Wine From Juice ?? Read the Labels Before you Buy!

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Fruit "Wine" Maker
Aug 29, 2015
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Northwest Arkansas
In the last year or two we've seen a lot of questions from folks trying to make or wanting to make wine from commercially prepared juices, frozen concentrates etc. Juices packaged for use as drinks not designed for use in wine making.

Consistently problems are occurring or at least questions raised about the process and the one consistent thing folks keep forgetting is about reading the label before they buy.

Primary Problem:

Additives in juice to prevent spoilage or loss of flavor can make fermentation difficult or perhaps impossible.

All commercially prepared juices fresh, pasteurized, or frozen will list what the maker put in juice. If it's a little roadside stand with a homemade label you need to read AND ask what's in their juice.

There are a number of common additives that can cause issues with the fermentation process. Some will actually be listed as "To preserve Freshness" or some similar wording. Any Form of Sorbate (Common) or Sulfite (not so common with juices) can either slowdown, inhibit or prevent fermentation. There are many out there and in some countries outside the USA the laws may be more stringent or less stringent so it comes down to buyer beware.

I would recommend that you always write down and investigate what and why those preservatives or additives are there to do in that container. OF course ask questions on here and whenever possible don't buy or start that wine until you have completed your investigation or received an answer on here.

Secondary Problem:

The flavor of a commercially prepared beverage juice may vary a great deal from the "Real Fruit" name that appears on the label.

Frequently makers will literally water down juices since the full strength juice may actually have too strong a flavor for drinking 'as is.' Those juices were made to drink "as is" and being 100% juice only, may not necessarily what you may be get.
Some makers will use other juices such as Apple Juice, White Grape Juice, or Pear juice to maintain a good flavor but reduce the cost.
In many cases those other juices may not be a problem but if you ignore those facts, your wine may turn out very differently than a wine made from a 100% Named Juice. (A 100 Blueberry Juice made wine vs A Combination juice wine that has more Apple, Grape and/or Pear juice than blueberries.)
In the end if you're happy all is well but don't be surprised if the flavor turns out different than a wine you tried somewhere else.

One recommendation about this is to of course read the label and recognize that contents are customarily listed in the order of the percentage present in the container. The other option is to look for concentrates which will allow you make that wine base as strong as you want - using only 3 quarts of water when the container says to add 4 quarts of water.

MANY people successfully make wine all the time from those commercially prepared juices, BUT many have also encountered avoidable issues because they just didn't do the research before they jumped in. Standing in the aisle of the store reading a label and looking up the ingredients on your phone may seem strange to some folks but.... (Hey you might even make a new friend because someone was curious about what you were doing.)

To the very experienced folks and chemists I would invite you to add any additives you are aware of that are found in prepared juices (And fruits too) that could prevent or inhiibit a fermentation process or lend an 'off' flavor.
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