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Making some wine

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Haven't made my own wine for a few years now.

85% of the Sauvignon Blanc vines in the Niagara region were killed by the nasty two last winters. Couldnt get grapes locally so got some trucked all the way from California.

7 cases of Sauv Blanc. Grapes (a little more than 250lbs)

Washed and disinfected all the vessels, airlocks, corks, crusher , press and other accessories needed.

Will start on it tomorrow morning.

Expect the first sip in January-February. No oaking, aging.
post #2 of 27
I'm in...... thought about it.... seems to labor intensive for me but I'll check your method out.....
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Setup and cleanup is actually most of the labour. Pretty much like smoking.:-)

White is pretty straightforward. Red requires some extra steps as some of fermentation (if not whole) takes place on skins (before pressing). There were years when I was doing four grapes grapes. That would fill two weekends easily.

Unlike smoking you get some instant gratification. The freshly pressed juice is excellent. Which reminds me: need to buy some chestnuts. Roasted chestnuts + fresh grape juice - another treat of my childhood.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

post #5 of 27

I'm in for the view..      


It is so interesting to read that grape availability back east was impacted by harsh winters and out here it is the drought.  Glad to see you can get grapes shipped back to you.  Contrary to belief wine grapes do pretty well in low water conditions, to a point.  Sugar content increases but yield can decrease.   Makes for some interesting wine!

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
You are correct. Moderate drought works well for wine grapes. I don't get them shipped. There are a few businesses in the area who import them (lot of Italians and Portuguese around here).
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
"Scooped" as much free run as I could with a pitcher. About half of the juice. With a spigot at the bottom of the crushing barrel you can get a lot more...2/3. I prefer not to poor the free run thru the press...minimize oxygen exposure.

Grape mash loaded into the press

post #8 of 27
Is that a hand crank press.... looks pretty old.... Hand-me-down maybe......
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
Yep...hand crank. Wish it was handmedown.Bought of kijiji (craiglist).
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Broke out the science kit.


Brix almost 27...sweet juice

Translates in 16.7% potential alcohol. Of course you don't get this much with natural yeast (not that I want it anyway).
Edited by atomicsmoke - 9/13/15 at 4:13pm
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Note the press screw at the beginning

And after pressing

And the cake
post #12 of 27

Wow that press brings back memories.  My Italian grandfather had a press similar to that he made himself as a worker in a coal mine foundry.  When they had downtime he could use scrap to make whatever he wanted.  My folks had it for a while but left it outside and the termites feasted on it. 


Right now I'm sipping on a 2010 Sangiovese one of my daughter's Italian inlaws made. Nothing better than homemade wine.  


This is a great thread Atomicsmoke!

post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Beleive or not winemaking tools have not changed much. Of course you can get stainless steel presses these days. But old school cage build are still available (and more affordable)

post #14 of 27

I have a lot of friends scrambling in the annual "grape harvest panic" mode. All of the grapes are coming earlier this year, with smaller yields. From what I've seen so far, the berries have exhibited great flavors and higher than normal brix levels. Most of the local vineyards, the harvests are down 70-80% yield from last year, due to the drought. 




Be fun to see and taste the results in a next couple of years.

post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Temperatures dropped over the weekend. Had to kickstart the fermentation - put a heater in the garage. We are back to above seasonal, the juice is bubbling nicely, foamy at the top (showing vigurous fermentation).
post #16 of 27

I am following this with interest. Great thread.



post #17 of 27

Ok, I am watching...... but I thought you used voluminous nekkid female virgins to squish the grapes..... you know, dancing around and wrestling in the tub of grapes.

post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 

I posted the offer but no one showed up. So we all got barefoot.
post #19 of 27
Originally Posted by atomicsmoke View Post


I posted the offer but no one showed up. So we all got barefoot.


I always think of this:



But I think this would be more fun:


post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Illustrating oxidation in wine (and grape juice).

Left hand glass has a sample of the juice taken from the fermentation demijohn. Right hand glass has the same juice but saved in the fridge after pressing (to enjoy as juice - fridge temp prevents fermentation). As we drank the juice there was more exposure to oxygen. The juice in the fermentation vessel has a layer of CO2 instead of the airpocket (from fermentation) - which shileds the juice. Once fermentation is finished and the juice topped up I will add potassium metabisulfite to further prevent oxidation. The main exposure happens during racking.
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