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Black Currant Wine - how much sugar do I add?

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cflips

Junior
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Newbie to this forum.

I make about 3 batches of Vintner's Reserve Cabernet Sav (from kit) every year (been doing so for about 10 years). I've recently started experimenting making wines from scratch. I made a Chokecherry wine last year that is not very good - yet.

Today I started a batch of Black Currant wine. I have 5.2 lbs of berries that were picked ripe and frozen (to maximize the juice). I defrosted the berries and put them in a bag in my primary fermenting bucket, mashed them, then added 1 gallon of boiling water, 2 crushed campden tablets and 1 tsp pectin enzyme.

After 3 days I plan to add another gallon of warm water with sugar dissolved in it, then add yeast and yeast nutrient.

Questions;
  1. How much sugar should I use to yield a dry wine?
  2. When should I remove the bag with the pulp remains (before adding sugar or after initial fermentation)?

Any other tips or suggestions would be appreciated.
 

Tnuscan

Tnuscan=Tennesseean
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Newbie to this forum.

I make about 3 batches of Vintner's Reserve Cabernet Sav (from kit) every year (been doing so for about 10 years). I've recently started experimenting making wines from scratch. I made a Chokecherry wine last year that is not very good - yet.

Today I started a batch of Black Currant wine. I have 5.2 lbs of berries that were picked ripe and frozen (to maximize the juice). I defrosted the berries and put them in a bag in my primary fermenting bucket, mashed them, then added 1 gallon of boiling water, 2 crushed campden tablets and 1 tsp pectin enzyme.

After 3 days I plan to add another gallon of warm water with sugar dissolved in it, then add yeast and yeast nutrient.

Questions;
  1. How much sugar should I use to yield a dry wine?
  2. When should I remove the bag with the pulp remains (before adding sugar or after initial fermentation)?

Any other tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

A wine is dry when the yeast have converted all the sugar to alcohol.

1. 1.5 oz. sugar raises 1 gallon , 1 brix.

2. Either way is fine.

http://www.grapestompers.com/articles/chaptalize_wine.htm
 
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Scooter68

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Personal preference is what matters. I went for a very high ABV shooting for 17%, * My yeast was good for it but the ferment stopped at 1.005. Still had a higher ABV but it's relatively sweet and Black Currant is a strong flavored fruit. I wanted an after dinner dessert wine and that's what I have with plenty of flavor, Not overly tart, and a kick in the backside with about 15.75% by my calculations. The ABV did NOT cover the flavor for Black Currant at all. I used a Vintners' harvest 96 oz can for 3 gallons of wine. Will be repeating this in another month or so. Black Currant is one of my favorites.
1) Peach
2) Black Currant
3) Blackberry
4) Blueberry
5) Black Raspberry

* Correction My records show that I started with an SG of 1.132 (Potentially 18.64% ABV) and it did end at 1.005 so I ended up with 16.67%ABV. BUT the sweetness nicely offsets the 'rocket fuel' numbers. The Yeast was EC1118 which is capable 18% under ideal conditions.
 
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Tnuscan

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Most folks like to have the sg between 1.085 and 1.095, if higher than this, then maybe a tad of (tannin?? (on some wines), backsweeting is needed for balance.
 
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cflips

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Update - The juice SG measured 1.027. I was surprised at how little sugar is in the currants (started with 5.2 pounds of berries plus 2 gallons of water).

Yesterday I added 3.25 pounds of sugar to give me 1.083. Since my target is 1.090 - 1.095, I calculated I needed to add 8 ounces more sugar. Final SG of my juice is 1.096.

Today I will add yeast nutrient and the yeast.

From here, I was planning on
  • Letting the must sit for 5 days.
  • After the 5 days, measure SG (continue to let sit until SG = 1.015)
  • Rack into glass 1 gallon carboys
  • Let sit for a month and recheck SG (goal .998)
  • Rack one more time and let sit for a few months until clear
  • Bottle and let sit for a few months before drinking

Thoughts...?
 

Scooter68

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The sugar content of berries can vary wildely depending on several factors. A wet season will generally lower the content per pound, as will a fruit, berry etc picked before it's fully ripe (Blackberries can be very hard to get exactly right) and of course the variety of the plant. Grape growers have the same problem.

What is interesting is that while with some fruits, a drier season results in smaller sweeter fruits, some research states that this is not true with grapes. I just waded through the following story and it would appear that this is a myth for grapes. (Who wudda thought?)

http://matthews.ucdavis.edu/publications-1/Matthews - Berry Size and Yield Paradigms on Grape.pdf

But I will stick my neck out and say that with fruit growing of ANY kind, there are a gazillion factors that influence the outcome of the crop in the end. Mineral added/lost, Water, Sunshine received and timing. And of course the variety of the plant and it's current health (insect invasion)

That's what makes this hobby more interesting and a challenge. It's never a step 1, 2, 3, and 'Bottle it' routine.
 
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