%
    I've now stopped that too and all 3 batches have now been moved to a cool place ( shed in back garden ) to help them settle
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Just finished bottling the White -- managed to get just over 3x 75cl bottle-fulls.

    May do the Reds later today, maybe tomorrow.
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    The White actually came to 3x 75cl bottles and one 37.5cl bottle.

    Just finished bottling the first batch of Red - it took a long time to filter properly - which, much to my surprise, managed to fill 3x 75cl bottles ( guess leaving the must in when fermenting extracted more juice than I was expecting )
    It's a very very light pink & it looks like the other batch will be the same.
  • WCGWCG Member Posts: 120
    Now bottling the second batch of 'Red'
    How pink is it? .... This pink...

  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    That has certainly turned out quite light, the proof will be in the tasting though...
Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started.