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scarpone

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Hello everyone, I am brand new to this forum but I must say since I found this forum I have been glued to it. So much information and everyone is helping each other out with their interest and love for wine!

Quick little story,

My grandfather is Italian and has made wine from grapes his whole life. When I was old enough to remember , I always helped out in the crushing and pressing (tasting fresh juice of course). The problem I have is that I never paid attention to the important facts/steps. As far as I know he never added anything to his wine. Fermentation and time... my assumption. My grandfather passed away and I have all his equipment. Juice press, carboys, crusher etc... I'm ordering grapes this week which will arrive October 2nd. Does anyone have instruction step by step on the process? Maybe an additive I should add? Maybe for acidity ?

I have made 5-10 wine kits over the past 3-4 years and understand the terminology and basics of how it works etc... and I have watched countless videos on you tube and read a tun of articles on the process . I just don't want to mess up this batch from grapes since it will be my first time alone making it and continuing the tradition. Any help, pointers ...anything will be helpful .

I am planning on ordering Alicante grapes.... this is what he ordered last. I have lots of choices to choose from. Any recommendations ?

Thanks for the help!
 

wineforfun

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So, not knowing what you know about winemaking, I would recommend going to the Tutorials, Calculators, Wine Logs & Yeast Charts section in the forum. I know for me, when first starting out, it helped out quite a bit.
 

mennyg19

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It IS possible that as an old timer he didn't add anything to his wine and let nature do its work. Many people on here won't suggest that as your chances of ending up with wine vinegar is a lot higher.
Making wine can be as basic as crushing, adding sulfites, adding yeast, press and rack into secondary on time and then continue racking every three months until its ready to drink..
Or it could be more complicated with oak, added tannin, other additives and nutrients, fpacs etc. Its all your decision on how you want it to come out...
Good luck though and keep us all posted
 

scarpone

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I would like to keep it as natural as possible with little additives. I plan on making more next year so longevity is not important. As it will be gone before this time next year rolls around. Trying to make what he made. So fermentation and wait to drink? Should I play it safe and add something to it to make sure it doesn't go bad?

Sorry, I know this is pretty vague . I will check out the tutorials section now!
 

scarpone

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This is great, I post and in no time I have replies. What a great forum!

Thanks everyone
 

mennyg19

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At the very least, add sulfites at the start and end of fermentation so that the bacteria on your grapes don't kill your wine
 

scarpone

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Perfect, is there a brand name or certain kind I should look for?
 

mennyg19

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Go to your wine supply store and askfor cambden tablets. Its. On tablet per gallon. Crush the tablet and mix the powder into your wine
 

Rocky

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Scarpone,

Your note takes me back to making wine with my grandfather. We mainly used Zinfandel but occasionally used Alicante when the Zinfandel vintage was not great quality. Either one was blended with Muscat in 3:1 ration, red to white. If your grandfather was like mine (I suspect that I am much older than you) he did not add anything to the wine except perhaps Sodium or Potassium Metabisulfite just before bottling. He relied only on his sense of taste to choose the right grapes. My grandfather did not even add yeast and relied on the indigenous yeasts. Anyway, here is what we did:

First week of October the grapes would "come in" to Pittsburgh. He would buy them and it was a weekend family project to strip the grapes from the stems into pails or tubs, run them through the crusher into a "working barrel" (today referred to as a fermenter), filling the working barrel to about 2/3 its volume to allow for the fermentation and grape skin cap. The wine would remain in the working barrels for 10 days to two weeks, depending on the rate of fermentation. Each day during this period the grape cap would be broken up and stirred back into the liquid (this was one of my jobs when I was 8 years old). When he determined that fermentation had slowed enough, we would move the wine into barrels with spigots and lying on their sides with the open bung hole up. Wine would be poured into the barrels until the level was into the bung hole. Fermentation was still going of, though slowly and another job I had was to wipe up any of the debris that bubbled out of the bung hole and add wine to the barrel to bring the level up into the bung hole. We co-fermented everything. It was important to segregate the "first run" wine, i.e. the wine that ran our of the working barrel (per la familia) and not juice from crushed grape skins. The last barrel had all the crushed juice. This process went on from about Mid October to the first or second week of December at which time the barrels would be bunged. They would stay that way until about Easter the next year at which time the wine could be drunk or bottled (in 1 gallon jugs).

Now the modern way of doing this would be substantially different and I am sure you will get a lot of advice on this. For example, relying on the indigenous yeast is probably not a good idea. It would probably be a good idea to kill this yeast off after crushing the wine into the fermenters, wait a day or two and then add your choice of cultured yeast. You probably would not go from working barrels to wine barrels. I would expect you to go from fermenter to carboys. Also, people who make wine from grapes will advise you to do some analysis on the juice or the grapes and make appropriate additions to alter acidity levels, SO2 levels or brix. There are several people on the site who make wine only from grapes. I advise you to solicit their guidance either here or by Private Message.

Where are you located? How much wine are you making? How long ago did your grandfather pass? Whatever you do, be sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize his old equipment before you start. Campden tablets were recommended above but I would suggest getting a 1 pound bag of Potassium Metabisulfite. You will surely need it.

Best of luck and keep us up to date on your progress.
 

heatherd

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Hello everyone, I am brand new to this forum but I must say since I found this forum I have been glued to it. So much information and everyone is helping each other out with their interest and love for wine!

Quick little story,

My grandfather is Italian and has made wine from grapes his whole life. When I was old enough to remember , I always helped out in the crushing and pressing (tasting fresh juice of course). The problem I have is that I never paid attention to the important facts/steps. As far as I know he never added anything to his wine. Fermentation and time... my assumption. My grandfather passed away and I have all his equipment. Juice press, carboys, crusher etc... I'm ordering grapes this week which will arrive October 2nd. Does anyone have instruction step by step on the process? Maybe an additive I should add? Maybe for acidity ?

I have made 5-10 wine kits over the past 3-4 years and understand the terminology and basics of how it works etc... and I have watched countless videos on you tube and read a tun of articles on the process . I just don't want to mess up this batch from grapes since it will be my first time alone making it and continuing the tradition. Any help, pointers ...anything will be helpful .


@scarpone I have posted these same two resources for lots of folks because they have helped me immensely.

Harford Vineyard instructions for making wine from grapes: https://harfordvineyard.com/winemaking-instructions-grape/

Morewine Guide to Winemaking: https://morewinemaking.com/content/manuals

The Harford instructions are pretty basis and the Morewine are more detailed. You can learn a lot about testing the grapes and malolactic fermentation in the Morewine guide. Both are good reads for starting making wine with grapes.

The only thing you really can't skip is potassium metabisulfite, which is also called kmeta, KMS, or Camden tablets. Be careful though, some stores sell sodium metabisulfite tablets as Camden tablets, too. Both instructions will tell you when to add kmeta. Typical dose is 1/4 teaspoon powder per six gallons. https://morewinemaking.com/category/sulfite.html

Best of luck!
 

scarpone

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I'm located in Nova Scotia Canada, in making one 23 LTR Carboy of wine from grapes ( 2 18kg cases ) and then I'm buying a 23ltr pale of grape juice. I'm trying both ways just incase I mess up the grape method. If I'm not successful I will always try again next year and if I'm am successful I will making a much bigger batch.

It hasn't been used in 2 years. Was put alway clean but I will still sterilize and clean everything really good before using.
 

scarpone

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Me again,

So I'm picking up my grapes Sunday .

I have Sangiovese grapes for one batch and Alicante for the other.

As my story saying, I'm trying this all on my own this year without any guidances. I'm reading lots on how the process should go, whether I kill the yeast and add it myself or use the old school way of letting the grapes do their job with natural yeast.(risky I know) this is way I have two batches of grapes so I can possible mess one up and still have the other haha.

Point of the message is. Once I keep the grapes in the fermenter for 8-10 days constantly bring the top back down daily . Do I add the campden tablets on the first rack or on the last stage before bottling?

I see lots of different suggestions over the Internet, just would like you guys opinion.

Thanks everyone .
 

heatherd

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@scarpone

First make any brix, ta, or ph adjustments. Take a starting specific gravity reading.

What I do is add kmeta/Camden tablets and pectic enzyme immediately after crush. I add 1/4 teaspoon kmeta for 6 gallons, which kills wild yeast.

I wait 24 hours, then pitch the yeast by sprinkling.

Add yeast nutrient at the mid-point of your fermentation.

When your specific gravity on the hydrometer is around 0.990, add kmeta/Camden tablets again.

I bulk age for six months, adding kmeta every three months.

At six months, I taste the wine to see if I am happy with the results and check for gas. If all is good, I bottle. Then I age another 6+ months.
 

scarpone

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When I add pitched yeast to my grape juice , do I pour it evenly and wait or pour it in and stir?
 

heatherd

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When I add pitched yeast to my grape juice , do I pour it evenly and wait or pour it in and stir?
There are lots of opinions on that. I sprinkle it over top of the juice/grapes. Some folks rehydrate or make a yeast starter. I have killed yeast by rehydrating with too warm of water, and sprinkling works reliably so that is what I do.

Note that the simple steps I posted above don't include when to press, when to rack, or punching down the cap on your grapes. Be sure to punch down the cap 1-2 times a day.
 

scarpone

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Hey everyone.

Thanks for all the help. Things are coming along great, another or so and fermentation should be complete and ready to rack .

I learned a careful lesson today . I had to much must in the bucket so I took some out and put it in bottle with a cap.... you guys already know where this is headed.

It must have fermented inside and I when I opened it today in my white walled laundry room ....... disaster ... like a purple bomb went off... took 2 hours of whipping floors, walls, and ceilings

Lessoned learned
 

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