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Handy Andy

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Hi

I am panicking slightly having just bought a new house, with 3 small vineyards. I have never made wine before let alone had a vineyard. I think I am going to need some advice. I have a few months before the grapes are ready, and the previous owners left some equipment to make wine behind. There is a big tub I presume for stamping on the grapes, and a press for crushing the grapes, are there pros and cons as to which to use? Would a wood worm infected press affect the taste of the wine? There are barrels made of plastic, wood and of stainless steel, is one better than the other? How is the sediment cleared before the wine goes into the barrels? What is the best thing to do with the grapes after they have been separated from the juice? Is there a step by step fast start guide to making wine for dummies? There are some plastic dustbins, could these have been used for the primary fermentation?
The previous owner has left behind a lot of containers with both white and red wine in them, the white wine tastes OK ish, the red wine is very acidic, is it safe to drink? Might it dissolve the enamel on my teeth? Could the reason for the acidic taste be acetobacter? and is the wine unrecoverably spoilt ie vinegar.

Cheers
Andy
 

salcoco

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also visit the Wine Magazine web site I believe they have a book for sale for backyard vineyard
 

Handy Andy

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Should I be concerned about my wine press with wood worm introducing unwanted bacteria at an early stage. When I will be adding sulphates to kill of unwanted bacteria and yeasts prior to fermentation?

What type of wood is best used in a wine press, if I decide to rebuild the wooden section?
 

laxarwolf

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Welcome to the wonderful hobby of wine making. There may be a club of wine makers near you. I suggest you find out. Also find out where your local homebrew store is. They will be a life saver.
 

montanarick

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Should I be concerned about my wine press with wood worm introducing unwanted bacteria at an early stage. When I will be adding sulphates to kill of unwanted bacteria and yeasts prior to fermentation?

What type of wood is best used in a wine press, if I decide to rebuild the wooden section?
My choice would be hard maple
 

Handy Andy

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Thanks for the tip. I have plenty of time to fix it.

A lot of the equipment left behind looks in a rough way. I am going to buy some new primary fermentation barrels.
One of the wooden barrels has a sherry smell to it. So will need cleaning before I use it.

I noted after reading down some of the threads on this forum. Some of the red wine left behind in plastic bottles, has a light white film on the top, indicating it has turned to vinegar. Other bottles dont have this film, but still tastes very sharp, vinegar like. I am wondering if he used a bought yeast or not?

I have another question. I have noted about a dozen vines dont seem to be doing so well, the leaves are not developing, I can see no parasites or mildew on the leaves. Do vines have a lifetime, or could something be eating the roots? The only insects I observed on the plants were ants, could these be attacking the plants? I scraped some of the soil off around the base of one plant and saw no insects, or anything looking wrong.
 

Rice_Guy

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A few basics, wine is a preservative system! Exclusion of air will limit oxidation and most micro growth, pH below 3.5 will eliminate pathogens, 11% plus alcohol will eliminate most microorganisms. Our biggest risk is oxygen which allows surface growth, vinegar producers are one subfamily (but balsamic vinegar is a food too), chemically based oxidation of ethyl alcohol produces burn flavors.
introducing unwanted bacteria at an early stage. When I will be adding sulphates to kill of unwanted bacteria and yeasts prior to fermentation?
The bad I read in your post is wine is a learning curve added onto moving into a home.
The good is you will find locals willing to help use your bounty.
 

Handy Andy

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I have just come out of quarantine today, so will be off to see my new neighbors asking for tips.
I have a lot to learn.

Is the Primary fermentation done in a closed container or open. I read that it needs oxygen stirring into the mash when pressing down the pulp.
 

Rice_Guy

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Traditional primary is done open as in a wood vat. Oxygen is required for the phase where the small packet of yeast innoculum is reproducing. The end of the process, producing alcohol requires to force yeast into inefficient respiration and yielding alcohol (ie no oxygen). If your property is modern you probably have large plastic bucket or totes.

I am probably more liberal than most since I have no issue putting in glass under airlock after three days (1.040) and leaving for winemaker magazine conference, ,,, the yeast have to go anaerobic anyway.
 

sour_grapes

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The end of the process, producing alcohol requires to force yeast into inefficient respiration and yielding alcohol (ie no oxygen).
One interesting thing I have learned here on WMT is that, in the presence of high sugar content, winemaking yeast will go into anaerobic fermentation even if plenty of oxygen is present. This surprising result is known (after its discoverer) as the Crabtree effect. It is theorized that this tendency evolved so that these yeast could dominate the environment.
 

Handy Andy

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Thanks for that.

Invited 3 sets of neigbours here today and thought I would ask them about the red and white left behind. :(

The White is, they think, extremely good, for me its drinkable. Horrifyingly they thought the red which I think is vinegar is exceptional for these islands. ARgh. After further questioning they never add yeast, and use only natural yeast producing Vino Cheio. Vino Cheio is to me as a avid wine drinker cooking wine at best or vinegar. Can I produce good wine from these grapes, or should I burn them?

I am not going to spend a year trying to produce wine this bad, helpful suggestions please. What sugar, yeast, additives etc should I use to turn this local product into something drinkable?

If what I have in my cellar is considered good, i know nothing about wine drinking. I have wasted the last 50 years of my life drinking what I thought was good wine. Vino Cheio?, es de vinagre. Ajudar me por favor
 

sour_grapes

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The White is, they think, extremely good, for me its drinkable. Horrifyingly they thought the red which I think is vinegar is exceptional for these islands. ARgh. After further questioning they never add yeast, and use only natural yeast producing Vino Cheio. Vino Cheio is to me as a avid wine drinker cooking wine at best or vinegar. Can I produce good wine from these grapes, or should I burn them?

I am not going to spend a year trying to produce wine this bad, helpful suggestions please. What sugar, yeast, additives etc should I use to turn this local product into something drinkable?

If what I have in my cellar is considered good, i know nothing about wine drinking. I have wasted the last 50 years of my life drinking what I thought was good wine. Vino Cheio?, es de vinagre. Ajudar me por favor
Whoa, back up! Where are you located? I assumed you were somewhere in the US, but clearly you have a more interesting story to tell!
 

Handy Andy

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I have bought a house in Ilha Sao Jorge in the Acores island group. This is in the middle of the Atlantic about midway between Portugal and the US. I sailed here a few years ago and fell in love with the islands so stayed, initially buying a house in Ihla Terceira, then selling that and moved to Sao Jorge. The islands are very pretty and green.

The wine made here is apparently fermented using natural yeast. It is a shock to the taste buds, and known locally as Vino Cheo. I do not want to take the risk of producing 100's of litres of red wine I can not drink. When I was here last year, I tried the fresh red wine being made and it was OK. It has not aged well.

Before trying to produce my wine later on this year, I am thinking I need to purchase some sulphate and good yeast. I

I would like an opinion on what I can do to produce a good smooth and fruity red wine, and preserve the flavor. I do not yet know which variety of grape I have. Which variety of yeast would be recommended?????

Would it be a good idea to make white wine, which is drinkable, rather than risk making Argh "Vino Cheo" from wild yeasts.
 
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sour_grapes

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Wow, that is fascinating. Yes, visiting the Azores is definitely on my bucket list. (The "other kind" of bucket list.) Cheers to you for taking that leap!

I would definitely try a different yeast. I will say, however, that I am not holding out great hopes that the yeast are going to make a huge change.

I do not have enough knowledge to address some of your other questions, and am hoping one of our more knowledgable winemakers can speak to them!
 

Handy Andy

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Yes the Azores is very nice, no crime, and very calm, also as of today 5 cases of corona virus and none on this island :)

Update I had the original owners around this afternoon.
We have the following grapes mainly white.
Marinho
Cheiro
Alverino (this wine has not yielded much for the last few years, note today leaves developing yellow patches)
Verdelho
American Tinte (which is not on the list of allowed azorian wines)

The original owner never used yeast, only adding sugar as needed to raise the alcohol content. He has been making wine since he was a youth, he is now 83 and a bit wobbly on his pins. He drank from a bottle of wine with a white mold on the top and did not complain, Argh!

I have taste buds and would like a wine which is not too acidic and a little fruity.

Does the above help with yeast selection.
 
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