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amorgan

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I bought three grape vines 10? years ago to cover an ugly stretch of fence and they are producing like crazy. I hate to waste them, so I dove in last year and made a batch of wine. I didn't really know what I was doing, and I don't know what type of grapes I have. Seller said they might have been St Theresa, they look like the photos of St T online, but mine have lots of seeds. I mashed in some blackberries because the must was sort of pink/green. I added sulfite/sanitizer the day before yeast, racked it off sediment in April, again in July, then in September added sulfite again and bottled it. It came out pretty good! I opened a bottle with a couple neighbors and they all thought it was so great I did this, but no one begged to take the rest of the bottle home lol.

So this year I vow to improve the taste. For sure I need to test and track better. I have a hydrometer, bought an acid tester, and will keep better notes. In that first batch I started with ~40 lbs of grapes and added six small boxes of blackberries and about 3 lb of sugar (3 gallon carboy). Do you have any suggestions to alter this recipe? Particularly how much sugar should I use - do I base that decision on the must SG? If I add sugar at the start, is this only going to affect alcohol level because the yeast will eat it up, or will that also make a sweeter wine? I'm a little afraid of back sweetening because I don't want a real sweet wine (although I think my neighbors might like that better!) How often should I rack it? How critical is the temperature in the garage/rec room where it ages? Any other suggestions?

Thank you!!!
 

salcoco

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measure the specific gravity add sugar to get a sg=1.092. this will give a abv of 12% browse the internet there are calculators to help determine how much to add.
do an acid test if higher than 8 gram/liter add calcium carbonate to reduce. can add water also but it will make wine thinner
use a good yeast I recommend 71B it will ferment dry let wine clear before making decisions on sweetening.
press once must is 1.00 or lower. rack again in three days off of gross lees. add K-meta rack again in three weeks off of fine lees rack again in three months. wine should clear sometime after three week rack.
temp in room can be 65deg f or better, sweet spot is 70-75degF

the yeast will consume all of the sugar . wait until wine is clear to sweeten if necessary wines best aged least 6 months before making this decision. bench trials d using a sugar syrup from two sugar to one cup of hot water. take 1/4 cup sample of wine add 1/4 tsp of syrup to first , twice that in second, three time this in third taste test calculate for main batch bottle adding k-meta and sorbate
 

amorgan

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measure the specific gravity add sugar to get a sg=1.092. this will give a abv of 12% browse the internet there are calculators to help determine how much to add.
do an acid test if higher than 8 gram/liter add calcium carbonate to reduce. can add water also but it will make wine thinner
use a good yeast I recommend 71B it will ferment dry let wine clear before making decisions on sweetening.
press once must is 1.00 or lower. rack again in three days off of gross lees. add K-meta rack again in three weeks off of fine lees rack again in three months. wine should clear sometime after three week rack.
temp in room can be 65deg f or better, sweet spot is 70-75degF

the yeast will consume all of the sugar . wait until wine is clear to sweeten if necessary wines best aged least 6 months before making this decision. bench trials d using a sugar syrup from two sugar to one cup of hot water. take 1/4 cup sample of wine add 1/4 tsp of syrup to first , twice that in second, three time this in third taste test calculate for main batch bottle adding k-meta and sorbate
Good advice. Thanks for taking the time.
 

amorgan

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measure the specific gravity add sugar to get a sg=1.092. this will give a abv of 12% browse the internet there are calculators to help determine how much to add.
do an acid test if higher than 8 gram/liter add calcium carbonate to reduce. can add water also but it will make wine thinner
use a good yeast I recommend 71B it will ferment dry let wine clear before making decisions on sweetening.
press once must is 1.00 or lower. rack again in three days off of gross lees. add K-meta rack again in three weeks off of fine lees rack again in three months. wine should clear sometime after three week rack.
temp in room can be 65deg f or better, sweet spot is 70-75degF

the yeast will consume all of the sugar . wait until wine is clear to sweeten if necessary wines best aged least 6 months before making this decision. bench trials d using a sugar syrup from two sugar to one cup of hot water. take 1/4 cup sample of wine add 1/4 tsp of syrup to first , twice that in second, three time this in third taste test calculate for main batch bottle adding k-meta and sorbate
If I'm reading my hydrometer correctly, I think I have pretty high sugar already. 1.104? Picture below. And my son gave me a refractometer for Christmas - confusing! - but I think it's reading around 23 brix. Would you say I don't really need to add any sugar?DEB38C3A-D461-4C18-AE02-B56F8EFA013C.jpeg
 

hounddawg

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you got a lot of solids in there, filter thru a sanitized cloth or strainer and check again, and yes that is very high, but i worry that the solids are holding up your hydro meter, but if that reading is right, no you wouldn't need to ad sugar at this time, now i only do country wines and have never done a grape wine, so I'd go with whatever @salcoco says,,
Dawg
 

salcoco

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the benefits of a refractometer would allow measurement at this point with only a drop of liquid not worrying about solids. as fermentation has not started the measurement would be accurate
 

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