Adding grapes to concentrate.

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Fang

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Some background: I live in Japan, winemaking here is not at all common, and materials are hard to source.


I am about to start my first attempt at making wine from concentrate. Alexander's is the only brand that I have been able to find here. I have 1 can of Merlot, and 2 of Cab, and am busily acquiring all the other necessaries for a 5 gallon batch.


From reading the forum it seems that adding grapes to a concentrate is a good way to improve mouth feel. Japan has a wine grape called Muscat Bailey A, it blends well with traditional reds, and it is just coming into season.

Not sure if this is important, but some average/approximate figures for Muscat Bailey at the time I will be buying.

Large berries 20mmish
Ph of 3.3
Brix 18%
The titratable acidity below 1.0g/100ml
Tartaric-malic acid ratios and the glucose-fructose ratios 0.8 and 0.9

So onto my questions:

How much fruit is a reasonable amount to add to a 5 gallon batch to make a noticeable difference to mouth feel? The fruit is expensive as I don't yet have a commercial source, perhaps next year.

Are there any up/downsides to be aware of when adding grapes to concentrate?

Should I simply crush, and add the grapes to the must or is there another method?
 

salcoco

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the addition of grapes to the concentrate is to increase the tannin content of the must.
I am not sure of the tannin content of the grape you propose, so determining a dosage may be difficult. one to two lbs might be adequate. I would crush and then add. the tannin comes from the skins.

In future best approach is using powdered tannin or powdered oak. another source of tannin is dried elderberries or even fresh elderberries. I have sued 4 oz of dried with success.
 

Fang

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Thanks for the reply.
I have some wine tannin, and some oak powder on order, are you saying that they are a better approach than using grapes?

As far as I can tell Bailey A has low to moderate tannin content.
 

salcoco

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either the wine tannin or oak would be better. more control in the addition. follow recommended instructions for dosage.
 

Scooter68

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either the wine tannin or oak would be better. more control in the addition. follow recommended instructions for dosage.
Agree completely - Having control of things helps you know just how much went into that batch. Eliminating variables helps you know how to repeat a success and avoid repeating mistakes.
 

kevinlfifer

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You should be able to make wine from the grapes alone. I don't see how adding grapes can over tannin a concentrate. The concentrate wine is simply diluting the grape wine. I would add enough grapes to take the finished volume to 6 gallons. So around 15 lbs. (one lug @33 lbs = 2 gallons wine)

I add grape skins to buckets or kits. That is, cake from a recent pressing. You can definitely over do it with tannin using skins only.
 

Scooter68

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Question isn't about a over tannin issue it but rather knowing how much you actually added. Since Grapes can very from year to year and if you can't get the same variety the next time... Using a prepared Tannin source you can duplicate the amount each time.

For those of us relatively new to wine making, (And I still consider myself relatively new to it) it's nice to have some constant things that you can be certain about. Using a natural fruit for the base is a variable alone that can result in very different results depending on how you prepare the fruit, how much you use and the condition of the fruit. I think that the fewer variable you have in the process the more consistent you can be with what have at the end. There are so many things that can be varied from yeast type, temp for fermentation, timing of when add the different things to our wine and even how we rack it. It's a long list and the more we can get a solid handle on what we are doing, the better we can understand how or why something turned out differently each time whether better or worse than the last time.
 
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Fang

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You should be able to make wine from the grapes alone. I don't see how adding grapes can over tannin a concentrate. The concentrate wine is simply diluting the grape wine. I would add enough grapes to take the finished volume to 6 gallons. So around 15 lbs. (one lug @33 lbs = 2 gallons wine)

I add grape skins to buckets or kits. That is, cake from a recent pressing. You can definitely over do it with tannin using skins only.
Thanks for the reply.

"You should be able to make wine from the grapes alone."

The grapes are too expensive. The idea is not to add concentrate to grapes, but to add grapes to concentrate. I am going to make a 5 gallon batch with 3 cans of Alexander's. I am asking if adding some grapes will make a difference to the body/mouthfeel. I don't have access to grape packs/skins.


"I would add enough grapes to take the finished volume to 6 gallons. So around 15 lbs. (one lug @33 lbs = 2 gallons wine)"

I currently don't have a bulk supplier, but I think 15 lbs is doable.
 

Fang

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Question isn't about a over tannin issue it but rather knowing how much you actually added. Since Grapes can very from year to year and if you can't get the same variety the next time... Using a prepared Tannin source you can duplicate the amount each time.

For those of us relatively new to wine making, (And I still consider myself relatively new to it) it's nice to have some constant things that you can be certain about. Using a natural fruit for the base is a variable alone that can result in very different results depending on how you prepare the fruit, how much you use and the condition of the fruit. I think that the fewer variable you have in the process the more consistent you can be with what have at the end. There are so many things that can be varied from yeast type, temp for fermentation, timing of when add the different things to our wine and even how we rack it. It's a long list and the more we can get a solid handle on what we are doing, the better we can understand how or why something turned out differently each time whether better or worse than the last time.
Thanks Scooter, yes from reading through the forum for a while (been lurking) I think most would agree that this is all good advice.

I'm sure if I carefully followed a standard recipe, and paid attention to all the variables that it would most likely turn out fine. But to be honest that doesn't appeal to me.

So with the caveat that fresh fruit is not as easily predictable as a concentrate I was just wondering if there is any point to adding fresh fruit to a concentrate or is it a waste of time? What are some "likely" outcomes. What should I look out for, etc.

Thanks again.
 

Johnd

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Thanks for the reply.

"You should be able to make wine from the grapes alone."

The grapes are too expensive. The idea is not to add concentrate to grapes, but to add grapes to concentrate. I am going to make a 5 gallon batch with 3 cans of Alexander's. I am asking if adding some grapes will make a difference to the body/mouthfeel. I don't have access to grape packs/skins.


"I would add enough grapes to take the finished volume to 6 gallons. So around 15 lbs. (one lug @33 lbs = 2 gallons wine)"

I currently don't have a bulk supplier, but I think 15 lbs is doable.
The answer is "YES", adding grapes to your concentrate will increase the mouthfeel and body, assuming they are decent grapes. Can't say how profound the effect will be, 5 gallons of wine would normally take nearly 100# of grapes to produce. The more you add, the closer you will get to real grape wine. As for the tannin issue you've been discussing, I doubt you'll get enough tannin out of such a small quantity of grapes, depending upon your taste of course. Easy fix, lots of products out there to help you boost tannins.
 

Scooter68

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Quote "So with the caveat that fresh fruit is not as easily predictable as a concentrate I was just wondering if there is any point to adding fresh fruit to a concentrate or is it a waste of time? What are some "likely" outcomes. What should I look out for, etc."

Adding a small amount of fresh fruit to a 5 gallon batch isn't going to change much unless there was a drastic color difference between the concentrate and the fresh fruit. Flavorwise - IF there is a change it's going to be tough to detect. As long as the fresh fruit is added at the beginning before you add any K-meta or campden tabs, there is not really any risk. Adding latter on is not a lot of risk unless that fresh fruit had some nasty bacteria on it. BUT again the alcohol and sO2 are likely to render any bacteria harmless. Usually it's the other way around, people add some concentrate to a fresh fruit must to increase volume without adding water. That's a reasonable way of also lowering the SG/Brix if it's too high in the full-fruit must because it keeps the flavor of that fruit and lowers the SG/Brix.
 

wineforfun

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I guess I see what Fang is proposing to do very similar to adding skins when doing a wine kit.

However, I don't know from reading through the thread how many pounds or how much of the grape he is proposing to use; or is he squeezing the juice out of the grapes into the must or down the drain and then use the skins in the primary................and so on.

I do agree there is more control when adding packaged tannin, oak, etc. but I would certainly give his idea a go and see what turns out, providing it is cost effective.
 

Scooter68

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Certainly - My thought is as a relatively new person to this hobby (13+ Months and about 12 batches) keeping track of what I did that worked or didn't work is a lot easier if I can accurately quantify what I did and when I did it. If it fails or doesn't have the desired affect then I can more easily know what I did. If it works well, repeat it, and maybe then add something new to the mix. Otherwise I'm going to have tough time knowing what made it better or worse than expected.
 

Fang

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I guess I see what Fang is proposing to do very similar to adding skins when doing a wine kit.

However, I don't know from reading through the thread how many pounds or how much of the grape he is proposing to use; or is he squeezing the juice out of the grapes into the must or down the drain and then use the skins in the primary................and so on.

I do agree there is more control when adding packaged tannin, oak, etc. but I would certainly give his idea a go and see what turns out, providing it is cost effective.
Yep, this is the idea, grapes instead of adding skins as I don't have access to a grape pack.

I was thinking of using the juice as well, substituting that for some of the water required by the concentrate, then taking SG and adjusting the required sugar addition.


About 15lbs.
Cost effective? Nothing is cost effective in Japan. :m
 

wineforfun

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Certainly - My thought is as a relatively new person to this hobby (13+ Months and about 12 batches) keeping track of what I did that worked or didn't work is a lot easier if I can accurately quantify what I did and when I did it. If it fails or doesn't have the desired affect then I can more easily know what I did. If it works well, repeat it, and maybe then add something new to the mix. Otherwise I'm going to have tough time knowing what made it better or worse than expected.
I fully agree with all written. I keep detailed notes of every batch I have ever done so I can do exactly as you mention. Redo if a success, change if not.

And to add, I have been at this for 4 yrs. and still consider myself new.
 

Scooter68

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Quote: And to add, I have been at this for 4 yrs. and still consider myself new.

Amazing how many different ways there are for things to go wrong, or differently than expected. I have a peach wine that I added 20 dark red sweet cherries to (4 gallon batch) I hoped for a slightly pinkish coloration I have a more golden color with a little bit of pink in there - but it is clearing nicely with absolutely no clearing agents added yet. Hope that all I'll need to do is filter it to make it sparkling clear in a couple more months.
 
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