Basic fruit wine question

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,081
Reaction score
1,868
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
Last year I made a number of fruit wines that I'm very happy with considering I'm a first timer. Raw ingredients were sourced from the yard. As you know most recipes call for 3-4 #'s fruit but this year I'll probably increase by 25-50% depending on Mother Nature. My apple wine was 100% juice that I pressed and it still tasted like apple going into the bottle. Very happy, will do the same, hopefully more than 2 gallons. (Though I'm not looking forward to the work!)

My question - is there a point of diminishing returns where adding more fruit/juice doesn't really benefit the end product? Put another way - would a 1 gallon batch of pure juice be incredible or be happy with 3 gallons using the "standard" recipe?

Thanks!
 

mikewatkins727

Well beyond middle age
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2013
Messages
601
Reaction score
799
Location
Eaton, OH
I am a fruit winemaker from way back. First, to answer your question, you the winemaker are the one who has to make that decision. For years I have made wine using an established recipe, striving for perfection. I have increased the amount of fruit to much dismay. Drinkable but not perfect. My latest fiasco was a blackberry. It is very drinkable but not perfect. Yes, I will do it again but I have 2 ½ gallons to consume first. Peat and repeat!!
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
894
Reaction score
1,568
Location
NE Wisconsin
I wouldn’t jump right from say 25% fruit juice to 100%. Try upping the amount in increments. Recipes work because they have the acidity worked out. if you can monitor and adjust it yourself you are in better shape for modifying the recipes. I’ll be upping the fruit content in my wines this year.

apple is a different animal. There are lots of recipes and centuries of experience behind using100% juice.
 

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,081
Reaction score
1,868
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
Thanks @mikewatkins727 and @ChuckD . One of the reasons I asked is because I'm starting my seeds indoors now and deciding on # of plants.

I'll probably do an incremental 25% increase. Baby steps. We'll see how the harvest goes. Maybe I'll have enough for a small experimental batch at higher concentration.

Thanks again, I really appreciate it! I have absolutely no one/ no where else to ask. The day I found WMT is one of my personal holidays!
 

Rice_Guy

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
2,833
Reaction score
3,665
Location
Food Industry - - Retired
Dave, You are asking about what I would call style. Do you want the richest fruit beverage you can make? or do you want to do something that resembles commercial fruit wine? For me the answer has been I can make lots of product at work, stuff that is only “good enough”, so I decided to make 100% fruit. The first down side is that by having high solids I am putting lots of molecules of acid and acidic salts in the wine. When I do a wine like 100% rhubarb I make a wine with a TA of 1.25% to 1.35%. This results with a balanced wine with 1.015 to 1.017 back sweetening. (See figure attached below) Second problem is if an accountant dictates cost of goods.
My style is to do better than commercial. Part of this is that my 100% rhubarb juice wine has done best of class against other blue ribbon wines and then done best of show against all the best of class winners. I have seen this in other winemakers as another year the best of show was a 100% peach juice wine, wow that was knock your sox off flavor! Likewise I have never seen a second wine made from grape pulp win at contest.
, , , I have pride when I give away a bottle of my style wine, guess that is a sin some don’t suffer from.

Dave if you have to have a dry wine you will probably have to deal with acid. The easiest/ cheapest way to lower TA is to dilute the acid and acidic salts with water. , , , folks have been doing watered down wine from recipes for decades, , , , carried to extreme why bother putting fruit in your wines make sugar wine.
A guideline for where to balance TA on wine;
after club contest this year I collected eight first place wines which are the red triangles
View attachment 81200
The sample set "cloud" is primarily commercial wines, with some collected in the vinters club and here on WineMakingTalk
NOTE: TA is one of several quality traits which a first place wine has as absence of flavor defect, appropriate aroma for the variety and clarity , , , etc.
NOTE 2: this is an easy test, if ya'll are interested in your wine ,,, PM me
 
Last edited:

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,081
Reaction score
1,868
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
Dave, You are asking about what I would call style. Do you want the richest fruit beverage you can make? or do you want to do something that resembles commercial fruit wine? For me the answer has been I can make lots of product at work, stuff that is only “good enough”, so I decided to make 100% fruit. The first down side is that by having high solids I am putting lots of molecules of acid and acidic salts in the wine. When I do a wine like 100% rhubarb I make a wine with a TA of 1.25% to 1.35%. This results with a balanced wine with 1.015 to 1.017 back sweetening. (See figure attached below) Second problem is if an accountant dictates cost of goods.
Wow. So, @Rice_Guy , when does your book come out? Great info as always!

It must be my peasant roots. Given a choice I would probably pick a fruit wine over one made with grapes. I'm sure some would consider that heresy, some would agree, and some - as long as it has alcohol it's all good.

My goal in starting was never to win medals. I wanted to make something good that I enjoyed. Wine making is such a basic process - and Mother Nature does most of the work - that I think making a "good" wine is easy. Now I want to make a "really good" wine. With luck, knowledge, and experience maybe someday I'll make a "Wow" wine. Some of my questions here have been hypothetical, putting pieces together to reach "really good" and hopefully "Wow" eventually. Fortunately I love to experiment and my "I wonder what would happen if -" ideas haven't required hospital visits. (When I was a kid when my mom asked what I was doing, if I foolishly answered "Nothing" she would immediately show up.)

Back to my original question - When does the book come out?
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
4,029
Reaction score
3,368
Location
Northwest Arkansas
I agree with Rice Guy YOUR tastes are what matter most. Having said that the acidity of some fruit will make it more challenging. Blueberry wine is one good example and since I grow blueberries (30 plants +/- ) I have decided that I will use about 6 lbs per gallon (It takes about 8 lbs for a 100% juice wine) and that doesn't give me big issues.
The other thing is the strength of the fruit flavor and the source along with yearly weather changes. In a dry year the fruit weight will be lower but the flavor may well be much stronger so for say a Wild Black Raspberry 4 lbs can yield a VERY solid flavor wine in a dry year. Elderberries are very strong flavor and some folks use as little as 3 lbs for a solid flavor.
And Yes 100% Peach wine will blow away your taste buds and should have an equally strong aroma. I try to use 100% peach except for the water in my Simple Syrup (2:1) That does create one problem and that is that your peach must can end up so thick that getting an accurate SG reading before starting the ferment can be tough. I don't strain or filter out the solids in preparing the must so every thing that comes out of my Omega Slow juicer, goes into the wine. Only the stones and truly bad spots get removed before juicing. That's just my method. Others have their own ways. Aldo I very much limit my blending of flavors to a few selections like Pineapple Mango and when I didn't have enough Wild Black Raspberries I made a Wild Black Raspberry, Domestic Red Raspberry, and Wild Blackberry Triple Wine Fruit wine. That one is awesome as well. Mostly you have to find the way that works best for YOU and take a few tips from others along the way. I'm approaching 7 years of doing this and still learn a lot every year and a lot of that comes from this site.
 

Jovimaple

Kaptin Winemaker
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2021
Messages
541
Reaction score
1,084
Location
Minnesnowta
@Scooter68 Do you think a refractometer used on the peach nectar pre-fermentation might be an option? I have a whole bunch of peaches in my freezer patiently waiting to be turned into wine and I intend to use all juice, no additional water.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
4,817
Reaction score
4,170
Location
Centerville, Northern Virginia
I just bottled my third peach wine. The first was a Vintners Best or Vintners Harvest with a few lbs of peaches and it turned out fine. The second one I got 11 gallons that included 3 gallons of a Chardonnay concentrate as a sweetener and minimal water which also turned out fine. The latest one that I just bottled is 100% peach with the most perfectly ripened peaches. I'll end up with over 130 bottles and so glad I made this much because it is just wonderful. The nose and palate are just bursting with peach. I put on the label "you'll be tasting summer in every sip", can't wait to get this one to a competition.
 

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,081
Reaction score
1,868
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
@Scooter68 I'm jealous of your blueberries! It seems I can grow everything BUT blueberries. I've tried. And I'll try again.
You and @Riceguy have such great information! I mentioned I did 100% apple juice. And I'm thinking I could possibly do 100% pear juice. I'm also thinking that gooseberries and ground cherries might be too acidic at higher concentrations. Blind happy-go-lucky experimentation can sometimes be fun but if more information will reduce failure and increase success, I'll take that route. More homework and better testing equipment is needed. Thanks guys!
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
4,029
Reaction score
3,368
Location
Northwest Arkansas
@Scooter68 Do you think a refractometer used on the peach nectar pre-fermentation might be an option? I have a whole bunch of peaches in my freezer patiently waiting to be turned into wine and I intend to use all juice, no additional water.
As much as I'd like to give an answer - my experience with a refractometer is non-existent perhaps someone else will chime in. The method I use with my peach pudding must (Yeah it; starts out about that thick) may be incorrect but the wine has been turning out well.
So I put the hydrometer in the testing tube and quickly turn the tube between my hands trying to be like a vibrating machine. When it stops going down I measure it. At first it will only go in so far on it's own with the must so thick._
Then I push the hydrometer as far down into the tube as it will go and repeat the "vibrating' action. When it stops rising I take that measurement.
Then I split the difference Lets say first is 1.090 and the second is 1.094 - then I use 1.092 as my starting SG.
Now there will be some saying the solids are what I am measuring not the actual SG. Perhaps but it has been working for me so far.
I lost a small batch once when I tried waiting until the must broke down a bit so hit the must with K-meta when I prep it and make sure I get it started within 48 to 60 hours. I take one last measurement just before I pitch the yeast.
NOW - lets hear from others with better ideas, more experience. I don't want to filter my must to measure because I know that there is lot of sugar captured in the solids that will be released as the ferment progresses. BUT I am open to improving my processes so like OP I'm open to suggestions.

Oh blueberries - yeah we enjoy them. BUT this past year we had no crop due to late freeze then my wife went vegan to fight cancer and has been going thru our stored frozen blueberries a lot. So I hope we have good crop this year or the freezer will be empty of blueberries.

Agree about the other berries. If you can get some answers about those fruit types on her that might help you. Just post a new thread "Acid levels of XX XX and XX fruits. Keep in mind that there may be some published data but a lot depends on the local sources you get your fruit from.

I've had some EXCELLENT wines and some so-so batches but only a few losers along the way. 50 batches to date. (From 1 gallon to 4 gallon batches)
 

Raptor99

Fruit Wine Alchemist
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
496
Reaction score
760
Location
Oregon
I add pectic enzyme before freezing the fruit. Then after thawing and mashing, I leave it in the brew bucket for 24 hours. That gives the pectic enzyme time to break down the fruit and release some of the sugar.

With some especially thick musts, I put a small amount of must through a coffee filter, and then used a few drops of liquid with my refractometer.

No matter what method you use, the fruit will continue to release some sugar over several days. Hopefully 24 hours with the pectic enzyme will be long enough to give me a OG reading that is close enough.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
4,029
Reaction score
3,368
Location
Northwest Arkansas
I add pectic enzyme before freezing the fruit. Then after thawing and mashing, I leave it in the brew bucket for 24 hours. That gives the pectic enzyme time to break down the fruit and release some of the sugar.

With some especially thick musts, I put a small amount of must through a coffee filter, and then used a few drops of liquid with my refractometer.

No matter what method you use, the fruit will continue to release some sugar over several days. Hopefully 24 hours with the pectic enzyme will be long enough to give me a OG reading that is close enough.

And if you orginal SG reading is actually low and you add sugar to get it up to the desired level what's the worst that could happen? A High ABV wine? As long as you are close and your yeast can handle it.... go for it.
 

Raptor99

Fruit Wine Alchemist
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
496
Reaction score
760
Location
Oregon
And if you orginal SG reading is actually low and you add sugar to get it up to the desired level what's the worst that could happen? A High ABV wine? As long as you are close and your yeast can handle it.... go for it.

Exactly. If it is a little bit off, and my wine is 0.5% ABV higher than expected, that is not a problem. If it is way off it could be an issue.
 

BigDaveK

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2022
Messages
1,081
Reaction score
1,868
Location
Hocking Hills, OH
Thanks @Scooter68 and @Raptor99 . Yesterday I noticed one of my (empty) carboys was cracked. I am taking that as a sign that I need to go shopping at Midwest Supplies soon to replace it. 😁 I will look at their refractometers while I am there.
There are no coincidences. The Universe is telling you to get a refractometer.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
4,029
Reaction score
3,368
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Exactly. If it is a little bit off, and my wine is 0.5% ABV higher than expected, that is not a problem. If it is way off it could be an issue.
Depending on what you consider way off... it could be off as much as 3- 5 percent it depends on the sugars trapped in the fruit pulp. A refractometer, as I understand their workings is only able to measure the sugars in the liquid you measure and it does that accurately of course but if there is a lot of sugar in the pulp that releases as the pulp breaks down, they your ABV will be higher. 3-5 % is likely on the high end but still if it goes from an 11% to a 14% that's not horrible. I've seen variations in different brands of the same wine variety and those variations (At Sam's club) went from 10.5 to 13% ABV so you work with the outcome.

Now that you mentioned your need to get a refractometer - I have to get some fresh sorbate and shrink capsules. Time to bottle up some wine. Ok so I'll pick a refractometer as well.
 
Last edited:

Raptor99

Fruit Wine Alchemist
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
496
Reaction score
760
Location
Oregon
I would prefer not to have a 14% ABV wine when I wanted 11%. That would be caused by an OG reading of 1.080 when the actual OG w/ sugar from the fruit is 1.099. That is a pretty big jump.

Neither a refractometer or a hydrometer will can measure the sugar that has not yet been released from the fruit pulp. If you want a more accurate OG reading you could consider cold soaking a fruit for a few days, then pressing it and fermenting only the juice. If you measure your OG on only the juice it would probably be more accurate.
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
13,724
Reaction score
15,559
Location
near Milwaukee
My take is that concerns about the sugar in the fruit are being overstated here. The Brix values of most fruits are low. Therefore, they won't change the SG much as they are released and dissolved. In fact, I think it is more likely that the SG will go DOWN as the fruit breaks up. (You are not only adding to the numerator, you are adding to the denominator. Unless the Brix of the fruit is above the intended Brix of the must, the SG will go down.)
 

Raptor99

Fruit Wine Alchemist
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
496
Reaction score
760
Location
Oregon
My take is that concerns about the sugar in the fruit are being overstated here. The Brix values of most fruits are low. Therefore, they won't change the SG much as they are released and dissolved. In fact, I think it is more likely that the SG will go DOWN as the fruit breaks up. (You are not only adding to the numerator, you are adding to the denominator. Unless the Brix of the fruit is above the intended Brix of the must, the SG will go down.)

I agree with you that it should not be a major concern. I have had the SG go up slightly as the fruit pulp breaks down and releases a little more sugar. At that point, the juice has mostly been released already, so the denominator is not going up. But I doubt that it would affect the ABV by more than 0.5%

In other words, don't worry about it!
 

Latest posts

Top