Wild Grape Wine Questions

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
I have asked questions about my wild grape wine project on several different threads. Today I was looking for some particular advice I had received and had trouble finding the right post. Since I have more questions (so, so many questions) I thought I would bring it together in one place so I can refer back to it as the wine ages.

First, my previous wine making experience is 10 gallons of apple wine that I made last year to excellent reviews by friends and family. This year, along with the wild grape, I am making a beet, elderberry, and apple. I decided on wild grape because the vines (Vitis riparia) around here had some of the biggest grapes I had seen and some of them were damn near edible! So I picked, manually destemmed, and froze 28lbs.

On 11/28 I put 24.3lbs of frozen grapes in straining bags, put them the in the primary, and added 8 quarts of boiling water with 9.8lbs of sugar. After crushing the grapes with a wine bottle and adding water to bring the volume up to 5 gallons, the SG was 1.062 so I added another 5.2lbs of sugar in 4 quarts of water. The starting SG was 1.114 and the pH was 3.06. I added 1.2g of K-meta and let it sit for 12 hours then added 6t of pectic enzyme and adjusted the pH to 3.15 with a small addition of calcium carb. At 24 hours I added rehydrated Lalvin 71b yeast. I stirred and pushed the bags down 2x per day. On 12/3 I realized I had forgotten the yeast energizer, so I added it at that time (6t). I pulled the seeds and skins on day 7 and manually squeezed out what I could.

I racked the wine on 12/8 when the SG was still 1.014 with a pH of 3.28. at the time it still had some of that that thick and sweet grapey flavor with a harsh alcohol taste. I ended up with 6 gallons. On 12/24 I racked again and made what I hope is an inconsequential error... I reported a hydrometer reading of 1.020 and leading to a suggestion that I try and restart a stuck fermentation, which I did by adding a starter of EC118 on 12/28. Looking back, I think I really was reading 1.002 on the hydrometer! The addition of the EC118 didn't seem to get any active ferment going and today the SG was 1.001. There are only the finest pin-prick bubbles rising in the neck of the carboy.

to-be-continued...
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
So, my questions are around taste and aging and oak... I taste the wine just about every time I am manipulating it. A week ago, it still had a very strong grape flavor with what I jokingly described as a "jet fuel" finish. This led to discussions about acetic acid, but I think it's more the harsh taste of new wine and an active fermentation... my apple wines started out the same but mellowed considerably after a few months.

On this site I have come across the term "foxy" tasting so I searched for the term and I'm wondering if that is what I am tasting now. It still has that smell of freshly crushed wild grapes, which is quite strong. Today I took about a half cup of the wine, added a pinch of sugar, and poured it back and forth between two glasses a few times over several hours then tried it again. The harshness was considerably mellowed but it still has that strong smell. There doesn't seem to be any tannin taste at all.

I think I'm going to add oak while bulk aging. Will this help out? Is there a way to fix the foxy smell? or do I just set it aside until next fall and hope for the best?
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
5,494
Reaction score
13,985
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
Some native American grape varieties have that foxy taste. I've had Concord aged in oak that came out very nice. However, nothing you do is going to make it taste like Vinifera. I can make a pleasing wine, but CS and Merlot are not worried about competition.

I'd go light on oak. 28 lbs nets about 2 gallons, so it's heavily diluted to make 6 gallons. Try 1/2 to 1 oz oak cubes for a month or two. IME, over oaking a light bodied wine can produce a sharp oak after-bite.

Before bottling, bench test with glycerin (for body) and a light back sweetening.

Next year, don't add water. You'll get a lot less wine, but it will be fuller bodied.
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
Thanks. I’m just hoping to make something drinkable. The recipe I used counseled against a pure wild grape wine because of the high acid. Although mine really didn’t need as much correction as they said it would. Maybe I’ll try a smaller batch next time.

I did buy some spirals. I’ll try a half spiral first and add the other half if it needs more. I’m looking to avoid racking it again so soon.
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
Also cold stabilize. With small batches you can put a gallon in the fridge for a week.

I was thinking of port as well. Could also blend with a low acid juice.
When would I cold stabilize in the oaking/aging process? And I live in Wisconsin🥶. Right now I could cold stabilize a bulk tank full of wine in the Unheated basement of my woodworking shop! It stays right around 32 degrees.
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
after about 4 years it was pretty good.
😳. The patience required for wine making is the biggest surprise I have had. I’m used to “my grandmas recipes” that call for bottling and drinking in two months! Of course when someone gives me a bottle they are generally waaaaay to sweet and taste like cough syrup.

I am not by nature a patient man. This hobby calls for some major changes in my mindset!
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
I know! Apparently The beet and elderberry also benefit from extended aging. Looks like my apple will be the only wine I can drink this year! I have been looking at the skeeter pee thread and think it may be my best shot for making something I can drink out on the deck this summer.

I recently found a great deal on equipment and thought I might unload some… because who need 11 carboys right? Now I’m starting to think I might need more 😃
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
886
Reaction score
1,559
Location
NE Wisconsin
You can cold stabilize any time after fermentation is done. I'd remove oak just to avoid mess.

I lived in upstate NY and cold stabilized on my porch. :)
I think I’ll oak first then and wait for some warmer weather. We’re looking at an extended cold spell up here with below zero nights. Temps usually moderate in late February.
 

VinesnBines

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
1,061
Reaction score
1,242
You may enjoy the Skeeter Pee. Personally I don’t like it as well as my hard lemonade (better than Mike’s). I can post the recipe if you are interested. It uses dried malt extract so is more like a beer.
You may also like the Dragon Blood but even with extra fruit, I find it thin and weak.
Not trying to discourage you from trying; just a word of warning that Dragon Blood and Skeeter Pee may disappoint.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
5,494
Reaction score
13,985
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
😳. The patience required for wine making is the biggest surprise I have had. I’m used to “my grandmas recipes” that call for bottling and drinking in two months! Of course when someone gives me a bottle they are generally waaaaay to sweet and taste like cough syrup.

I am not by nature a patient man. This hobby calls for some major changes in my mindset!
The advice to age the wine is good advice -- all wine benefits from aging, some for months, some for years. That said, if you like the way it tastes, drink it. It's yours and no one else has a say in the matter.

To teach yourself patience, split each bath -- 1 case for drinking, 1 case for a year of aging. Bulk age heavier reds and fruits for longer, bulk age whites, lighter reds, and lighter fruits for less time. This gives you drinking wine and aging wine.

Record your impressions each time you open a bottle. Force yourself to pay attention to the wine, how it tastes and smells. Read your notes from first to last to understand how the wine ages and improves.

Will this teach you patience? Darned if I know! But if you stick to splitting batches, you will have wine that has aged a year from bottling, and you will have the opportunity to taste your wines at their best.
 

Vinobeau

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2015
Messages
172
Reaction score
105
Location
Oshkosh
I've been making Wild Grape wines since 2007. Most of the time I've mixed them with Concords, but in a number of times I've blended them with Cranberry or Tomato. The 2007 batch was made to be a Port and was fortified with Brandy. The Port was made with 8.7 Lbs per gallon, and I haven't tasted it yet! In 2019, I made a one gallon batch with 10 pounds of grapes via Carbonic Maceration. I then made a three gallon second run with those grapes. The CM batch was close to terrible. I bottled 2 bottles of the CM batch to taste in 10 years and blended both batches. The blended batch was pretty good. I then blended the Wild Grape with 2 gallons of Tomato and that turned out.

I will stick to only using about 2 - 3 pounds of Wild Grapes per gallon and blending with a 2nd run of Cranberry.
 

SeniorHobby

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2021
Messages
140
Reaction score
52
Location
Central MN
You may enjoy the Skeeter Pee. Personally I don’t like it as well as my hard lemonade (better than Mike’s). I can post the recipe if you are interested. It uses dried malt extract so is more like a beer.
You may also like the Dragon Blood but even with extra fruit, I find it thin and weak.
Not trying to discourage you from trying; just a word of warning that Dragon Blood and Skeeter Pee may disappoint.
Hello VinesnBines,
Thanks for your input on the Skeeter Pee, I have no idea what it is but I would agree if it is thin & weak I probably wouldn't like it either. A question our your hard lemonade, how long do you let it age? I would be interested in the recipe if you wouldn't mind posting it.
Thanks,
Bernice
 

Jovimaple

Kaptin Winemaker
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2021
Messages
539
Reaction score
1,083
Location
Minnesnowta
@SeniorHobby My Skeeter Pee tastes like lemonade with a bite. I ferment a third to a half of the lemon with the water and sugar, but then I add more lemon concentrate to taste. My 2nd batch of dragon blood, I doubled the fruit compared to the original recipe, and it is not a thin wine at all.

Skeeter Pee is currently the favorite of my friends who have tried my wines, and I have had several people ask for more. I plan to make 12 or more gallons this spring. It's nice because it's a quick drinker, and great over ice or chilled on a hot summer day. I tell people it goes with whatever you would choose to pair lemonade with.


Here's Lon D's website for his original recipe for Skeeter Pee: Skeeter Pee Recipe

There's a whole forum on Skeeter Pee, and Dragon Blood is a variation that builds on the Skeeter Pee process. I tweaked the recipe for SP so I do 3 or 6 gallon batches instead of 5 gallons, and I don't use a yeast slurry - I just use Lalvin EC-1118 that I rehydrate in a cup of water for 15 minutes per Danger Dave's method for Dragon Blood wine.

 
Last edited:

SeniorHobby

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2021
Messages
140
Reaction score
52
Location
Central MN
@SeniorHobby My Skeeter Pee tastes like lemonade with a bite. I ferment a third to a half of the lemon with the water and sugar, but then I add more lemon concentrate to taste. My 2nd batch of dragon blood, I doubled the fruit compared to the original recipe, and it is not a thin wine at all.

Skeeter Pee is currently the favorite of my friends who have tried my wines, and I have had several people ask for more. I plan to make 12 or more gallons this spring. It's nice because it's a quick drinker, and great over ice or chilled on a hot summer day. I tell people it goes with whatever you would choose to pair lemonade with.


Here's Lon D's website for his original recipe for Skeeter Pee: Skeeter Pee Recipe

There's a whole forum on Skeeter Pee, and Dragon Blood is a variation that builds on the Skeeter Pee process. I tweaked the recipe for SP so I do 3 or 6 gallon batches instead of 5 gallons, and I don't use a yeast slurry - I just use Lalvin EC-1118 that I rehydrate in a cup of water for 15 minutes per Danger Dave's method for Dragon Blood wine.

When you say you tweaked the recipe, are you talking about the Skeeter Pee or Dragon Blood. I would like the recipe for the hard lemonade, if you are willing to share.
Thanks!
 
Top