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Bell Bottom Blues

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jswordy

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Well, I intended to start this when I first got the must going but got delayed, and then Photobucket got hacked, but anyway here's the whole thing all at once.

For those who don't know / haven't searched, Bell Bottom Blues is a blueberry and grape wine made from 3 pounds blueberries per gallon and 5 or 6 gallons of second pressing grapes (or Welch's Concord in a pinch). The biggest waste home winemakers commit is throwing out grapes after the first pressing. Don't do that, when they can provide the background structure for a wine like this, and especially if you bag yours like I do. It is so easy to keep them. I even saved the muscadines I used here for a THIRD pressing of another fruit wine later. Froze them. If you look at the wine supply places, they all want to sell you the same thing. See "grape skins."

Anyway, the pix...

The must...



Pressing today...



Racking my muscadine. The Bell Bottom Blues is to the right in the 6 gallon carboy and the 3 jugs. I amazingly got an 8.5 gallon yield, more than projected. Unusual, as I usually am short of projections on yield.



The muscadine looked so pretty coming through the hose, I could not resist a pic.



So save those grapes for at least one more go-round. Just put them in Ziplock bags and throw them in the freezer. I even freeze my emptied paint strainer bags, to get a second use out of them. Works great.
 

bkisel

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I've saved grape skins from high end kits to use a second time on a lower end kit and am convinced it makes for a better low end wine.
 

jswordy

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I've saved grape skins from high end kits to use a second time on a lower end kit and am convinced it makes for a better low end wine.
It does! I have used muscadines with white wine kits (it's on here somewhere, called "mixed marriage") and blew people away when they tried it. And a fruit wine like blueberry benefits from the second-pressing grape background. I have even made second-pressing "false wine" by itself just to keep around to blend with fruit juice concentrates or other wines. My second-pressing wine is about 15% ABV, so I add sorbate and blend back to 10% by adding the juice concentrate, then adjust acid and sweetness on the back end just before bottling. It is a shame to waste grapes on just one pressing when they are so versatile as a background the second - and even third - time around.
 

AkTom

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Not that I have access to grapes... there are some things that stink about living in Alaska. Shipping costs are horrible. Anyway, out of curiosity, don't you ferment with the skins? Unlike other fruit, do grapes skins last through 2 or 3 ferments?
Curiosity killed the cat. And makes me wish I could reasonably get grapes.
 

ceeaton

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Jim, just by the name of the thread, you made me get out Eric Clapton, 24 Nights version of Bell bottom blues. Incredible instrumentals, was recorded in Albert Hall in London (circa 1990-91). Makes me want to drink some wine (bottling the blueberry batch tomorrow, I hope).

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry
I don't want to lose this feeling
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I'd gladly do it because
I don't want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don't want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

It's all wrong, but it's all right
The way that you treat me baby
Once I was strong but I lost the fight
You won't find a better loser

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I'd gladly do it because
I don't want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don't want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay


Eric Clapton & Bobby Whitlock ~ 1970.
 

Mismost

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Craig...I went from Clapton to ZZ Top...bell bottoms to blue jeans!

I actually saved my skins from the Bravado kit and ran them in on another batch of jam and jelly wine...we'll see!
 

jswordy

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Not that I have access to grapes... there are some things that stink about living in Alaska. Shipping costs are horrible. Anyway, out of curiosity, don't you ferment with the skins? Unlike other fruit, do grapes skins last through 2 or 3 ferments?
Curiosity killed the cat. And makes me wish I could reasonably get grapes.
Yes, grapes and/or skins will last 2 ferments. Strongly structured or strongly flavored grapes can go three. Yes, the whole grape is used in fermentation. It is crushed and then fermented. The second ferment will result in what is sometimes called a "false wine," and it will be of lighter color and less taste that the first. Immigrant families always fermented grapes twice where I come from, because grapes are not cheap and they were not rich.

A glass of pure, second pressing muscadine, right out of the fermenter...



I combine first ferment blueberries with the second or third ferment grapes to make Bell Bottom Blues.



The grapes add "vinosity," structure and background to complimentary fruits. Berries are my favorite.

On third ferment, it is sometimes good to hit the grapes with a food processor for just a short time, to nick up the skins just a little bit and expose more to the solution.

Another neat trick that I know others here use is to sulfite the must and let the second-pressing grapes just sit there for a week or 10 days, even. Some go as long as 2 weeks. If they are bagged, squeeze the bag once a day. It makes for a stronger must to pitch into.

I really do believe in waste not, want not.
 

AkTom

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Thanks. I'm trying to learn. I have berries and rose hips around here. Next year I'll be doing lots more picking now that you all are schooling me up.
 

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