The plunge (juice with added grapes)

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

Bodenski

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2016
Messages
244
Reaction score
106
Well after 10 or so batches of different country wines & meads, I've decided to take the plunge and try and make some "real" wine. I've ordered a 5 gallon bucket of Cab from Harford Wineries, and I also picked up 20 pounds of Cab grapes (that will hopefully be delivered around the same time!)

So I've seen lots of videos of people crushing grapes to get the max juice out. I don't expect "max" juice, but I would love to know what folks have done with their grapes when they're used to supplement a juice bucket. I hope that for these 20 pounds I can de-stem them myself easily enough. But I don't know about the crushing part.

What do folks normally do? Do they freeze the grapes so that they unleash more during fermentation? Do you put them in a big zip-lock bag and then smash them with a hammer to open them up? (I like this one since it involves violence!)

I imagine I need to destem them, then crush them somewhat before adding them to the juice bucket. I think I'd put them in a bag so that I can periodically squeeze it like I do with other fruits I'm fermenting today. I'd add campden tablets, and wait 24 hours before pitching the yeast. Then when fermentation is close to done, I'd squeeze the crap out of the bag to get as much juice as I can out of it (knowing that it will probably be at most a gallon) and toss the skins. (Or maybe save them. I'm not sure about that yet.) Then I would do everything else like I normally do today for my country wines. (Wait, rack, wait, rack, etc). Does this sound about right?

I'm looking at fruit presses as well, but I don't think I'm going to do this often enough to make it worth it. (Although I am tempted to get one more for cider from scratch than for grapes.)

And one last question (for now): Would you use pectinase?

Thanks for whatever help you can give to this clueless winemaker :)
 

ceeaton

Sixth year
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
5,139
Reaction score
5,413
Location
Southern PA
Well after 10 or so batches of different country wines & meads, I've decided to take the plunge and try and make some "real" wine. I've ordered a 5 gallon bucket of Cab from Harford Wineries, and I also picked up 20 pounds of Cab grapes (that will hopefully be delivered around the same time!)

So I've seen lots of videos of people crushing grapes to get the max juice out. I don't expect "max" juice, but I would love to know what folks have done with their grapes when they're used to supplement a juice bucket. I hope that for these 20 pounds I can de-stem them myself easily enough. But I don't know about the crushing part.
FYI, they come in 18 lb lugs, not 20 (not a real difference). Since you are getting one lug I'd suggest destemming by hand and crushing with a potato masher, just enough to break the skins. When I order more lugs I let them destem and crush for a fee (I think $20 or $25 for as many lugs as you have, not a per lug charge).

What do folks normally do? Do they freeze the grapes so that they unleash more during fermentation? Do you put them in a big zip-lock bag and then smash them with a hammer to open them up? (I like this one since it involves violence!)

I imagine I need to destem them, then crush them somewhat before adding them to the juice bucket. I think I'd put them in a bag so that I can periodically squeeze it like I do with other fruits I'm fermenting today. I'd add campden tablets, and wait 24 hours before pitching the yeast. Then when fermentation is close to done, I'd squeeze the crap out of the bag to get as much juice as I can out of it (knowing that it will probably be at most a gallon) and toss the skins. (Or maybe save them. I'm not sure about that yet.) Then I would do everything else like I normally do today for my country wines. (Wait, rack, wait, rack, etc). Does this sound about right?

I'm looking at fruit presses as well, but I don't think I'm going to do this often enough to make it worth it. (Although I am tempted to get one more for cider from scratch than for grapes.)

And one last question (for now): Would you use pectinase?

Thanks for whatever help you can give to this clueless winemaker :)
After breaking the skins, I load them up into a cheap paint strainer bag:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Blue-Hawk-2-Pack-Plastic-Bucket-Paint-Strainers-Fits-Container-Size-5-Gallon/1008387

and add them to the juice bucket, probably in a larger fermenter (the juice bucket is big enough for the white batches to ferment, but a red batch with an added lug needs a 7.9 gallon fermenter at the minimum. I use a Brute type trash can as I've put up to three additional lugs in with a bucket, works great).

I add Lallzyme EX to my skins + bucket (which is like a pectin enzyme plus other goodies), wait 12 hours, then add my yeast if the temperature is good. As it ferments I squeeze the bag of grapes a couple of times a day and remove them as the wine approaches terminal gravity (ususally 1.000 or below).

Some here add Kmeta as their first step. In hindsight, not knowing the SO2 level of the bucket or the grapes, you could overdo this and it may cause a problem if you decide to do a secondary MLF fermentation. Just food for thought. Otherwise, it's like the other batches you have done previously (racking wise etc). If you do decide to add MLF bacteria, don't Kmeta when doing your initial racking. Also, some co-innoculate during yeast fermentation with the MLF, others wait until MLF is done. Poke around on the threads and I'm sure you'll find a thread or two with really good info.

Hope that helps!
 

Boatboy24

No longer a newbie, but still clueless.
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
14,635
Reaction score
13,212
Location
DC Suburbs
Yep, pretty much what Craig said. Destem by hand, then crush with a potato masher. You don't need to really grind them up, just break them open and put them in a sanitized paint strainer bag. Highly recommend Malolactic fermentation, but it is certainly not required.

Are you getting Chilean or South African? I'm really tempted to try the SA Stellenbosch Cabernet grapes, but just don't have the carboy space right now.
 

Bodenski

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2016
Messages
244
Reaction score
106
Thanks for the advice. I have a bag that I use for fruit today that is probably the same as the paint strainer one. (My last batch had 10 pounds of berries, and there was a lot of room left over in the bag. I think it will deal with this ok.) I was looking at fruit presses, but I guess that would be for after fermentation. I think the potato masher will work.

I said 20 pound because that is what they advertise on the website! I'm getting the South African Cab juice and the Breede River Valley cab grapes. I have a 6.5 gallon bucket at home, as well a a couple of 2 gallon buckets to use for primary. IF it doesn't all fit in the 6.5 (sounds like a close fit) I'll split it up some.

I haven't seriously thought about the MLF yet. I've seen pictures of folks doing the chromatography for that, and I'm not really sure I'm ready to go that far in! I guess I have almost two months to decide, since they expect them to arrive by the end of April. I'll do a bit more reading on that topic. It sounds like it can't necessarily go wrong, correct? (And I guess I could pitch 71B yeast, since that does a little conversion on its own. (I guess I should also research the yeast choices, since that seems to also have a big impact!)

Thanks again all.
 

Johnd

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,810
Reaction score
6,970
Location
South Louisiana
Thanks for the advice. I have a bag that I use for fruit today that is probably the same as the paint strainer one.

I haven't seriously thought about the MLF yet. I've seen pictures of folks doing the chromatography for that, and I'm not really sure I'm ready to go that far in! I guess I have almost two months to decide, since they expect them to arrive by the end of April. I'll do a bit more reading on that topic. It sounds like it can't necessarily go wrong, correct? (And I guess I could pitch 71B yeast, since that does a little conversion on its own. (I guess I should also research the yeast choices, since that seems to also have a big impact!)

Thanks again all.
If you don't have a press, you'll be fine with the potato masher and bag, won't be much left after fermentation.

Most every red benefits from MLF, don't be afraid of it because of chromatography testing, chromo's a breeze, once you do one, you'll be a pro.

Biggest change, in my opinion, is if you're not currently prepared for pH/TA testing and adjusting, as well as testing BRIX and making the appropriate adjustments to the must. Get BRIX, pH and TA right, and the rest will pretty much fall in line for you.
 

Bodenski

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2016
Messages
244
Reaction score
106
I do have an acid titration kit, but no way to test pH. I'm looking at meters, but I might just get some strips for now.

How important is MLF chromo testing? For the volume of wine I'll be making it doesn't seem like a cost-effective purchase. I think I'd rather just add the MLF bacteria, give it a month or two (wait for the bubbles to stop, waiting no more than maybe three months) and call it good! Even if I stop it too early by using the K-meta, any conversion is probably better than no conversion! (Sure, not a predictable or repeatable process if I like what I get, but I'm already spending too much on this hobby ;) )
 

joeybudd

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2017
Messages
29
Reaction score
12
Where did you order everything from? Wouldn't mind doing some mid-year wine.

JB
 

Boatboy24

No longer a newbie, but still clueless.
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
14,635
Reaction score
13,212
Location
DC Suburbs
https://harfordvineyard.com/grapes/

You have to pick them up in person, as they don't ship them. They are located in Maryland. It's an excuse to visit the local area with the family who it comes in. At least that's what I'm telling my wife!
Try their wines while you're there - particularly their Traminette. It is really good.
 

ceeaton

Sixth year
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
5,139
Reaction score
5,413
Location
Southern PA
I do have an acid titration kit, but no way to test pH. I'm looking at meters, but I might just get some strips for now.

How important is MLF chromo testing? For the volume of wine I'll be making it doesn't seem like a cost-effective purchase. I think I'd rather just add the MLF bacteria, give it a month or two (wait for the bubbles to stop, waiting no more than maybe three months) and call it good! Even if I stop it too early by using the K-meta, any conversion is probably better than no conversion! (Sure, not a predictable or repeatable process if I like what I get, but I'm already spending too much on this hobby ;) )
I have a MW101 pH meter (Milwaukee Instruments) that is just stable can be and you can usually find it just under $100 shipped, I highly recommend it. You can order the Chromo test from PI Wines, it will last you years (unless you get bitten by the grape bug) and it is much cheaper than the pH meter. And if wine making doesn't work out I think know where you could unload both tools for a slight discount (thinking @jgmann67 or my older brother).
 

JohnT

Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
10,014
Reaction score
5,772
First you....



to crush them up, then pour it through..



to strain out the stems.

Then add to your must...
 
Last edited:

Johnd

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,810
Reaction score
6,970
Location
South Louisiana
I do have an acid titration kit, but no way to test pH. I'm looking at meters, but I might just get some strips for now.

How important is MLF chromo testing? For the volume of wine I'll be making it doesn't seem like a cost-effective purchase. I think I'd rather just add the MLF bacteria, give it a month or two (wait for the bubbles to stop, waiting no more than maybe three months) and call it good! Even if I stop it too early by using the K-meta, any conversion is probably better than no conversion! (Sure, not a predictable or repeatable process if I like what I get, but I'm already spending too much on this hobby ;) )
Assuming you're doing reds, you'll have trouble accurately reading this strips, which are stained red from the wine. The ability to accurately and consistently read pH is important.

Initial investment for the chromo kit is a little costly, but as others have said, you can run a lot of tests with it, just a few bucks per test.....
 

Bodenski

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2016
Messages
244
Reaction score
106
Thanks everyone for the advice. Now I'll go invest in some chicken wire ;)

The hardest part is I don't know if this will be a one-off for me or not. I guess what I should do is find some other winemakers in the local area and "borrow" their stuff! if this first batch ends up OK, then I might try and repeat it with real tools of the trade. Or I might just stick with meads, which I'm really enjoying as well right now. I don't think those are as picky when it comes to monitoring! (or maybe my ignorance is bliss . . .)
 

Kraffty

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Messages
2,043
Reaction score
3,929
Location
Northern Arizona
for what it's worth James, I followed the same kind of path. Kits, all the cheap fruit I could find then Juice buckets then Juice buckets with lugs of grapes and now all grapes. Every batch got better, mostly I'm sure, because of the ingredients but your wine making equipment grows as do your skills and experience. Keep it up!
Mike
 

dcbrown73

Clueless Winemaker
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Messages
1,219
Reaction score
902
Yep, pretty much what Craig said. Destem by hand, then crush with a potato masher. You don't need to really grind them up, just break them open and put them in a sanitized paint strainer bag. Highly recommend Malolactic fermentation, but it is certainly not required.

Are you getting Chilean or South African? I'm really tempted to try the SA Stellenbosch Cabernet grapes, but just don't have the carboy space right now.
Let me help you with that. :h
 

Latest posts

Top