Viscous grape wine

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byron123

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I'm a newbie to winemaking and this forum, so any help would be appreciated. I searched the forum but didn't find anyone with my particular issue, so I'm posting. I made my first batch of wine from grapes last year. I used about 1/2 muscadine grapes and 1/2 with red grapes from the store to make a 3 gallon batch. The muscadine grapes were frozen, and the red grapes from the store were fresh. I started by straining with cheesecloth, but it took forever and was leaving a lot juice behind, so I switched to a normal crank-style food presser, which was faster and did much better at extracting the juice. I used a yeast and all the additives recommended by the local wine making shop and everything went fine, but it never clarified even after 1 month of sitting. I added gelatin and let it sit for another two weeks and then bottled and let it sit for another month, but it never clarified. The wine tasted OK. It was a bit sour, but the main thing I didn't like it that it was very viscous--it seems to me the pulp from the grapes never settled out. Is that what happened, and if so, how do I prevent that?
 

Rice_Guy

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first, welcome to Wine Making Talk

A screw juicer will create fine fiber and is not normally used. The cloudiness is a cosmetic issue which normally settles in a year. Clearing of juicer liquid can be sped up with bentonite in the primary, pectin enzyme is also a good idea.

My mom would juice with a flour sack hanging from a kitchen cabinet and then twisting to force juice out. I am lazy and built a small press so I could let it go by itself, ,, and a number of us have other press ideas as this thread and others.
Photo isn’t showing for some reason.
DIY Bucket press great tho. Worked well until I got myself a proper press. Pressing apples tho, that’s a whole other ballgame! Would need to pack on a few lbs.

View attachment 58360
View attachment 58361

With a little imagination and some welding skills it’s easy to make your own wine press, and you can make it the right size for your operation.

View attachment 58385

I found a worm gear on some old farm equipment, gathered up some stainless scrap, and I was on my way. I attached a pipe “T” to the end of the worm gear so I could insert a broomstick to serve as my handle. My pressing bucket is a strip of 1/2 inch perforated steel formed into an open cylinder. It is sized to fit a large pressing bag I got from Lehman's non-electric Hardware Catalog.

The lower end of the worm gear is attached to a 6-inch circle of 3/4 inch plate steel, which in turn presses a 13-inch circle of 2-inch thick umhw polyethylene block.

I never measured how much the pressing bucket holds, but it’s about 30 pounds of crushed fruit.

My catch pan and drain rest on the horizontal part of my A-frame, which takes most of the considerable downward pressure.

It’s a fun project while we wait for the first fruits of Spring.
 
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Welcome to WMT!

Although it's not as common in grape wines, you probably had fruit pectin. The solution is to add pectic enzyme, which will take a week or two to work, then fine the wine. Although you can use any fining agent, I generally recommend kieselsol + chitosan, which is marketed as DualFine.

What additives did your LHBS recommend?

Muscadines need backsweetening. Bone dry they are typically astringent, so "sour" is not an unexpected description. In the future, stabilize with potassium sorbate + K-meta (potassium metabisulfite), then backsweeten. Just a bit of sugar will make a tremendous difference.

You can make wine from anything that contains sugar, or anything you can add sugar to. However, to make good wine you need to start with good ingredients. Grapes grown for winemaking are very different from eating grapes -- eating grapes are grown for quantity, not quality. Purchase wine grapes and you'll get better results.
 

byron123

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first, welcome to Wine Making Talk

A screw juicer will create fine fiber and is not normally used. The cloudiness is a cosmetic issue which normally settles in a year. Clearing of juicer liquid can be sped up with bentonite in the primary, pectin enzyme is also a good idea.

My mom would juice with a flour sack hanging from a kitchen cabinet and then twisting to force juice out. I am lazy and built a small press so I could let it go by itself, ,, and a number of us have other press ideas as this thread and others.
Thanks for the warm welcome.

I was wondering if the screw juicer might be too aggressive and create too much pulp. Sounds like this might be the case. On the other hand, I barely got enough juice from the grapes with the screw juicer, and if I used a less aggressive method, I would end up with much less wine, so that was also part of my reasoning.

I bought a cheap press to try this time to see if it creates less pulp, so let's see what happens. I am willing to take a hit on yield if the wine is much better.

Thanks for your timely advice!
 

byron123

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Welcome to WMT!

Although it's not as common in grape wines, you probably had fruit pectin. The solution is to add pectic enzyme, which will take a week or two to work, then fine the wine. Although you can use any fining agent, I generally recommend kieselsol + chitosan, which is marketed as DualFine.

What additives did your LHBS recommend?

Muscadines need backsweetening. Bone dry they are typically astringent, so "sour" is not an unexpected description. In the future, stabilize with potassium sorbate + K-meta (potassium metabisulfite), then backsweeten. Just a bit of sugar will make a tremendous difference.

You can make wine from anything that contains sugar, or anything you can add sugar to. However, to make good wine you need to start with good ingredients. Grapes grown for winemaking are very different from eating grapes -- eating grapes are grown for quantity, not quality. Purchase wine grapes and you'll get better results.
Thanks for the warm welcome!

I have heard about pectin and wondered if that might be the issue. I will use a press this time and add a pectinase to see what kind of effect it has. I will keep in mind the other fining agents you suggested as well.

I did not know about backsweetening at all, so I will definitely consider that this time, too.

Your advice on the source of grapes is well taken. I didn't want to use food grapes, but I didn't have nearly enough to make even a small batch, and I didn't want to wait another year to harvest more grapes from the vine in my front yard. Even there, the grapes are just growing wild and not cultivated for wine at all, so maybe it doesn't matter too much what else I throw in there. I think I will make two batches this year, one with the muscadines but with less pulp, and one with juice from the wine shop and then compare to see if it's my technique that needs improvement or if it's mainly the source of grapes.

Thanks for all the helpful advice!
 

Rice_Guy

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. . . . I would end up with much less wine, . . . I bought a cheap press to try this time to see if it creates less pulp, so let's see what happens. I am willing to take a hit on yield if the wine is much better.
In concept the process of making wine is cleaning the fruit to make it shelf stable;
fermentatiuon removes sugars that grow spoilage organisms
gravity removes large solids
pectase break down molecules so they can fall out
fining agressively removes positive charges and or negative charges

and then alcohol over 5%/ CO2/ pH/ SO2 are all preservatives added in to preserve calorie density
 
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I didn't want to use food grapes, but I didn't have nearly enough to make even a small batch, and I didn't want to wait another year to harvest more grapes from the vine in my front yard.
It occurred to me that your grapes are also eating quality, unless you pruned the vines. I suggest you read up on wine grape care, specifically Muscadine. After that, check the grape growers forum, browse the threads that interest you, and start posting questions.
 

Jusatele

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I read the OP and I get he is talking about 2 1/2 month old grape wine. In my experience that is some young wine for grape wine.
Normally my natural grape wines go at least 9 months for whites and 12 or more months for reds.
I also read that he is using table grapes.

I have not tried to make wine from table grapes, I do notice that if I watch a you tube video of them growing table grapes it seems they are going for production amounts and with wine grapes it is about a limited amount of quality production.

Being as it is a modern world, now days, when I do grape wines, of which I do several each fall, I now order frozen grape must. Have several on order for this September. I get great clarification after a few months but I can not tell you how the grapes are processed before I get them.

My experience with wine grapes is older, and done in 5 gallon batches. I destem the grapes rinse once and then I use a potato masher to crush them, I have a large brewing bag in the bucket so all pulp stays in it during fermentation. I then hand squeeze.
Once I have decided that the wine has aged enough I clarify it using finings. But that is past 8 months.

I am thinking next time you go for table grape wine, try a much longer aging period.

having said that, read my signature
 

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