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Welch's Red

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AXIOM

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Lots of my wine making is in the area of Country wines. From time to time I will do one via a concentrate. But I don't like using the per-measured, and higher quality concentrates obtained from wine making suppliers because they are sort of boring and not much of a challenge. I would rather use cheap, and inferior concentrates, obtained from the local grocery store and coax them into producing a good wine. This recipe is for a small 5 gallon experimental batch...

This particular recipe uses Welch's red grape concentrate in the small 11.5 ounce cans. The batch size (must) is slightly over 5 Gallon (5 Gallons + 1 Quart) as I usually make slightly more than I need for "topping up" purposes and for testing purposes. I also usually use invert sugar for both my "must" and my yeast starters but since this is an experimental batch that I do not intend to age very long, I used plain Sucrose (white table sugar).

My apologies for not tracking the added sugar amount but I never do as I never record my sugar additions... I usually use invert sugar and so I usually know exactly how much I use, but in this case, I simply added the sugar in small amounts without measuring it out.... I know it was somewhere around 4 pounds of sugar that I added but it wasn't measured out (precisely anyway). But I will list the SG below so that anyone who may use this recipe can add the correct amount of sucrose....


INGREDIENTS:

12 cans of welch's red grape concentrate (11.5 OZ. cans)
3 pounds of red, dried, California raisins
4 level teaspoons of bentonite
5 level teaspoons of yeast nutrient
2 and 1/2 teaspoons of powdered yeast energizer
2 and 1/2 level teaspoons of pectic enzyme
1 and 2/3 teaspoons of powdered grape tannin
1 packet (5 gram) of Red Star "premium cuvee" yeast


NOTES:

I have performed many experiments through the years using inexpensive concentrates and they work great provided that a person uses them with the correct water/concentrate proportions. Otherwise, they don't work too great... Too many recipe's I see on the web use a very small amount of concentrates (about 2 cans per Gallon) in their batches and this produces a highly inferior wine... The wine will be diluted, lacking flavor and aroma, and will be quite flabby.... So a large part in making quality wines from the cheap concentrates is to not skimp on the amount of concentrates to use in the must... Adding something to help provide a heavier body also helps, and this is the reason for the inclusion of the raisins in this experimental recipe... No acidic adjustments were required for this recipe due to the added raisins and larger amount of concentrates... So, no specific acids were added nor was there a need to reduce acidity... Also, no metabisulfites were added to the must due to the fact that the raisins were simmered at high heat, plus the use of canned concentrates do not usually require sulfiting. Metabisulfite will be added at a later phase...

After adjusting, the initial specific gravity of the must was 1.106 which provides a potential ABV of 14.5%
The initial PH prior to fermentation was 3.42
The initial acid titration before fermentation was .68%

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place 3 pounds of raisins into a pot for heating on the stove ... Next, add 1 and 1/2 gallons of water to the raisins and turn the burner on high. Heat until the water almost comes to a boil but not quite.... Reduce the heat so that the water and raisins simmer at a slow pace. Simmer the mixture for about 30 minutes.... After the raisins have simmered, remove the pot from the heat to cool at room temperature... While the raisin/water mixture is cooling, take a potato masher and squish the raisins while they are sitting in the hot water... Some folks use a blender on their raisins but this is not needed here ....

Usually, I am an advocate for fermenting on the fruit in order to extract the largest amount of flavor, color, and aroma, but in this case, there will be plenty of flavor and color from the concentrate... The use of raisins here is to provide extra body for the wine along with just a hint of flavor from the raisins... Since we do not need the color from the raisins, then the raisins will be strained through a fine mesh straining bag and the juice that they were simmered in will be placed into the primary fermenter. The raisins will be discarded.

Next comes the bentonite... I never add bentonite directly to my cold must.... Most types of powdered bentonite that I have ever used require you to "hot mix" them for best results... What I do is to add about an inch of water into a small sauce pan and then place it onto a burner on the stove. Heat the water until it begins to boil, then SLOWLY add the bentonite powder... At the same time, take a whisk and constantly and rapidly stir the bentonite into the water. Let this mixture boil for a few minutes and then add this hot mixture directly into the fermenter.

Next, add all 12, thawed, cans of grape concentrate to the primary fermenter.

Next, add enough water until you have exactly 5 gallons of must in the fermenter, then add an additional quart of water.

Next, add enough sugar in order to obtain a SG of 1.106 on the hydrometer. This will be roughly about 4 pounds of sugar....

Next, add the remaining ingredients in the recipe to the fermenter.

Once you have the must adjusted to the proper temperature then you can pitch the yeast. I always elect to create yeast starters and use those and so I will provide the exact instructions I use for creating a starter for most small 5 gallon batches of wine...


YEAST STARTER NOTE:

NOTE: There are certainly better yeast strains I could use for this specific wine and I am usually fairly picky about the selection of what yeast I will use for a wine. However, my yeast inventory is lower than usual at the moment and so I selected a yeast that I had in stock. I will be fermenting at a fairly low temperature, plus with a potential alcohol production of 14.5% ABV, then the only yeast I had on hand for such a wine was "premier cuvee" by Red Star. But, please choose a yeast that you think will work better. There are far better yeasts for red wines...


YEAST STARTER INSTRUCTIONS:

Choose a glass container that is large enough for the starter creation (at least 500ml or larger)... First add 1 cup of 95 - 100 degree water to the container... Then add 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient to the water. Next, add 1/8 teaspoon of yeast energizer to the water. Thoroughly stir those ingredients into the water. Next open a 5 gram packet of "premium cuvee" yeast and add it to the container. Let the yeast hydrate (and activate) and allow the yeast to start sinking to the bottom of the water.... After adding the yeast, cover the container with cling wrap and let sit for 30 minutes....

After 30 minutes, take a sanitized measuring cup and scoop out 1/3 of a cup of must from the primary fermenter and add this to the starter. Gently stir the mixture and cover it with cling wrap and let sit for 2 hours....

After 2 hours, add another 1/3 cup of must from the fermenter to the starter. Cover the starter with cling wrap and let sit another 2 hours... Keep repeating this process until 8 hours has past since you first started making the starter. The longer that you let your starter sit and reproduce, then the LARGER the amounts of yeast cells that you will be inoculating the must with and the healthier the primary I have found that even a small 8 hour time in creation of the starter works quite well. I would not use the starter any sooner than 8 hours after you started it.

After you have let your starter sit for 8 hours (hopefully longer) then add it to the must.... Primary ferment will commence in a few hours....


I will provide future updates about certain features that I discover about this experimental batch of wine. I hope this may help somebody ;)
 
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Gabert Grape

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Just FYI, Invert sugar can be made from table sugar by just boiling it with some water. Yeast has a little tougher time digesting table sugar.
(Thanks, Elton Brown)
 

AXIOM

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Just FYI, Invert sugar can be made from table sugar by just boiling it with some water. Yeast has a little tougher time digesting table sugar.
(Thanks, Elton Brown)
Yeah I make fairly large batches of the stuff and store it in a fridge. I always have lots available for my future runs of wine ... I have not tried using Invertase for making invert sugar as I have always just used citric acid and heat. I like using complete invert sugar as opposed to partial invert sugar.
 

Donatelo

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I make a gallon at a time and enjoy it for about two months. I bottle 5 bottles and then make another batch. This way I have about 5 bottles in process at all times.
My recipe is so much simpler. : 96 oz Welch's concord grape, Premier yeast, about 24 oz. of goo0d fresh water and 1 1/2 cups sugar. After it stops that rapid bubbling I top the gallon jug with what I have left from my previous batch.
Works for me. Always have fresh wine!
 

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