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Other Lug of fresh grapes with Kit?

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AZMDTed

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Hi all,

I'm going to experiment again. This time I've ordered a lug (18#) of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Harford Winery. My plan is to de-stem and crush the grapes by hand, add Kmeta, wait a day, add Pectic Enzymes and then give them another day to get used to each other.

On the third day my thought is to start a conventional WE Eclipse Lodi Cab per kit instructions. But once I've added the water to 23L, stirred it all together, added the kit grape skin bag I want to add the skins and juice from the Chilean lug, then add the yeast when it's the right temp.

I know I run a risk about Ph and Acid, but from my understanding most kits are so well balanced that an .8 gallons or so from the lug may not throw that off too much. Or I can jump into testing early.

My goal is to increase all the benefits of wine on skins, but not jump all the way into wine from grapes at this point. After primary I will squeeze the skins and freeze them for additions into future kits as well.

Has anyone tried this? Thoughts on the idea?
 

Johnd

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Hi all,

I'm going to experiment again. This time I've ordered a lug (18#) of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Harford Winery. My plan is to de-stem and crush the grapes by hand, add Kmeta, wait a day, add Pectic Enzymes and then give them another day to get used to each other.

On the third day my thought is to start a conventional WE Eclipse Lodi Cab per kit instructions. But once I've added the water to 23L, stirred it all together, added the kit grape skin bag I want to add the skins and juice from the Chilean lug, then add the yeast when it's the right temp.

I know I run a risk about Ph and Acid, but from my understanding most kits are so well balanced that an .8 gallons or so from the lug may not throw that off too much. Or I can jump into testing early.

My goal is to increase all the benefits of wine on skins, but not jump all the way into wine from grapes at this point. After primary I will squeeze the skins and freeze them for additions into future kits as well.

Has anyone tried this? Thoughts on the idea?
I put used skins in kits all of the time, it is a very good way to boost your kits up. My thoughts about your endeavor are this:

If you're going to take the time to do all of that, just get enough grapes to make a 6 gallon batch of grape wine, and do your kit later using the pressed skins from the grapes. Both wines will probably be better for it. You're going to go through the exact same process (other than maybe adjusting acid, which you may have to do anyway), go for it, it's just a little bit more to press in the end.

That said, I believe that the real grapes will certainly be beneficial if you go that route, and I suspect you are right, that it won't affect the numbers enough to have to make any acid changes, no guarantee of that though.
 

Boatboy24

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I'd suggest the same as John. If you don't want to go all-grape, buy your grapes, then a juice bucket of the same varietal (or perhaps one you'd want to blend w/ those grapes). When done with primary, press, then start your kit and add the skins to that kit.

You'll get the benefit of grapes added to a kit; plus on your bucket/grapes batch, you can get your feet wet with acid testing/adjustment and MLF.
 

ceeaton

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I agree with John and Jim. That's how I got started, plus the batch I did (Merlot bucket w/Merlot, Cab Sauv, Mabec lugs) turned out pretty good and is still getting better with age.

My quandary is whether I do all grapes or a bucket and grapes this Spring as the grapes are slightly pricier from Chile than they are from California. I'm planning on a Syrah batch (plus a few "white" buckets).

Edit: quandary resolved - budget dictates a bucket and a lug of grapes (cheaper than 5 - 6 lugs of grapes to make the same amount)
 
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Johnd

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Edit: quandary resolved - budget dictates a bucket and a lug of grapes (cheaper than 5 - 6 lugs of grapes to make the same amount)
Food for thought. Do three lugs (36#), get 6+ gallons of wine. Save the skins, add to an appropriate nice kit with no grape pack. Get 12 gallons of wine, grape wine better than the juice plus a lug, kit plus skins, probably better too, no adjustments or MLF needed.
 

ceeaton

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Food for thought. Do three lugs (36#), get 6+ gallons of wine. Save the skins, add to an appropriate nice kit with no grape pack. Get 12 gallons of wine, grape wine better than the juice plus a lug, kit plus skins, probably better too, no adjustments or MLF needed.
I do that in the Fall. Our Spring Chilean grapes come in #18 lugs. Most are $28 per lug x 6 lugs = $168 (and I'll usually get 7+ gallons of finished wine). A bucket and a lug (of Syrah) are $53.50 + $28 = $81.50 for 6 gallons plus topping (in my experience 1 Chilean lug averages 1.25 to 1.5 gallons for me).

I definitely keep the skins and usually add them to a kit or freeze them for later use. I think the bucket + grapes is a cheap way to get some good everyday wine to help stock up the basement. We'll see if I learn enough about the process to make "exceptional" wine and warrant the harder to get grapes and cost. As long as my wife is happy, I'm happy (and allowed to keep making wine).
 

kevinlfifer

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I second Jim's thought. I have been adding 1 lb grapes to 1 gal juice. So 18 lbs grapes to 6 gal of juice should give you a nice full bodied wine. Then save the pressings for the kit. The skins will also carry over the yeast strain to the kit.
 

AZMDTed

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Thanks all, I'm hearing you. I just have a lot going on now and don't wish to jump into more than I can chew well. Also, this is really just a trial effort with hopes that by the fall I will be better positioned to try a full batch with California grapes.
 

heatherd

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Thanks all, I'm hearing you. I just have a lot going on now and don't wish to jump into more than I can chew well. Also, this is really just a trial effort with hopes that by the fall I will be better positioned to try a full batch with California grapes.
@AZMDTed, skins will improve your wine for sure.

In the fall, you can either do a juice bucket + lug as a next evolutionary step, or go all the way to all-grape.

For a lug only, you can certainly crush yourself. I've had Harford crush/destem my grapes for me in the past. For an all-grape batch, I'd consider having them crush/destem for you.

Best of luck!
 

FTC Wines

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We just started adding a lug, 36#, to a juice bucket. Only 6 mo old but it seems to be superior to a plain juice bucket. We were disappointed in the plain juice buckets, especially Calif ones, Chilean buckets seem to slightly better in our limited experience. Roy
 

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