Planning for first from grapes wine

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hawkwing

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I suppose it is "just regular." I have to confess ignorance of what inverted sugar is in detail and what its benefits are. From what I have seen on-line, I don't think I would go through the trouble of making inverted sugar. (Did I mention that I was lazy?) I added 8 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water, heated over medium-low heat and stirred until the sugar was dissolved, let it cool and put it in glass jars.

I’m not yet sure if I can tell the difference but I might eventually try them both to see. They say if you boil the sugar water with an acid in it for 20 minutes it will break the sucrose down into I believe fructose and glucose. Apparently this saves the yeast from having to do it and it affects the taste. Also one of them supposedly tastes sweeter and one is preferred by the yeast. So apparently it can affect the taste if the yeast goes to tolerance too as there would be more of one kind left. I’m hoping I can’t tell the difference or maybe I shouldn’t try to find out as sometimes ignorance is bliss lol. Being lazy is nice sometimes.

Do you all wash your grapes? I was thinking of removing bugs and pesticides. What about washing in metabisulfite solution and rinsing before crushing to avoid or reduce the sulfites in the wine?
 

VinesnBines

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Do you all wash your grapes? I was thinking of removing bugs and pesticides. What about washing in metabisulfite solution and rinsing before crushing to avoid or reduce the sulfites in the wine?
DO NOT WASH GRAPES! There should not be any bugs (or very many) and pesticides are withheld for a certain period of time before harvest. The period of time depends on the pesticide.
 
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I’ll have to look up those maceration enzymes and see if I can get them here. Are they mostly for color stability? Just guessing from the name.
This is from the description on the Scott Labs site:

Scottzyme® Color Pro is a specialty pectinase with protease side-activities. These side-activities are important for helping break down the cell walls of red grapes to gently extract more anthocyanins, polymeric phenols and tannins. This gentle extraction creates wines that are rounder in mouthfeel and bigger in structure, with improved color stability. Wines made with Color Pro tend to have increased tannins, improved clarity and reduced herbaceous or “veggie” character.
 

VinesnBines

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Is there a negative to rinsing them?
Yes, water will wash out the sugars (lower the brix) and any residual water may water down the wine. Grapes can absorb the water, hence the lower brix. You may want to sort them to pick out anything you don't want in the crush.

You are perfectly free to wash the grapes but most commercial wineries do not wash grapes.
 

hawkwing

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Yes, water will wash out the sugars (lower the brix) and any residual water may water down the wine. Grapes can absorb the water, hence the lower brix. You may want to sort them to pick out anything you don't want in the crush.

You are perfectly free to wash the grapes but most commercial wineries do not wash grapes.

Noted. I am not that concerned anyway.
 

CDrew

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Would heating part of the juice have a negative impact? I'm thinking of adding sugars, without dilution, and trying to invert them. I've never had trouble dissolving sugar without heating, however I've been reading that there is a sharper taste from plain table sugar that is better if it's inverted. That is why I asked about using other sugar sources. Hopefully the grapes are nice and ripe and I won't have to add sugar.

Don't get too fancy your first year. It's easy to overthink a lot of this. The grapes want to be wine, so it's pretty easy to get the basics right. I #might# recommend just to do a larger amount of one varietal, as opposed to 2 varietals and sort out your processes. It will be easier to keep things topped off and you won't need to worry about whether you mixed things or not.

I do recommend you get a few more carboys of different sizes. It sounds like you have a 14 gallon demijon, and a 5 gallon carboy. I'd get a couple of 3 gallon carboys and three 1 gallon jugs (Carlo Rossi jugs are 4L and widely available). The wine that comes in them can be drunk on a Tuesday night-:h. You really want some flexibility in case you end up with say 22L of wine for your 23 L carboy. THen you will have far too much head space and your wine will be at risk for oxidation and vinegar formation.

Heating the must is a very bad idea. Other than the pectin problem, it accelerates oxidation and will harm your flavors-think Jam vs fresh grapes. Your yeast will have no problems with table sugar, you don't even need to dissolve it. The process of punching down the cap will mix it more than enough and the yeast will also assist. But with that said, you likely will not need to add any sugar. Yeasts do differ in their ability to metabolize fructose and glucose but for common commercial yeasts this is a non-issue and they can handle sucrose just fine.

Acid additions are a very good idea if your pH is not where you want it. Use only Tartaric acid (not acid blend), and be careful that it is from natural sources. Synthetic tartaric will have half the molecules in the wrong configuration whereas natural tartaric will all be in the correct L-(+) format you want. Generally if you buy it from a wine supply place it will be correct.

Don't wash the grapes. No need. The bugs and spiders add terrior. Do remove any leaves and most of the stems.

Enzymes are generally an excellent idea. You will get much better color extraction and maybe some flavor too. I use Lallzyme ex or ex-v with good results. I've heard good things about the Color Pro too. I've just never used it.

Regarding fermentors-Hard to beat Brutes. For $40 or so, you can have a basically indestructible, permanent fermentor that can be used for years. I like the white colored brutes. It is easier to tell when they are perfectly clean. This is a significant detail and I recommend you seek out white ones. Home Depot will order them or amazon can deliver them to you. I use the 28 (sometimes described as 30gallon) gallon ones and a couple of 44 gallon ones. Pro tip-put your brutes on a movers dolly (the Harbor Freight ones work great)-much easier to move around and deal with when full.

What are you going to use for a wine press?
 

hawkwing

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Don't get too fancy your first year. It's easy to overthink a lot of this. The grapes want to be wine, so it's pretty easy to get the basics right. I #might# recommend just to do a larger amount of one varietal, as opposed to 2 varietals and sort out your processes. It will be easier to keep things topped off and you won't need to worry about whether you mixed things or not.

I do recommend you get a few more carboys of different sizes. It sounds like you have a 14 gallon demijon, and a 5 gallon carboy. I'd get a couple of 3 gallon carboys and three 1 gallon jugs (Carlo Rossi jugs are 4L and widely available). The wine that comes in them can be drunk on a Tuesday night-:h. You really want some flexibility in case you end up with say 22L of wine for your 23 L carboy. THen you will have far too much head space and your wine will be at risk for oxidation and vinegar formation.

Heating the must is a very bad idea. Other than the pectin problem, it accelerates oxidation and will harm your flavors-think Jam vs fresh grapes. Your yeast will have no problems with table sugar, you don't even need to dissolve it. The process of punching down the cap will mix it more than enough and the yeast will also assist. But with that said, you likely will not need to add any sugar. Yeasts do differ in their ability to metabolize fructose and glucose but for common commercial yeasts this is a non-issue and they can handle sucrose just fine.

Acid additions are a very good idea if your pH is not where you want it. Use only Tartaric acid (not acid blend), and be careful that it is from natural sources. Synthetic tartaric will have half the molecules in the wrong configuration whereas natural tartaric will all be in the correct L-(+) format you want. Generally if you buy it from a wine supply place it will be correct.

Don't wash the grapes. No need. The bugs and spiders add terrior. Do remove any leaves and most of the stems.

Enzymes are generally an excellent idea. You will get much better color extraction and maybe some flavor too. I use Lallzyme ex or ex-v with good results. I've heard good things about the Color Pro too. I've just never used it.

Regarding fermentors-Hard to beat Brutes. For $40 or so, you can have a basically indestructible, permanent fermentor that can be used for years. I like the white colored brutes. It is easier to tell when they are perfectly clean. This is a significant detail and I recommend you seek out white ones. Home Depot will order them or amazon can deliver them to you. I use the 28 (sometimes described as 30gallon) gallon ones and a couple of 44 gallon ones. Pro tip-put your brutes on a movers dolly (the Harbor Freight ones work great)-much easier to move around and deal with when full.

What are you going to use for a wine press?
I have two 54L demijohns and I can get two more right now for $70 total. But I’m hesitant thinking smaller carboys would be better. I have quite a few 23L carboys and two half size plus a bunch of 160oz jugs which have stuff in them. I can usually find 23L carboys for $15. I think they are $40 new. I just picked up three plus two gallon jugs for $15 all together.

I just found a 4.7 gallon wine press new in box on Marketplace for $125 that I’m going to pickup tomorrow. I’m going to pass on the $800 one that can take a while 55 gallon barrel at a time. They said they’d hold it for me. It will be nice to have. Up until now I’ve been using my masticating juicer for apples but it’s slow. Takes me 5-6 hours to juice enough apples for a pail. But that’s because whole apples end up plugging it with the skins and cores.
 

CDrew

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Agree that smaller carboys are easier at the amounts you describe. Easier to move, easier to clean and easier to store. Smaller containers are good too when you come up a little short for your larger containers.

Just to sort out your process, you could consider getting some frozen grapes from Wine Grapes Direct and do a 5-10 gallon batch now. You could be drinking it by next fall's harvest and the practice would be invaluable.

Regarding enzymes-I'd consider the Lallzyme ex for your first wine. The reason is, you'll want to drink it early and the ex-v supposedly extracts more tannin, so you might need to age longer before you drink it. I've used both and can't really tell a big difference.

Good luck. By preparing this early you will be fully ready by fall.
 
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hawkwing

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Agree that smaller carboys are easier at the amounts you describe. Easier to move, easier to clean and easier to store. Smaller containers are good too when you come up a little short for your larger containers.

Just to sort out your process, you could consider getting some frozen grapes from Wine Grapes Direct and do a 5-10 gallon batch now. You could be drinking it by next fall's harvest and the practice would be invaluable.

Regarding enzymes-I'd consider the Lallzyme ex for your first wine. The reason is, you'll want to drink it early and the ex-v supposedly extracts more tannin, so you might need to age longer before you drink it. I've used both and can't really tell a big difference.

Good luck. By preparing this early you will be fully ready by fall.
I’m not sure they will ship to Canada. I will have to look into this option though as there is probably a business that services Canada.
 

tullamore

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lots good advice given - the biggest is from CDrew - most important - do not get to fancy on your fast batch - start off small - maybe fill up ur 54 litre demi - and may a couple of 23 litres carboys - -or even get some juice and add a few lugs to it
my biggest advice - is be clean - all the time - always sanitize everything - i get a little over board with it but its worth it - it not u can easily ruin a batch if wine
i find making wine is never the same from one harvest to next harvest
as u will learn some grapes will give u better yields than others
where abouts r u in Canada? i'm in from Ottawa
 

hawkwing

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I’m from Saskatoon.

What I make will depend on the price in the fall. Hopefully things aren’t crazy then.

I picked up my little wine press. New in box as advertised but has been stored cold for a while I think. The ratchet mechanism is slightly rusty even though it’s galvanized. I’ll have to clean it up. And probably take the grease off the threads. Not sure what kind it is. I have some food grade stuff I use for my pasta machine.
 
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