Sunday, September 2, 2012

Wine: Wild Grape Wine

Hiking near my house in Bellefonte, PA, I always see wild grapes hanging in the trees.  I pulled a bunch and tasted them.  The tannins are so strong that they made my mouth pucker and dry out instantly; however, they were also sweet so I decided to make some wine.

Once again, Jack Keller was my guru in this process.  Here is his recipe:

13 to 15 lbs ripe fall grapes
1/3 to 1/2 lb finely granulated sugar
1 crushed Campden tablet
3/4 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 pkg Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast

Destem and crush the grapes and place in nylon straining bag. Tie bag closed and place in primary. Squeeze bag to extract enough juice to float a hydrometer in its test jar. Calculate sugar required to raise specific gravity to 1.088. Add sugar and stir well to dissolve it completely. Add finely crushed Campden tablet and stir in well. Cover primary with sanitized muslin and set aside 10 hours. Add pectic enzyme and stir well. Recover primary and set aside additional 10 hours. Add activated yeast, recover primary, and squeeze bag twice daily until active fermentation dies down (5-7 days). Remove nylon straining bag and drain, then press to extract all juice. Transfer juice to secondary, top up if required and fit airlock. Ferment 30 days, rack into clean secondary, top up, and refit airlock. Rack again after additional 30 days and stabilize wine. Sweeten to taste if desired and set aside 30 days, or forego sweetening, set aside 10-14 days, and rack into bottles. Age three to six months.

The only change I had to make was that I did not find 13 pounds of grapes so I had to added more sugar to bring the specific gravity up to 1.080.

Update (September 2012)
I racked a second time into a gallon jug and a growler.  It had a nice pink color and was mostly clear.  I added 4 oak chips to the growler and having tasted both, I would definitely oak in the future.

Added campden tablet + potassium sorbate to both.

Update (10/28/12)
Bottling day

Pleasant, thin taste.  Nice blush color.

Thin, lighter, not as good, but no off flavors

Update (April 2013)
I just took a bottle to Andy's house for a party.  A guest I didn't know mentioned she really enjoyed it and didn't know I made it.  I'll take that as high complement.  I would definitely oak this wine in the future and I would add more if I can find them (where there is a will...).

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