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AMEugene

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Hello,
I received some red grapes from a friend. I have no idea what kind they are but they did taste like what I think a wine grape would taste like. For sure it was not a table grape. The vines were not kept care of like a typical wine producing vine would.
Anyway I thought I would give it a try. I crushed them and while I was waiting for the campden tablets to do their thing I took a sample of the must and got an acid test done. It was a little low so added some tartaic acid. The hydrometer reading was pretty low, 18 brix, and after some research I added sugar.
Well I think the grapes were not ripe yet, hence the low brix, and therefore the juice I tasted last night, from a hydrometer sample, fermentation almost done, was super tart. I have two ounces of oak chips in the must now.
Can anybody please tell me how, or if, I can get the wine from the point of puckering to what a nice dark red wine should taste like?
 

Mismost

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TIME may do it for you...I've bottled stuff that was nasty, a year later it was a totally different tasting wine...don't quit now!

I'm sure others will chime in on "back sweetening" so post more details on batch size and actual hydrometer readings for their use.
 

AMEugene

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Oh I am not going to give up. It is going to get pressed this weekend, put in a 5 gallon carboy and will do a MLF for some time. I have no test equipment so will let it sit in MLF for a couple of months and then rack off the gross lees and let it sit for three more months. I will be adding oak cubes during that time and will test it after a month and once a week after to make sure to get the right amount of oak that I want. I think some back sweetening may be in store but that will be months down the road. Right now I have 6 gallons of must. Expect to get around 5 gallons of wine after I press. The hydrometer this morning I was at 1.004 so it is very close to being done. I will test again on Friday and if it is still there then I am done and off to MLF. Wow this is almost as fun as brewing beer. :)
 

Johnd

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I have no test equipment so will let it sit in MLF for a couple of months and then rack off the gross lees and let it sit for three more months.
A couple of months on the gross lees might give you a nasty surprise. After you press and go into carboy(s), as fermentation is grinding to a halt, let the gross lees settle out for a couple of days, rack off of them, then pitch your MLB.
 

AMEugene

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Thank you John. I was unclear at what point the MLB should be started.
speaking of MLB I will be OK not knowing when the MLB is done if I am just going to keep it bulk aging for 6 months anyway right?
 

Johnd

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Thank you John. I was unclear at what point the MLB should be started.
speaking of MLB I will be OK not knowing when the MLB is done if I am just going to keep it bulk aging for 6 months anyway right?
Not really, because you don't want to add sulfite to your wine before MLF, too high of a concentration will retard the action of your MLB. You'll have to check and see what the tolerance is for the MLB you chose. For instance, VP41 has a tolerance of 50 ppm, but even so, I don't add any sulfite until MLF is complete. Not knowing when it's done means leaving the wine unprotected for longer than you might need to, don't think you want to leave your wine in a carboy for 6 months with no, or very little KMS.........
 

AMEugene

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hmmm. Well without the test kit, which is not in the budget, then I guess I will just go with two months MLF and then just add sulfite and what ever happens happens.
 

heatherd

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hmmm. Well without the test kit, which is not in the budget, then I guess I will just go with two months MLF and then just add sulfite and what ever happens happens.
@AMEugene You can taste your wine during the process of MLF and should be able to notice when the wine changes from tart to soft.
 

Boatboy24

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It sounds as if your grapes were picked early, so I'm confused by the fact that you had to add acid. Typically, acidity will be high if the grapes are harvested prematurely. What is your pH? Just keep in mind that malolactic bacteria are very sensitive to pH and many will not do their job if it is below 3.2.
 

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