Wild Grape Suggestions Please

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BigDaveK

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Gee, as a country wine maker I don't know what's going on with the forum - everyone seems to have a fixation with grapes lately.😂

Fine, I'll play along.
I spent some time gathering wild grapes and was worried about finding enough for a gallon batch. Disappointing, not very much at ground level. But then their growth habit finally dawned on me - they're in the trees!

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The tendrils aren't very strong and I was able to pull the entire vine to the ground. I finally got about 13 lbs after de-stemming.

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The more I looked the more I found. I could easily harvest over a 100 lbs, they're everywhere! I don't know about the end product so I don't see a reason to go crazy this year.

Yes, there's a point to all this.
These are river grapes (vitus riparia). Very tart, mildly sweet, and I like the flavor. Most recipes call for about 5 lbs per gallon and the rest made up with water because of the high acid. (A quick test with pH strips is around 2.0!) I had a fresh cut on my hand and while de-stemming got some juice on it - YIKES!!! Yup, there's acid!
I could take the easy (lazy) way and make a single large batch or - more likely - experiment with smaller batches. This is my thought right now for gallon batches -
1 - basic recipe as a baseline
2 - potato water, pH close to 6.0, less water more fruit
3 - elderberries, pH close to 5.0, again less water more fruit

Got them in the freezer while I think about this.

Experience, ideas, suggestions appreciated as usual.
 
I wouldn’t go any higher than the 5 lb/gal. That’s what I used and had to use calcium carbonate on the must. I don’t have my notes here but I think I raised it to 3.3 or so. It will be very foxy at first. The Welches grape smell will fill the room every time you manipulate the wine.

Mine was basically undrinkable until I cold crashed it and aged it for almost a year on oak. Two years later it’s one of my wife’s favorites. Unfortunately we are down to 7 bottles.
 
Thanks @JustJoe and @ChuckD !

71B was my first thought, too, and then I wondered about rc212 or bravo. And I was pretty sure the addition of elderberries would be a winner. I'm glad to hear you guys liked it. Got to tell you, though, I'm getting a little tired of making wines that will be good in 2 years!😄

And your endorsement gave me the nudge I needed - picked out another vine that I can pull down...tomorrow.

And I find the name "River Grape" very interesting. I have in excess of 50 vines on the property but the only ones that set fruit are within about 10 feet of water, either the pond, stream, or drainage ditch. Seems to be some weird connection there.
 
Agree with all the above, 71B / Cold crash / Avante, you could also try MLF, and adding a smidge of sugar to back sweeten. If they are like concords, don’t do an extended maceration and press earlier. That will help with the foxy-ness of the skins. Blending is a great idea too. Oak helps as well. I would use minerals last, just personal taste. They work, I just sense an aftertaste with them. Nice find!
 
Wait until you're making wines that require 5 years ...

Avante supposedly eats 25-30% of the malic acid, so that may be a help.
I thought I conquered the "patience" thing and I'm actually comfortable with two years. But 5? You hit the wrong key, right? 😅

I've been looking for an Avante wine. Definitely something to consider. Maybe I should pull down 2 vines?!
 
Agree with all the above, 71B / Cold crash / Avante, you could also try MLF, and adding a smidge of sugar to back sweeten. If they are like concords, don’t do an extended maceration and press earlier. That will help with the foxy-ness of the skins. Blending is a great idea too. Oak helps as well. I would use minerals last, just personal taste. They work, I just sense an aftertaste with them. Nice find!
Agreed, I don't want to use minerals, hence my thought of using potato water or elderberries to counter some of the acid. I'll have a better idea what I'm dealing with once I finally start.

No they don't taste like concords. Hmm...and oak. This will only be my 2nd foray into grape wine and, once again, my simple question yields a boatload of good suggestions. Maybe I should pull 3 vines?!!! 😆
 
If you would like I can mail some Malurvurn B, it is rated as consuming up to 56% of the malic acid. The down side is lots of foam so it needs a double size primary.
I am surprised that you didn’t list a banana water batch.
 
If you would like I can mail some Malurvurn B, it is rated as consuming up to 56% of the malic acid. The down side is lots of foam so it needs a double size primary.
I am surprised that you didn’t list a banana water batch.
Very generous yeast offer, thank you. Unfamiliar with it, I'll make time for a bit of research today and let you know.

How could I forget banana water?!?!

BTW, CJJ Berry in his book mentions banana water as a fining agent. I had 2 wines that refused to clear on their own and I was curious. The darn thing worked.
 
I thought I conquered the "patience" thing and I'm actually comfortable with two years. But 5? You hit the wrong key, right?
Actually, no. My 2019 Merlot and Zinfandel hit their stride at 3.5 years. I've got a few bottles from Port kits that are over 5 now, and have kept wines as long as 10 years. Not many bottles, but if I save 1, it counts, right? ;)
 
Actually, no. My 2019 Merlot and Zinfandel hit their stride at 3.5 years. I've got a few bottles from Port kits that are over 5 now, and have kept wines as long as 10 years. Not many bottles, but if I save 1, it counts, right? ;)
I guess that's why we make a variety of wines - it makes ignoring/forgetting bottles easier. It does make me wish I'd started this hobby 20 years ago, though.😭
 
I guess that's why we make a variety of wines - it makes ignoring/forgetting bottles easier. It does make me wish I'd started this hobby 20 years ago, though.😭
Yup. I wish I had made more through the years, as my interest went up and down, and I had years in which I made none.

At this point I have 20 different wines in my racks, not counting wines I've been given nor commercial wines. For some I have only a few bottles remaining, which others I have 3+ cases of. Finding something different to drink today is NOT one of my problems!
 
As planned I pulled another vine today and got slightly more than from the first. I'm thinking 28ish lbs total between the two after destemming. And I got tired of the manual destemming REAL fast with the first batch. Might be time for a new toy.

I had to use a ladder to reach a good pull spot on the vine. Tug, nothing, tug, nothing, tug and it completely let go of the tree and I fell off the ladder. Fortunately I was on the 5th step with only a "Sonofabitch!" from the tumble. You know how it goes - if I was on the 1st or 2nd step I'd probably be in the emergency room.
 
I have rarely made a solo Wild Grape wine - I usually blend with Labrusca, Elderberries, Red Tomatoes or Mulberries, in different combinations. In 2007, I made a Port, using 8 2/3 pounds per gallon, no other fruits, except the common chemicals. Last month, I performed my first taste of the Port and it is quite nice. This year, the plan is to wait until after the first frost.

They also make a wonderful jelly!
 
Update -

When I started I was worried about harvesting enough. Today I called it quits at 41.6 lbs. I have a lot of playing to do!

And I wanted to publicly thank David (@Rice_Guy ) for sending Maurivin B wine yeast to try. This is such a wonderful forum, so many members are generous with knowledge, support, and more! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
 
That Is awesome! Its my first year home brewing, my brother discovered wild grape on his property and gave me about 3lbs. I 'think' Its Vitis Labrusca. In WNY. I started looking and its everywhere! So I have been using it as a concentrate of sorts, in early testing adding excessive sugar at start makes it taste like Manischewitz . Just experimenting, but I will add about half to 3/5ths of water to % of juice, and add sugar accordingly. PH is Super low! crazy stuff. Excited to hear how yours turns out! Great information here!
 

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