Recipes for fresh grape juice

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Ceegar

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I'm trying to get my ducks in a row for when the Fall harvest of grapes arrives. I should have a good supply of fesh grape juice from various varietals and I was wondering where I can find some recipes for fresh juice. I've seen a few on Jack's site for Concord but it references grapes instead of juice.
 

Racer

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Are you getting fresh juice processed from a local vineyard? If so they should be able to tell you what the numbers are on the juice when you pick it up from them.
 

Ceegar

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Are you getting fresh juice processed from a local vineyard? If so they should be able to tell you what the numbers are on the juice when you pick it up from them.
Yes, from local wineries. I live right in the middle of them in the Fingerlakes Region of NY, so the availability and selection is pretty good. They take the Brix and TA readings on the juice.
 

Tom

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CEEGAR, Welcome !
Let us know what kind of juice you will get. Then we can suggest a yeast and "other" things you may need.
Some you should have;
yeast
nutrient
Oak
potassium Metabisulfite
clearing agent (if bottling soon)
Sorbate (if you want to back sweeten)
and of course carboys.
What kind of equipment do you have?
 

Racer

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Man that has to be nice to have access to good grapes that close to you. So your really looking for the steps to go thru to make wine from the juice then. Here's what I'd do then.

1. I'd make sure I had the harvest numbers written down and also check with them about whether they added sulphites or not. If not I'd add k-meta at no more then 50 ppm to the juice.
2. Double-check the numbers yourself when you get home.
3. If the acid levels are low adjust with tartaric to get them into a better range. You probably wont have to worry about too low acid levels from the grapes there in the finger lakes region. You'll probably have slightly high levels of acid and slightly low ph too. I dont usually try and adjust high acid levels down at the start. I like to cold stabilize after fermentation to reduce acids as naturally as I can.
4. Adjust sugar levels if their low but don't go crazy here. Most grapes from places that have higher acid level can be real harsh if you try and make them too high an alchohol level. 10-12% for whites and 12-14% for reds is a good range to shoot for.
5.If the juice was settled out and racked off the pulp by them you should be ready to pitch yeast then. If not you probably want to let things settle out for 12 hours before racking off the pulp.

Hopefully others will jump in and add to this too for you but what I have outlined above is pretty much what I do with fresh grapes each year myself. I just get the extra fun of the crushing,de-stemming, and pressing you wont be dealing with by getting juice.
 

Ceegar

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CEEGAR, Welcome !
Let us know what kind of juice you will get. Then we can suggest a yeast and "other" things you may need.
Some you should have;
yeast
nutrient
Oak
potassium Metabisulfite
clearing agent (if bottling soon)
Sorbate (if you want to back sweeten)
and of course carboys.
What kind of equipment do you have?
I already have all that stuff except the juice - I will have to purchase a few more carboys though to do what I'm planning. I've got some fruit wines under my belt and I'm doing a kit right now but have never done anything from fresh juice yet.

Too many choices - I prefer the whites but do like some reds, so I'm probably going to go with several 3 gal batches. For every day table wines I'll probably choose between Vidal, Ravat51, Traminette or Valvin Muscat. I also want to do something with either Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer or Riesling - probably 2 out of those 4, but at $16-$20 a gal those will get expensive - but still, at $3-$4 a bottle when they're finsished, that's not bad for those higher end wines.

I also want to do something in reds so I know I'm going to go with some Concord for the wife, and probably Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon or Pinot Noir for some better reds. They offer over 30 varietals so I'll have to wait to see what the availablity is at the time. I'm really hoping I can get my hands on some Late Harvest Vignoles this year too so I can try for a batch of dessert wine - that Vignoles rocks. I know they're not California or International grapes but Fingerlakes grapes are still damn good. I know these wines and have tried almost all of them before so I know what I like - makes it easier deciding on which to make.

I don't want to get into doing 5-6 gal batches right now until I see how they turn out, then next year I may jump up to a larger batch if something turns out exceptional, plus I want to have a variety.
 
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Ceegar

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Man that has to be nice to have access to good grapes that close to you. So your really looking for the steps to go thru to make wine from the juice then. Here's what I'd do then.

1. I'd make sure I had the harvest numbers written down and also check with them about whether they added sulphites or not. If not I'd add k-meta at no more then 50 ppm to the juice.
2. Double-check the numbers yourself when you get home.
3. If the acid levels are low adjust with tartaric to get them into a better range. You probably wont have to worry about too low acid levels from the grapes there in the finger lakes region. You'll probably have slightly high levels of acid and slightly low ph too. I dont usually try and adjust high acid levels down at the start. I like to cold stabilize after fermentation to reduce acids as naturally as I can.
4. Adjust sugar levels if their low but don't go crazy here. Most grapes from places that have higher acid level can be real harsh if you try and make them too high an alchohol level. 10-12% for whites and 12-14% for reds is a good range to shoot for.
5.If the juice was settled out and racked off the pulp by them you should be ready to pitch yeast then. If not you probably want to let things settle out for 12 hours before racking off the pulp.

Hopefully others will jump in and add to this too for you but what I have outlined above is pretty much what I do with fresh grapes each year myself. I just get the extra fun of the crushing,de-stemming, and pressing you wont be dealing with by getting juice.
Thanks - this is good stuff. Some of the wineries who sell the juice are real helpful too and they even give free wine making lessons so I'll have to make sure I hit up a couple of those beforehand - I'm sure they'll be informative and should learn a lot from those too.

The kits are great, and they're cheap, but they're not much of a challenge and you can't really get creative with them like you can doing it from scratch. It should be fun, as long as everything goes well.
 

Ceegar

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I dont usually try and adjust high acid levels down at the start. I like to cold stabilize after fermentation to reduce acids as naturally as I can.
I always wonder how you guys are able to do cold stabilization with those tall carboys. Are you talking about putting them out in the garage or something after it gets cold or do you have a fridge of some sort that accomodates those tall carboys?

I can't even get a gallon jug in my fridge without rearranging the shelves, and the wife won't go for that. I can see it now, a carboy taking up half the fridge space, with no shelves to boot :)
 

Racer

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I always wonder how you guys are able to do cold stabilization with those tall carboys. Are you talking about putting them out in the garage or something after it gets cold or do you have a fridge of some sort that accomodates those tall carboys?

I can't even get a gallon jug in my fridge without rearranging the shelves, and the wife won't go for that. I can see it now, a carboy taking up half the fridge space, with no shelves to boot :)
I have a couple of choices for cold stabilizing. 1. live in a 100yr old house (very drafty and cold basement). 2. old coal bin under front porch accessible thru basement. 3. Unattached garage

I just have to ask about the varietal choices you have access to. Have you tried the valvin muscat yourself yet? I have vines growing that still need another yr or 2 before I can take a full harvest from them. Last year I left a few clusters on them and just couldn't believe how good they tasted right off the vine. As they got close to being ripe they actually tasted like peaches or spiced oranges the riper they got. The growers around me say the range of brix for them is 19-22º at harvest.
 

Ceegar

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I have a couple of choices for cold stabilizing. 1. live in a 100yr old house (very drafty and cold basement). 2. old coal bin under front porch accessible thru basement. 3. Unattached garage

I just have to ask about the varietal choices you have access to. Have you tried the valvin muscat yourself yet? I have vines growing that still need another yr or 2 before I can take a full harvest from them. Last year I left a few clusters on them and just couldn't believe how good they tasted right off the vine. As they got close to being ripe they actually tasted like peaches or spiced oranges the riper they got. The growers around me say the range of brix for them is 19-22º at harvest.
I have tried the Valvin Muscat before during our many outings on the wine trail, both as a standalone dessert wine, but for the most part most of the local wineries have used it for blending with other varietals, such as with Riesling and Traminette. This grape was actually bred and developed right down the road from me at the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station- all I can say is it's tasty.
 

Manimal

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I would wholeheartedly agree with Racer's advice... I would just throw in that when working with fresh grapes and juice, you don't really need a recipe. What you need is to be very familiar with the entire winemaking process and to be aware of the appropriate ranges for TA, Brix etc. Adjust a little if necessary, but try to remain true to what the grapes/must are telling you... for example, if it was a cool vintage with high acid and low sugar, don't jack up the sugar in an attempt to churn out a blockbuster red... instead aim for a balanced, yet leaner style. Also, there is absolutely no reason to be apologetic about using Finger Lakes grapes... there are incredible wines coming out of the region. I live in Ontario and am a huge fan of some of our local wines and am tired of the inferiority complex many Ontarians have in regards to our local wines. I've had the good fortune to taste exceptional wines from pretty much all the major wine regions of the world, and I would say that some of the wines I've tried from our smaller up-and-coming regions are giving the major regions a serious run for their money!
 

Ceegar

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I would wholeheartedly agree with Racer's advice... I would just throw in that when working with fresh grapes and juice, you don't really need a recipe. What you need is to be very familiar with the entire winemaking process and to be aware of the appropriate ranges for TA, Brix etc. Adjust a little if necessary, but try to remain true to what the grapes/must are telling you... for example, if it was a cool vintage with high acid and low sugar, don't jack up the sugar in an attempt to churn out a blockbuster red... instead aim for a balanced, yet leaner style. Also, there is absolutely no reason to be apologetic about using Finger Lakes grapes... there are incredible wines coming out of the region. I live in Ontario and am a huge fan of some of our local wines and am tired of the inferiority complex many Ontarians have in regards to our local wines. I've had the good fortune to taste exceptional wines from pretty much all the major wine regions of the world, and I would say that some of the wines I've tried from our smaller up-and-coming regions are giving the major regions a serious run for their money!
Thanks for the info and I agree with you - I was in a small local supply shop buying a carboy the other day and we got talking about kits and I told him no, I was going to buy juice this fall and he started knocking the quality of the local varieties saying they were junk compared to what you can have by buying a kit. He was probably hoping he would end up selling me a kit I guess. I'm completely satisfied with the local wines here.

I'm still basically a newb at this. I've only done a few batches of fruit and meads, and I'm right in the middle of my first kit. Do you recommend a good read? It sounds like I will need a good acid and ph tester. I have an acid tester and tried to use it but I don't think it's a very good one. Do you recommend a good acid tester? I have no idea when to add tannins, which ones and how much, are there certain levels the acid should be at and how to achieve those levels. Should I add just tartaric, citric or malic, or should I use acid blend. And I think that all depends on whether or not it's going to end up a sweet wine or dry wine, etc. correct? All these things I have no clue about. It's easy to make wine by following a recipe, but this will be taking it to a whole new level for me.
 

Ceegar

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I suppose if I poked around the forum a bit before posting this I would have seen a few of those posts that are pretty informative.
 

ktt

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Hey there~~~trying to figure something out. I'm going to be starting a batch from grapes come this fall and am having a hard time making some decisions. Hoping you guys can help. I want to make a Cab Sav/Merlot/Zin. Anyone have any recommendations for ratio's? In my book it gives the typical 80/20 or 20/80 when mixing two but not three. Is it 33/33/33 or is that to easy.

HELP!!!!!
 

Ceegar

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Hey there~~~trying to figure something out. I'm going to be starting a batch from grapes come this fall and am having a hard time making some decisions. Hoping you guys can help. I want to make a Cab Sav/Merlot/Zin. Anyone have any recommendations for ratio's? In my book it gives the typical 80/20 or 20/80 when mixing two but not three. Is it 33/33/33 or is that to easy.

HELP!!!!!
I've seen contest results listed where 33/33/33 won silver before - so it must be good.
 

Ceegar

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Ceegar:

Live anywhere near Forestville NY?

Check out these instructions.

http://www.walkersfruitbasket.com/pail_instructions.htm

Steve

No, I don't know where Forestville NY is. It sounds like these are pail kits and come with everything you need except equipment, but the juice I will be getting will be coming from one of the local wineries. They take the TA and PH readings and that is all we're supplied with I think. I have no idea what the acid and ph levels SHOULD be, but most importantly, how much nutrients and energizer, tannins, etc - and I'm sure those additions will be different depending on the type of grape juice it is. These were the things I was looking for when I created this thread.
 

cpfan

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Sorry Ceegar, I thought it was in the Finger Lakes or Rochester area. Turns out its on the south shore of Lake Erie, west of Buffalo.

Steve
 

Ceegar

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Sorry Ceegar, I thought it was in the Finger Lakes or Rochester area. Turns out its on the south shore of Lake Erie, west of Buffalo.

Steve
No problem Steve. I still may do something with them but will just suck up some more shipping costs. Probably cheaper than me driving a 6 hour round tripper. Not going to go nuts though - I'd rather wait for the fresh stuff. Their Cherry juice sounds good though.
 

Manimal

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KTT... I would recommend that you ferment all three varieties separately and then do blending trials to determine what the best blend is. Whenever you blend wines, you want to do it with specific goals in mind (ie. increase body, complexity, acidity, etc. etc.) Blending just for the sake of it may result in a great wine, but it just as well might result in a mediocre wine.
 
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