Who's making their own wine?

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by SageAdvicefarmgirl, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. SageAdvicefarmgirl

    SageAdvicefarmgirl Well-Known Member

    314
    0
    We planted 10 wine grapes supposedly good for our region (Marechal Foch---for ARK) and 4 seedless grapes for eating fresh and for raisins. They are all 3 yr old plants and soing great, many have as many as 5 bunches per plant this yr. We hope to make wine next year. Just looking for input from the pros!
     
  2. Tribal Warlord Thug

    Tribal Warlord Thug Well-Known Member

    510
    4
    yep, for many years now.....

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    :beercheer:
     

  3. weedygarden

    weedygarden Well-Known Member

    3,707
    478
    Are these all grape wine or are there other flavors?
     
  4. Tribal Warlord Thug

    Tribal Warlord Thug Well-Known Member

    510
    4
    if you would like to start making wine right now, just to get the hang of it...i suggest you start by using fruit juice....100% welches grape juice is a wonderful way to start making homemade wine. if you have a place that sells wine/beer making equipment, then you can get yer yeast there..if not, just buy some online..here is a company that i use for a lot of stuff for our wine and beer..... Home Wine Making Supplies For Making Wine At Home: E. C. Kraus

    you can use regular bakers yeast but thats kind of from the old school winnos..lol

    my method is 2 gallons of juice...10 pounds of sugar...one packet of yeast (i use lalvin yeast LALVIN WINE YEAST ) and 3 gallons more or less of good water........usually has a 7 day fermentation then i rack it to a clean carboy and put it under an airlock.....6 or so weeks later...VOILA! homemade wine.....good luck
     
  5. Tribal Warlord Thug

    Tribal Warlord Thug Well-Known Member

    510
    4

    red grape wine....peach wine....white grape wine and black cherry wine....just to name a few that we've made :beercheer:
     
  6. efbjr

    efbjr Well-Known Member

    260
    1
    Better to make wine :beercheer: rather than hang around and whine! :cry:
     
  7. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    1,897
    1
    I have been making my own wine for a while now and have even made mead and cysers.
    it is very addicting and I started with using the 100% juice frozen concentrate from old orchard, they have tons of cool flavors and they turn out very nice..
    I also use good wine yeasts as they are quite inexpensive.
    My favorite is Lavlin ec-1118- it ferments dry but retains the nice fruit overtones.
    Home made wine stores and ages better for me when I ferment it out to dry and then put just a tad of sweet juice in when I want to drink it.
    I've done fruit wines too once I got the techniques down... Only advice- buy or make muslin bags to put the fruit in cuz it is a bear to get the sediments to settle..
     
  8. Woody

    Woody Woodchuck

    3,347
    25
    I’ve been fermenting for a long time. Best advice I can offer is to create a dedicated area for it. I have a 10’ x 12’ room dedicated to the art. It has a 2’ x 10’ work area with a built in large DEEP sink with high spigot and sprayer. This is for cleaning, which to me is a majority of the work! It is also for dumping, not every batch of wine (even after doing it for years) is going to be acceptable and you will need someplace to dump it. There is also lots of mother in the bottoms of ferment jugs that has to be dumped. No, the table might be 30” or 32” deep, can’t remember but it is a great area to have. Make it as heavy duty as you can, don’t skimp and them worry if it will hold if you need to put 3 or 4 full carboys on it. This table is never large enough either, for some reason it accumulates stuff that should be on the shelves. My room has an interior door, exterior door and window in it. The room is going to smell and get fruit flies. Not a nasty smell but anything fermenting smells, you might not mind but better to be prepared. I primary ferment in crocks, it might be different if you do it with air locks. I use a lot of fruits and grains which require cutting, pitting, grinding and produces lots of compost waste. It is great to open the door and walk outside with pails rather than have to go through the house and risk a spill.

    I have metal shelves on all the walls. You can adjust them for holding carboys, gallon jugs or bottles. There is a lot of various equipment involved, it will take up several shelves and makes for easy grabbing. You might start out with very little paraphanlia but you will add to it, trust me have space planned. Have backups. If you are ready to rack and you grab a hose and it is one you forgot to rinse, it is a pain to drop everything and wait while it soaks so you can clean it. While we are on hoses, make them juuuust a bit longer than you figure you need. That or have a few different lengths, and one really, really long one.

    Gravity is your friend! You can lift crocks or carboys when they are empty, not so easy when they are full. Racking is so much easier when the top of your receiving vessel is lower than the bottom of your syphon vessel. Heavy duty metal shelving can hold several full 12 gallon crocks, not all on the same shelf though. Even being really careful you will still need to let ferments settle after moving them and before racking. Let them ferment where you put them, at least the initial ferments.

    Keep a mop and a bucket handy, specifically for the area and real handy in the area. You’re going to have spills, it is just a matter of when not if. Sponges, paper towels, baking soda and all should be in duplicate on your shelving there. It sucks to go searching for something that you need right then.

    Never turn down free nice bottles, you will always need more. If you find a good deal on really perfect bottles, BUY THEM! You will never get the chance to get them again if they are that perfect.

    The wall space above your sink/workstation is very valuable. I would recommend waiting until you have a few batches completed before palnning what to do with it. You might think two 6” shelves is good but find out you should have put 1 – 12” or that walboard with holes in it for hanging stuff. Give it time and see what accumulates on the bench them plan to fit it all in. As I said before, my workbench accumulates crap no matter what I have to easily put it someplace else.

    Keep a detailed journal of all your batches!!! It sucks to find out 4 or 6 months later that this is a delicious recipe and you can’t remember what you did. I put the recipe, container used, how full it is, date created, dates racked, then the date bottled and what it is called. Label the bottles too. If you have enough, put one bottle away in storage, or a few bottles. Open one every year to two and see how they age. I have one bottle left of a 1982 strawberry that is absolutly delicious. Last time I tried it was…. 1999 when I moved to NC. It is full bodied and dry like a Cabernet Sauvignon only strawberry, never duplicated it since. I have also had some that after a few years they started losing it, you never know. At least I never know.

    Good luck and have fun, it is a rewarding hobby!
     
  9. Tribal Warlord Thug

    Tribal Warlord Thug Well-Known Member

    510
    4
    excellent advice woody....another item you will need is an hydrometer.......this definitly helps gittin yer sugars to the specific gravity levels needed for a certain type of wine you may be trying to produce (dry, semi-sweet or my favorite...country sweet) and also gives good indication where the fermation is at. as far as fermenting goes, i use a 6 gallon plastic fermenting bucket to start with a piece of cheese cloth on top for initial fermenting then transfer it to a 5 gallon glass carboy with an air lock for the secondary period. and yep...it is an addicting hobby!!!1
     
  10. SageAdvicefarmgirl

    SageAdvicefarmgirl Well-Known Member

    314
    0
    We sure appreciate all the info and advice...will be working one up soon, and will let all know our results! Love the company we all kkeep here!
     
  11. Woody

    Woody Woodchuck

    3,347
    25
    Yes, the hydrometer(s), thermometer(s), glasses, spoons, ladles, stirring sticks, air locks, balloons, straining bags, covers, crocks, … You can accumulate a ton of stuff. And, always seem to need one more thing that you don’t have yet! :-})

    I like my wines full bodied and dry. As opposed to grain mashes that you just need flavor and alcohol content. For dryer wines start low on the sugar, you can always add a few cups more but can’t take it out once in there. I found the most informative tool in the room is me. Take a finger and dip it into the ferment and give it a taste. Actually this is one of my favorite things to do! Use your nose and eyes to see how things are going. The more you observe and experience the better your batches will turn out. You should be able to know if everything is going along fine or spot trouble while there is time to fix it. Then there is that magical time when the taste is just right and you know it has finished primary ferment and is ready to strain and put into secondary.

    It is fun to experiment also; you don’t always need to follow a recipe. Take a gallon out of your main mash and have some fun. Give it a taste while still early in primary ferment. Imagine what the final wine will be like and what might make it better, a few peaches, handful of strawberries, an orange, diced rutabaga? Just don’t experiment with large batches. I had 10 gallons of peach once that I did this to, don’t remember what I added but it wasn’t the best idea. It wasn’t dump down the drain bad but it was bring out really late after everyone was already drunk bad.

    Experiment with wild yeasts also. I had a terrific strain from some strawberries that I kept going for several years before being a moron and killing it. Just try and find them with small batches so that you do not lose a lot if it vinegars on you. You should be able to find one from your own grapes as long as you do not spray them. DO NOT WASH THEM, just mash or grind them and make the mash as per the recipe but do not add any yeast. Cover with a cloth and keep an eye on it for a few days. Once you see those tell tale bubbles, foam and that wonderful fermenting smell you might have got it. You won’t know for sure if it a good strain until the wine is finished. Keep a portion of the wine alive by putting about half a bottle worth in a bottle, fill most of the rest with water and put a tablespoon of sugar in it. I use balloons to cover and every few days take a look and see if there are bubbles. When the bubbling really slows down open and put another table spoon of sugar in it. Well, it won’t be bubbling like your mash because in the cold the yeast really slows down but is still alive. After a spell you will need to dump out half the contents and refill with water and do the sugar thing again. I’m sure there are other and maybe better ways of keeping your own yeast alive but this is what an old timer showed me and it has worked fine. Example: I’m pretty sure you do not have to keep it active by adding sugar, just make sure the alcohol content is really low and the yeast should not die.

    To get it ready for a ferment take the bottle out of the fridge and let warm to room temp. Fill a gallon bottle with warm water and dissolve a portion of your sugar in it, I use a cup-a-quart as my starter because it is easy to remember and adjust for later. Whatever I am going to use as my wine base, such as peaches, I’ll mash one up and put it into the jug. Pour half the starter bottle into the jug and balloon it and by the next day it should be hopping along! Dump that into your mash and proceed. Refill the starter bottle with water (and a dram or two of your new wine fruit) a spoon full of sugar and back into the frig until needed.
     
  12. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    1,897
    1
    A great place to learn more about fermenting any kind of brew(from beer to skeeter pee to mead and wine) is one of the sister sites to this one(in fact I found this forum from that one) and it Homebrew forums.. the folks there are super nice and I have learned so much from them.

    I found that site by looking for apple wine recipes and came across the famous "Ed Wort's Apfelwein" the longest thread I have ever read.. made it and it was better than some of the wine I have bought.

    In fact now that baby has shown up(finally) I have to rack about 10 of my one gallons into clean gallon jugs if not bottle them up.. or drink them up!;):beercheer:
     
  13. kevinp

    kevinp Member

    5
    0
    Mhm that sounds like a good recipe - I should try out the tip with the juice because I have just started planting and growing grapes and I guess I will have to wait quite a long time until first grapes grow to be of a good use for wine - is there actual a way of separating good grapes from bad grapes? Does one actually separate grapes or do you take them all?

    I once made wine with real grapes with a friend of mine who is making his own wine since a good couple of years now and he really could give me a lot of great tips and when he even send a bottle of wine to me fro trying out I was quite surprised how good it tasted (well it was the wine I was 'helping' him with... in the end I just reckon that I somehow annoyed him :D ) and he could not give me an answer to the grape - separation question. So I would be quite thankful if someone could tell me if one should separate or pick out grapes one can not use and if so - what kind of method does one use in order to pick the right ones?
     
  14. partdeux

    partdeux Senior Member

    1,734
    2
    There are complete kits available that make it a lot easier. In fact, we found a nearby company that uses the kits, does 90% of the work for us, all on professional level equipment. A bit more expensive, but damn, every batch is as good as the last :)
     
  15. Clarice

    Clarice Well-Known Member

    983
    1
    Thanks for the info. DH has been wanting to try his hand at wine making.
     
  16. SageAdvicefarmgirl

    SageAdvicefarmgirl Well-Known Member

    314
    0
    I'm still growing not make yet, but I understand you gather grapes when at the best sugar stage, if while gathering you see "bad" grapes you would pick them out, but nature does take care of the lot of them while fermenting...

    I sure appreciate all the posts here. I bought a bottle of wine from Marechal Foch grapes, it was not bad (I bought 2, drank one, and will save the other to test alongside my wine after its complete.) Wish me "blessings!"
     
  17. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    4,230
    4
    we're going to make two wines for my big sister's wedding reception
     
  18. SageAdvicefarmgirl

    SageAdvicefarmgirl Well-Known Member

    314
    0
    VERY COOL! I'm jealous, but I'll get even!