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Sep 14, 2016
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This weekend I helped my neighbor process his 700+ vines. At the end of the day he had three 4 gallon buckets of juice he could not fit on his truck that was going to a local winery for sale. I ended up with 8 gallons of frontenac gris. I've never made wine (successfully) from raw grapes so here is my question.

I put the juice in frig on the day it was created. On day three I added campden tablets (1 per gallon), I did not crush them. I waited a day before adding yeast. The juice with the campden was very active the next day. Lots of noise and bubbling. I expected to have the sulfites kill all native yeasts and not see this activity.


1. When using raw unprocessed juice, is one tablet per gallon of campden correct?
2. Is it normally to see bubbling the next day after adding the campden before adding the wine yeast?
3. When adding sugar, I did not see significant changes on hydrometer readings. I dissolved corn sugar in water then added, stirred into must, then remeasured... no significant change. Is this the correct process?
1) Yes correct dosage but procedure you followed didn't insure that they were able to do the job correctly. Especially since you chilled the juice. You might need to do a 1/2 dose or another full dose if you have that sort of activity in a chilled juice with any Sulfites and SO2 present.

2) Not normal to see such activity with a dosed juice but...wild yeasts are hardy and could well have survived the cold.
3) As for sugar - tough to tell what you should have for a SG without knowing how much sugar you added in terms of pounds or cups. Unless you warmed or boiled the water your concentration of the simple syrup you created is probably not that high probably not much more than 1-1 vs the most common use of 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Now to redo this you could use some juice warmed (Not boiled) do dissolve more sugar.

A) If you can provide your current SG readings that would help.
B) Also you should be taking either a TA reading or a pH reading to make sure the environment is right for a good fermentation with wine yeast.
C) What yeast are you looking to use?
D) One of the Administrators on here has some excellent guidance on here if you will search for "Frontenac Grape Recipe"
E) What other wine making items do you have right now? Unless this isn't your first wine making adventure you should plan a trip to your local brew/wine supply store to do it right - after all you worked for those grapes and I'm sure you want some nice white wine to enjoy for your labors.
My SG was sitting at 1.083. I added 2 cups of sugar that was dissolved in water. I did not warm the water.

I do not have a pH meter. If important I could ask local HS for help.

I"m using 71B-1122 for yeast.

I am a full grain masher so I have carboy and bubble fermentor along with cleaning supplies and such. I'm on my second year with 20 Lecressant, 20 St Pepin, 20 Prairie Star. My hope is to learn enough to be ready next year for my own grapes. :)

Thanks for the recipe tip... I will take a look.
Would it hurt anything to crush some up and add after I added my yeast? I read somewhere that wine yeast can survive the sodium metabisulfite?
Don't add Campden / Potassium Metabisulfate after you pitch the yeast in there.
Either add it at least 1 day before adding your yeast or after fermentation is complete. Since your juice was chilled it's unlikely to spoil if you chose to retreat it now, before adding yeast. IF you do that give it at least 36 hours since you already added those Campden tablet before.
As to a pH meter, would be a good investment and you can pick one up for under $25.00 on the internet. You can spend more but many folks find that these entry level ones do what we need reliably enough. If start making 20 plus gallons at a time then you might chose to spend a bit more. Certainly don't have to spend $150.00 to get a first rate one.

Thanks much for taking the time to share wisdom.

I saw those PH meters on line and was wondering about them...you already answered a question for me before I asked.

This site is golden! I hope to be adding some wisdom myself.... later when I get some!

Quote: "This site is golden! I hope to be adding some wisdom myself.... later when I get some!

Don't worry, we all have questions from time to time and we all make mistakes along the way, some not too serious, some - well...
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