Wine from real live grapes! I should have washed them.

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Senior Member
Feb 21, 2009
Reaction score
Ok so I stumbled upon a deal and bout 9lbs of black and red grapes. I've read that you're suppose to freeze them and in my excitement and haste I dashed home and threw the bags into the freezer, without washing the grapes first.

My question is whether or not I should try washing them after I take them out and pick them apart? And if so, what would be the best way to do that.
First grapes do not need to be freezed, unless you plan
to make wine out of them later. So you freeze them for saving them for later.

You could have just crushed them, start fermenting and then
pressing using a cheesecloth (by lacking a real press).

Freezing does however helps releasing the juice. So part
of the crushing will be done by freezing.

Now about the washing.

First the good news: do you think the wineries wash the grapes ???
Of course they don't.
Just use sulphite to kill of any nasties that took a ride on the grapes.

Now the bad part.
You could not wash them anymore even if you wanted to.
Freezing has penetrated the skin of the grapes in such a way that when thawing juices will be released almost without pressing.
So when you would wash them valuable juices would be lost.

So the procedure is:
- Thaw them
- crush them
- add sulphite
- take a reading and adjust acid and sugar according to
the reading
- add nutrients
- add a yeast starter.
- pulp ferment in a primary covered with a cloth.

After a week or more (as the color of the must is dark) press the pulp in a cheesecloth or a real press and transfer to secondary.

That's it.

Thank you, Luc. I had been going through all of the books I have at home, and I remembered seeing something about freezing for fruit, and I didn't want to take a chance that if I didn't freeze the grapes that I would have missed a step. This will be the first wine from actual fruit, not concentrate or juice, and I'll admit I'm a little apprehensive.

Well since freezing helps if I wanted to save for later, I'll probably wait a few days before I start.

Thank you for the advice.
mmmmm bug parts

The dirt and bug parts give your wine that special "je ne sais quoi":D
Not to many places wash grapes, they just run most through their crusher/destemmers and put right into fermenter. If they were Muscadines or Scuppernongs then freezing would help as those have very strong cell structures and if you dont have a crusher then you are in for a lot of work.
When I worked at a small, ultra-premium winery, the winemaker was so concerned about dilution that he would have a fit if he saw anyone with a hose anywhere near the grapes that were waiting to be crushed. Every time we had to spray down the sorting tables, presses, etc. (which was very often!) we had to make sure that the skids of fruit were not anywhere near the equipment in case the over spray or mist from the hoses would land on the grapes. Apparently, even a small amount of water on each berry quickly adds up and can cause dilution in the final wine. So in other words, washing is a big no-no.
Je ne sais quoi moi meme, just wash your feet first girl.
Feet...uhm no.

I promised my friends I would only use my hands and they promised they would try the finished product.:)


Latest posts