Homemade grape wine without sugar or water??

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him24

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Hi,

This forum is such a great powerhouse of information. Ever since I joined ( just over a month back) I've been regularly coming and digesting the loads of info and experience shared by the veteran vintners here :)

I have been making wine with fresh black grapes for 4 years now, and running variations on my basic recipe (from Jack Keller). All in all, the wine each time turns out to be good, fruity, and a little sweet. However, I want to try out a dry batch.

Has anybody tried a batch without adding sugar or water? I'm tempted to try it out, but want to cover a few bases before I put it in process.

- Without sugar and water, how do I ensure the yeast has enough natural sweetness to act upon ?

- Will the acidity, tannin be too strong in this case? If so, how to overcome it?

- Do I need to use a different yeast in this case? I've been using Lalvin RC-212 all these years.

thanks,

him
 

NorCal

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All I make is wine from grapes and never add sugar. It's all about starting with wine grapes with the right sugar content. Maybe I am miss reading your question. If it is fresh black (table grapes?) without sugar?

My recommendation would be to find some good starting materials.


 
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Johnd

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Hi,

This forum is such a great powerhouse of information. Ever since I joined ( just over a month back) I've been regularly coming and digesting the loads of info and experience shared by the veteran vintners here :)

I have been making wine with fresh black grapes for 4 years now, and running variations on my basic recipe (from Jack Keller). All in all, the wine each time turns out to be good, fruity, and a little sweet. However, I want to try out a dry batch.

Has anybody tried a batch without adding sugar or water? I'm tempted to try it out, but want to cover a few bases before I put it in process.

- Without sugar and water, how do I ensure the yeast has enough natural sweetness to act upon ?

- Will the acidity, tannin be too strong in this case? If so, how to overcome it?

- Do I need to use a different yeast in this case? I've been using Lalvin RC-212 all these years.

thanks,

him
Lots of us make grapes without adding water, whether you add sugar or not depends upon the amount of sugar in the grapes and how much alcohol you want. Sometimes, when there is too much sugar, you have to add water to bring the sugar content down so that you don't have an alcohol bomb of a wine.

I'll try to be short and sweet with the answer to #2. The sugar content (BRIX), acidity and tannin are all factors of growing conditions and varietals and change year to year based upon that. You need to be prepared to adjust these factors on the fly unless you can test the grapes as they are growing, which gives you an indication of what challenges you will face as they ripen.

Typically, the grapes are crushed and destemmed and sulfited. We take Brix readings and, if needed, adjust sugar content to yield the desired ABV. We take pH and TA readings and make adjustments to the acidity as required and / or desired. We use or don't use enzymes to increase / decrease extraction of tannins (among other things) as desired.

That is simplified, but you get the picture. Spend some time reading the threads in the "Winemaking From Grapes" section of the forum. There are numerous threads that detail the process from start to finish. You will need some enhanced testing ability to do this well, unless you just get lucky with perfect grapes (which does happen occasionally!).
 

him24

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Thanks @NorCal, yes these are table fresh black grapes I've been using.

John, thanks for your detailed response and help. You've clarified my concept quite a lot. I use a simple Hydrometer to take SG readings of the must at the time of primary fermentation, just after primary is over and at the time of secondary, and then at each racking. I usually try to begin around 1.075-1.080 (sugar included) and finish around 0.980 or less.

Can you guide me how to take pH and TA, BRIX readings ( I'll also read up on these here)? I have a fresh set of Yeast Nutrient, Yeast Energizer bottles sitting with me, though I am yet to use them.

Which yeast do you use with fresh grapes incase you aren't adding water and sugar?

thanks again,

him
 
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Kraffty

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Welcome him,
Brix and SG are basically the same thing, just different terminology, your Hydrometer probably has Brix listed on one side of the scale. You can buy digital PH meters online for under $20.00 and there are also inexpensive but not highly accurate acid tests available also.
I think the yeast you've been using will be just fine.
Sounds like you're on track.
Mike
 

BernardSmith

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I think you may find that table grapes really do not have the amount of sugar in them that would make them perfectly suitable for wine without the addition of more sugar. My guess is that if you have a refractometer and you squeezed a grape, capturing the juice to place on the glass plate of the instrument you might find that the Brix will be around 12 whereas wine grapes will have a Brix of about 23 or 24. I may be wrong... but wine grapes are cultivated to have far more sugar in them than table grapes.
My suggestion about using a refractometer is because you need the juice of a single grape to obtain a measurement and not the volume you need if you are using a hydrometer.
 
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