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Watermelon Muscadine wine

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Chris Gibbs

Gibbs' Grapes
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So I had about 15lbs of muscadines sitting in the freezer from last season. I thought I would use them in Jack Keller's recipe for mustang watermelon wine and see. I'm going into week 2 of secondary fermentation and everything looks ok so far. Maybe this will help someone or spark some ideas...

I thawed the muscadines over low heat until they could be crushed with a potato masher and added them to the primary. Next I removed the rind from two large seedless watermelons. I diced the melon meat and placed it on the stove just until it got hot enough to meld with sugar. I placed everything in the primary.

I really tried to get an initial SG reading of the must as the recipe calls for 1.100 minimum, but there were so many particles of melon that it was almost impossible. After about 4 lbs of sugar, I thought I had 1.100. I added nutrient, energizer, and pectic enzyme- and skipped the initial k-meat dose in an effort to get the watermelon fermenting as fast as possible. An hour later I pitched the yeast. I also separated the primary into two five gallon buckets, each with about 3 gallons of must. Each got their own full package of red star premier rouge. After two days of primary fermentation I felt like the SG had dropped too much and that my initial reading was inaccurate. So over the course of a couple days, I added more sugar dissolved in watermelon juice. I ended up using about 8lbs total. I know this isn't helpful, but I worked with what I thought i knew. I placed the primaries on top of my freezer in a pantry room that stays about 75 degrees, punching the caps twice daily. I ended up with 4.5 gallons once it was moved to the secondary.

I'm about a week out from racking off the lees, as there is still some slow fermentation. The must has maintained a light pink color to this point and smells of wine. I plan to bulk age it until fresh muscadines and great watermelons are available again, then make an fpac and possibly backsweeten to semi sweet.
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Chris Gibbs

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Update/closure to this story...

This wine seemed to ferment ok, no visible signs of going bad anyway. There was a bit of a funky smell toward the end of fermentation that lingered for a few months. I've racked it a couple of times, and back sweetened to try and get the fruit forward. I needed to free up the carboy it was in, so i decided to move this wine to bottles this past weekend. The funky smell is gone now, but this wine tastes really strong of watermelon rind. I did use seedless melons from the local grocery store, against the online advice of local grown seeded varieties. I never thought it would make this big of a difference. I tried to make a sangria out of this wine, cutting it with some sprite and adding lots of fresh fruit, but the rind taste is just too strong.

I don't see a way to save this wine, but I have it stored in some swing tops for now.

If I ever try watermelon wine again, I will definitely find some locally grown seeded varieties that are much sweeter.
 

robert81650

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I made watermelon wine a couple of years ago from fresh large home grown melons. Np problems with fermentation at all. But while clearing, all the pink color dropped out and left it a orange pee color. No watermelon taste that I expected and even after a year of aging, still no improvement. Will not try watermelon again. Way too much trouble in prep for no good fruit taste.
 

Chris Gibbs

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Agreed! I'm glad I didn't use home grown melons then, that would have been extra disappointing. I'm sorry to hear that.
 

wrongway

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I made watermelon wine a couple of years ago from fresh large home grown melons. Np problems with fermentation at all. But while clearing, all the pink color dropped out and left it a orange pee color. No watermelon taste that I expected and even after a year of aging, still no improvement. Will not try watermelon again. Way too much trouble in prep for no good fruit taste.
Sorry to hear of that, I made some a couple months ago and had the same luck as you! What little flavor mine has, taste like the rine! Looks the color of pineapple juice! Oh well.
 

garymc

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When you say it tastes like the rind, is that like the taste of a raw cucumber?
 

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