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Any quick steps on making wine from grapes?

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geek

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I've been making wine from juice buckets and kits.
I am considering as a test to buy 2 cases of a good dark grape, like cabernet or sangiovese...not sure.

I do not have any equipment for this and cannot buy any for some time due to budget.
So the plan could be 2 lugs (or maybe just 1 to start) and then crush by hand with the kids and de-stem.
Hopefully that would yield 5gals of juice.

Then, what's next? Any quick step-by-steps out there?

..
 

Rocky

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Geek, with two 36 lb. lugs, you should net out 5 gallons of wine or very close to it. Since you are doing this manually, I would recommend the following procedure.

Using rubber gloves to protect your hands, strip the grapes from the stems. Toss any grapes with mold on them. We used to strip them into large pots before dumping into the crusher. If you have a large stock pot, strip them in to it and crush them with a potato masher. Once mashed, dump them into your fermenter. When you are done crushing all of the grapes, take some of the juice and dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of k-meta in it and mix it well into the must. This will kill off the wild yeast. (If you have a refrigerator large enough to hold the fermenter put the fermenter into the refrigerator for about a week of maceration. Take the fermenter out of the refrigerator and let the must come to about 70 degrees F before pitching your yeast.) If you don't macerate, let the must stand with the k-meta/grape juice mixture mixed in for a day or so and then pitch your yeast.

Once fermentation starts, the grape skins will form a "cap" on the fermenter (being pushed up by the escaping CO2) and you have to break this up (punch down) a couple times a day. Check the wine with a hydrometer and transfer it to a carboy when SG is at or below 1.020. You will need to press the skins and I am not sure what you plan for this. Something like a sturdy colander as the base with a bowl to push down might work for your quantity. I am sure you can figure this out or just wring them out in a cheese cloth or straining bag by hand. Add all of this juice to the carboy and from there on, it is pretty much like making wine from buckets or kits.

Let us know how it works out. Good luck.
 

Bartman

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To press a small volume of grapes without the 'right' equipment:
I used cheap 5-gal food-grade buckets from Lowe's to carry my 70# of grapes home a month or so ago. I had an extra bucket so I drilled 30 or so holes in the bottom of the extra bucket and loaded the skins in it after fermenting for about 10 days. Put that 'holey' bucket in another of the same size (they stack together for storage so this was a nice, snug fit) - without holes of course - as the 'receiving' bucket. I took my third same size bucket, after cleaning and sanitizing the bottom very well, and put it on top of the grapes in the 'holey' bucket. Then I pressed down with increasing pressure on the top bucket, which caused the juice to squeeze out of the skins, through the holes I drilled without letting too much pulp or seeds through in to the 'receiving' bucket on the bottom.
It's a lot easier to describe than to put into action, and it took me about 2 hours start to finish, including transferring, sanitizing, pressing, "re-pressing," resting a bit, and then pressing some more.
I was pretty happy with the light weight of the skins afterwards - I feel like I got most all of the juice out of those bad boys! And I spread the seeds and skins around my rose bushes as an attractive mulch.
 

geek

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Thanks guys.
I see people check Ph and TA before pitching yeast?
Lastly, what does maceration do when you put the crushed grapes in the fridge for a week before pitching yeast? There must be a good reason.
 
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geek, you are more then familiar with dragon blood..
if you want a fast track wine, use your fruit in place of the dragon blood fruit recipe..and double the fruit....it will be fast track..for sure.
 

Rocky

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Cold maceration is a debatable subject but personally I feel it helps with the extraction of flavor and color from the grape skins and adds to body. As this is your first foray into using grapes, you are probably better advised to avoid it. You should be able to get pH and TA numbers from your supplier. If not, these are good numbers to have and adjust as necessary.
 

sjo

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To press a small volume of grapes without the 'right' equipment:
I used cheap 5-gal food-grade buckets from Lowe's to carry my 70# of grapes home a month or so ago. I had an extra bucket so I drilled 30 or so holes in the bottom of the extra bucket and loaded the skins in it after fermenting for about 10 days. Put that 'holey' bucket in another of the same size (they stack together for storage so this was a nice, snug fit) - without holes of course - as the 'receiving' bucket. I took my third same size bucket, after cleaning and sanitizing the bottom very well, and put it on top of the grapes in the 'holey' bucket. Then I pressed down with increasing pressure on the top bucket, which caused the juice to squeeze out of the skins, through the holes I drilled without letting too much pulp or seeds through in to the 'receiving' bucket on the bottom.
It's a lot easier to describe than to put into action, and it took me about 2 hours start to finish, including transferring, sanitizing, pressing, "re-pressing," resting a bit, and then pressing some more.
I was pretty happy with the light weight of the skins afterwards - I feel like I got most all of the juice out of those bad boys! And I spread the seeds and skins around my rose bushes as an attractive mulch.

I did this this early on with 1 addition. I used a ratchet strap to squeeze the buckets together with a 2 by 4 on the top bucket to keep the top pail from collapsing in on itself.
 

geek

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One more question, since 2 lugs may yield about close to 5 gallons...after transferring from primary you will end up with maybe 4 something gallons.
Since I'd put it through MLF....what would you do with the empty space of the 5gal carboy?
 

Bartman

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Ah, that can be a problem, but not one without several possible solutions. Either split your 4 gallons of juice into 3 gal and 1 gal vessels, or if it's a little more than 4 gal, but not very close to 5 gal, you could use glass marbles to displace the excess headspace. If you rack again a month or two later and lose some more volume, you can add some more marbles then as well.
 

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if u dont have marbles i read a trick in the winemakers handbook from allison crowe: add oil. any oil would work but she suggests a food grade mineral oil since its orderless. the idea is the oil will float to the top and create a blanket of protection over the wine preventing oxidation.
 

Rocky

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Sholomy, that will work but it does have some drawbacks. My experience is (and my Grandfather and Father-in-Law did it with olive oil) and we could never get the oil entirely out of the wine. I should point out that this was more in the bottling phase. Everything was bottled in 1 gallon jugs and olive oil was added at the top to protect the wine from air (along with a cork, wax and tape!) There would always be very small globules of oil in the wine glass. Of course, just about everything that we ate had olive oil and garlic on it (with the possible exception of our Cherrios) so it was not a big issue compared to having the wine spoil from exposure to air.
 

berrycrush

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two lugs should yield a little more than 5 gallons of wine after pressing. ( mine is one bottle more ). To save time, I stumped the grapes with stems, then pick the stems out. I toss the tight berries hanging on to the stem after stumping, so it could yield a little more if they were kept.
 

sholomy

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rocky even if u use a racking cane to get under the oil?
 

Rocky

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We never tried that and it may work to syphon the wine from under the oil. Eventually you will get to the oil and wine but I would use that in my pasta sauce!
 

sholomy

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i think if you siphoned from under the oil youd be fine
 

sholomy

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rocky your right the oil is a terrible idea i tried it on 2, 1 gallon carboys. when i tried to siphon the siphon got oily and the oil came up as well. ill never try this again. the wine in these carboys are in quarantine; i wont throw it out but i wont be sharing or mixing this wine. now i have an oily siphon and 2 oily 1 gallon carboys. dont try the oil trick!!!

p.s any tips for cleaning the siphon cane and carboys?
 
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