Concord Grape Wine

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Braden

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Hello everyone! So we picked about 30 pounds worth of fresh Concord grapes last weekend. After reading on the internet about Concord grapes and winemaking... it seems like Concords aren’t a great grape to use. Due to acidity, pulp, and the “Foxy“ scent. Well anyways... I had 30+ pounds of grapes so I said ehh why not! So after the first day of mashing and topping off my 6.5 gal bucket with water. I set it aside for 24 hours and let the Campden tablets do their work. The next day I did smell this really odd scent. I guess this was the “foxy ness” people refer to. I ignored it and Continued to follow my next steps. Going through fermentation it’s changed a whole lot. It smells amazing. So today I’m at 1.020 SG and decided to give the must a little sample. So far it’s not too bad at all. Kinda fruity and fizzy due to the fermentation. So I’m pretty excited to see the end result. Anyone else ever try to make wine from Concord?
 

jgmillr1

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Anyone else ever try to make wine from Concord?
Just about everybody east of the rockies! (I think the foxiness complaints are overrated. It is not Cab Sauv and never will be.)

The acidity and fruitiness tend to relegate Concord to the sweet wine category. This usually means reducing skin contact during fermentation (less tannin), applying pectic enzymes, using a fruity type of yeast such as for whites or fruit wines, and no MLF.

It makes a great base wine for sangria too!
 

VinesnBines

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It will also make a great port style. I pepped up a Concord with some blackberry jam that had too many seeds. I melted the jam, strained the seeds and added the jam to secondary. Once I was happy with the taste, I fortified the wine. I’m pretty happy with the results. Also, consider a second run on the skins. Use either white grape concentrate or replace water with bottled white grape juice. You end up with a nice table wine that doesn’t require long aging. Concord needs time and oak in my opinion.
 

Braden

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just had a really nice sample from the must. It’s just about done with primary fermentation. It’s at .992 SG. It’s extremely sharp on the alcohol. I’m sure with time that will tone down a lot. I’m just worried that there’s not going to be enough fruit flavor. Any ideas as to how to get more fruit flavor in there when in sits in the Carboy after fermentation?
 

David Violante

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Also give it some time to settle down and do it’s thing. @jgmillr1 sangria you say? I’ve always used a Tempranillo. I’m going to have to try this!
 

jgmann67

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Reviving this thread.

Some friends called me a couple weeks ago and said "Hey - we got a bunch of grapes if you want to try to make some wine with them." A week later, I was in their yard, clipping what I believe to be concord grapes (and a white grape too, that I think might be a Niagara). I was being picky with them (no rot, no spot) and only got about 16 lbs of concord, and less than 10 lbs of the white.

I had to adjust the pH to get it around 3.45, and boost the gravity to get to an SG of 1.09. I understand that's typical.

I am fermenting the concord on the skins and pressed the juice from the whites, then fermented. But a week later, and things went flawlessly. They smell great and are down below an SG of 1.000.

Any advice to make these wines as drinkable as possible would be much appreciated.
 

winemaker81

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@jgmann67, Niagara is often an early drinker. Backsweeten at least a bit and you could be drinking early next year.

Concord is a more versatile grape than its reputation indicates -- it's possible to make a decent dry wine with, although it will never be mistaken for Cabernet Sauvignon. Don't use oak, during or after fermentation, and press a bit early, around 1.010. You may want to slightly backsweeten as well.
 

jgmann67

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@jgmann67, Niagara is often an early drinker. Backsweeten at least a bit and you could be drinking early next year.

Concord is a more versatile grape than its reputation indicates -- it's possible to make a decent dry wine with, although it will never be mistaken for Cabernet Sauvignon. Don't use oak, during or after fermentation, and press a bit early, around 1.010. You may want to slightly backsweeten as well.
well - we’re at 1.000 right now. So, I think I’ll press tonight.
 

D&S

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just had a really nice sample from the must. It’s just about done with primary fermentation. It’s at .992 SG. It’s extremely sharp on the alcohol. I’m sure with time that will tone down a lot. I’m just worried that there’s not going to be enough fruit flavor. Any ideas as to how to get more fruit flavor in there when in sits in the Carboy after fermentation?
I use concord all the time, I have 10 gallons going now and 60 more pounds to be picked on my vines. I'm no wine expert but those who taste my wine say it's very good. I add about 5 oz. of Welchs grape juice per gallon and a little sugar to sweeten before bottling. I also experiment with flavorings, Black currant concentrate at 1 oz. per gallon is also good.
 

DizzyIzzy

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R
Hello everyone! So we picked about 30 pounds worth of fresh Concord grapes last weekend. After reading on the internet about Concord grapes and winemaking... it seems like Concords aren’t a great grape to use. Due to acidity, pulp, and the “Foxy“ scent. Well anyways... I had 30+ pounds of grapes so I said ehh why not! So after the first day of mashing and topping off my 6.5 gal bucket with water. I set it aside for 24 hours and let the Campden tablets do their work. The next day I did smell this really odd scent. I guess this was the “foxy ness” people refer to. I ignored it and Continued to follow my next steps. Going through fermentation it’s changed a whole lot. It smells amazing. So today I’m at 1.020 SG and decided to give the must a little sample. So far it’s not too bad at all. Kinda fruity and fizzy due to the fermentation. So I’m pretty excited to see the end result. Anyone else ever try to make wine from Concord?
[/QUO
Refer to my earlier post today on my venture into the world of Concord grape wine making. BTW..............I smell no "Foxy", just pure concord grape juice smell. Let us know how your Concord turns out................................DizzyIzzy
 

Sailor323

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I have used Concords several times, fermented out dry. Decent enough wine but not very complex. I recently tasted a 2001 Concord which was surprisingly good. At crushing it was at Brix 15 and TA 75%. I left on skins 2 weeks and chaptalized at a rate of 10 oz/gal. Oddly, my notes don't mention whether or not I used any oak. I probably did since I often oaked my reds; probably at a minimum amount at least. I think the "foxy" that people refer to is the cloying smell of Concord grapes not some off odor
 

D&S

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Just about everybody east of the rockies! (I think the foxiness complaints are overrated. It is not Cab Sauv and never will be.)

The acidity and fruitiness tend to relegate Concord to the sweet wine category. This usually means reducing skin contact during fermentation (less tannin), applying pectic enzymes, using a fruity type of yeast such as for whites or fruit wines, and no MLF.

It makes a great base wine for sangria too!
No MLF? Are you saying that there is no MLF with Concord grapes. I don't have all the testing equipment so I don't know what is happening. I usually don't bulk age, but bottle after a month or so after sweetening a little.
 

Kim_Macph

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Reviving this thread.

Some friends called me a couple weeks ago and said "Hey - we got a bunch of grapes if you want to try to make some wine with them." A week later, I was in their yard, clipping what I believe to be concord grapes (and a white grape too, that I think might be a Niagara). I was being picky with them (no rot, no spot) and only got about 16 lbs of concord, and less than 10 lbs of the white.

I had to adjust the pH to get it around 3.45, and boost the gravity to get to an SG of 1.09. I understand that's typical.

I am fermenting the concord on the skins and pressed the juice from the whites, then fermented. But a week later, and things went flawlessly. They smell great and are down below an SG of 1.000.

Any advice to make these wines as drinkable as possible would be much appreciated.
Following your journey!

I just pressed 85lb of a 'mystery' grape. I was told by the previous owner that he has no idea what they are but that he brought them over from Belgium 10 years ago and that they make good bathtub wine hahaha. To me, they look like a variety of table grape but who knows. It's initial Brix levels were quite low (around 18) so we added a bunch of sugar to bring Brix up to 22. I just finished the primary fermentation and pressed them a few days ago. It is taking awhile to settle, I haven't racked it again yet. Waiting for it to settle further
 

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Venatorscribe

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I have used Concords several times, fermented out dry. Decent enough wine but not very complex. I recently tasted a 2001 Concord which was surprisingly good. At crushing it was at Brix 15 and TA 75%. I left on skins 2 weeks and chaptalized at a rate of 10 oz/gal. Oddly, my notes don't mention whether or not I used any oak. I probably did since I often oaked my reds; probably at a minimum amount at least. I think the "foxy" that people refer to is the cloying smell of Concord grapes not some off odor
yes that foxy aspect of Concord grapes can be off-putting. But it seems to dissipate with time (7 to 10 years) and if you added a reasonable amount of oak in primary it will complex and build more character, suppressing over time that dominanot concord flavour. Just be prepared to quaff a couple of glasses to help your palate and gas chromatograph to adapt Then everything’s ok after that. I recall back in the 70's this and muscats were about the only red wines that were readily available on my limited student allowance.
 

cenk57

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The ole Concord. Easy to grow, disease resistant and versatile - the jack of all trades of the grape world. I never let mine go past 18 brix and aim for 16 for wine. I will adjust acid if needed, and it almost always needs adjusting. Any higher brix and you get that "foxiness". Ill add sugar, chaptalize to 12.0-13% potential ABV. Limit skin contact and let it go. It is much better sweetened - at least 2% residual sugar, 5 is even better (depending on how sweet you like your wine). Concord is also great for blending with fruit. Apple-Concord is an excellent combo, in my opinion. Cheers!
 

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