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Grape pack may cause high alc %?

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Sunsanvil

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I was talking to a local U-Vin about them making a Chianti kit for me, one which comes with a grape pack, and they pointed out that they squeeze the grape sack at the end of primary (because otherwise, they found, you loose a bottle+ worth of wine not to mention all the nice tannins), but that that then results in more than usual sugar going into the secondary phase and thus alc as high as 18% (which sounds a little scary).

Does that jell with anyone else's experience? If so, what could I ask them to do a little different to keep the % within reason?

Thx
 

salcoco

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I question there alcohol observation. do they have measurements to back up there contention. the grape pack is supposed to have grape skin. there purpose is to add tannin to the juice. normally there is not any sugar content to the grape pack. only juice absorbed by the skin pack during fermentation would have any sugar content. this should have been accounted for in the end. If you wish to stay on side of caution ask that they do not squeeze the pack.
 

Johnd

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I was talking to a local U-Vin about them making a Chianti kit for me, one which comes with a grape pack, and they pointed out that they squeeze the grape sack at the end of primary (because otherwise, they found, you loose a bottle+ worth of wine not to mention all the nice tannins), but that that then results in more than usual sugar going into the secondary phase and thus alc as high as 18% (which sounds a little scary).

Does that jell with anyone else's experience? If so, what could I ask them to do a little different to keep the % within reason?

Thx
Not sure which kit you are talking about using, but all of the kits with grape packs that I have used, are manufactured with the addition of the grape pack factored in. Thus, adding the grape pack brings the SG up to a level that is appropriate for the style of wine. I've never seen a properly manufactured kit (other than dessert / port type) with grape skins produce a wine with 18% alcohol when it is made to the proper volume. If you can share with us which Chianti kit you are considering, perhaps someone here has some experience with it that they can share........
 

Sunsanvil

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This was at a Vintner's Cellar, referring to what they called their Italy "Varietal Juice" Chianti kit. They actually referred to the grape (skin?) pack as "raisins which swell up into grapes". :)

In any event is "squeezing" the pack at the end of the primary phase customary?
 

Country

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I dump my grape skin packs directly into the must and have seen a rise rise in SG from doing so. It is a small rise, about .01 over night.
That would be an addition of 1%- 1.5% ABV for a typical kit. So from 13 to maybe 14.5% ABV. Just my observations.
 

Boatboy24

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In short, 'squeezing' is a normal part of the winemaking process, whether from fresh grapes, or a kit with a grape skin pack. As you mentioned, this is done so you don't lose all that yummy wine. I've never, ever heard of it resulting in an 18% or higher ABV unless the grapes or kit had a high sugar content from the start. Kits are manufactured to account for the sugars in the grapes skins. Nature puts sugar in the grapes. In both cases, you press or squeeze the grapes after primary fermentation. To be blunt, I'm not sure I'd want this organization making my wine.

PS: I'm not intimately familiar with the chemical composition of the skins, but I think most of the sugars in grapes come from the 'inside'. I might be wrong, so don't quote me.
 

Kraffty

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yeah, seems like they're a little unclear. Besides the grape pack sugar already being accounted for in the engineering of the kit the amount of sugar required to take a wine from approx. 12 or 13% to 18% is around 1lb. per gallon. I can't imagine there being much left in the skin pack after primary let alone 6 lbs. of sugar.
Mike
 

pgentile

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All the kits I have done with skins ended up between 12-15%. I don't think there is enough sugar in the kits to get to 18% without adding. I ferement everything dry
 

Sunsanvil

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Thanks everyone for all for the input. I suspected their assertion might be a little off since I've been getting kits with skins/raisins (whatever) made for years and no one ever mentioned anything like this before.

Jim, I hear what you're saying about second guessing them, but honestly I think the level of knowledge where I've been making wine is more dubious: Once when I asked to make a Pinot Grigio I was told they were sold out but "Chardonay without putting the oak in is the same thing...." <sigh> :)
 

joeswine

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yes they do add to the overall abv. by 1/2 % sometimes a little more depending on the size and content of the grape pack, some are more liquid ,some are very dehydrated and once re-hydrated depending on their content skins to pulp, yes they will to a degree,. What you need to do is get a starting sg. before the addition of the fpac and after that's how you'll really no and make sure you bring the liquid level as per the directions before adding the fpac.(lessons learned)
 

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