First try at making wine

happyday(WI4a)September 15, 2011

My first try, I took 35 pounds of red grapes, washed them and ran them through the blender along with 3.5 pounds of sugar. Made just over 4 gallons of juice. Put about 3 gallons of the mix in a stainless steel stock pot with a cheesecloth tied on, and put the other gallon in two plastic bottles. The plastic bottles have no yeast added, just whatever wild yeast was on the grapes. I did not sterilize the juice. The big steel pot had about a tablespoon of Red Star bread baking yeast added to it.

What's the worst that could happen?

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The Red Star baking yeast will be iffy. You don't normally use bread yeast for wine making, much better to source wine yeasts.
I hope you put 'bubblers' on the other two plastic containers, you could have exploding bottles.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 6:01PM
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Iffy in what way? a bad taste or not enough alcohol tolerance to finish using up all the sugars? Have you tried using bread yeast? What happened? I did buy some good yeasts for wine and champagne but I already have so much bread yeast. Should I store the wine yeast packets and yeast energizer in the freezer?

Thanks I know about having to let the carbon dioxide escape. The pots have cheesecloth, the bottles have coffee filters tied on. Now I have rubber stoppers and airlocks, will switch to using them tomorrow.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 1:53AM
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I believe the taste will be off. I've never tried Bakers yeast, was warned off by my teacher.
The yeast packets are freeze dried, so will last just about forever, so don't need the freezer, same with the energizer.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 8:28AM
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Teacher? Is there a class you can take on making wine? That sounds interesting. Where did you take it? Is there a book that you would recommend?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 12:28PM
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Teacher? No way, I'm 75!
I have a number of books. 'Wine like those you buy' 'Country wines'.
There are dozens of wine making books, just search Amazon.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 7:22PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

It doesn't sound like you made a large amount or spent much on it, so why not just try it and see what you get? Make sure you give it plenty of time to age properly before judging it. You might like it, you never know until you try.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 2:19PM
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Beeman, I ordered Country Wines since you recommend it. Thanks!

Sheryl, the grapes were free but I spent about 60 bucks or more so far on airlocks and books and other adds up...not complaining though! I just wondered if anybody had used bread yeast, and what happens when you do. Does it taste like bread, or not make enough alcohol. If so I should be able to re-ferment later by adding champagne yeast and more sugar and restarting the primary. How much time do you think I should give it? 6 weeks or 6 months?

By now I have also started a pepper wine from pepper cores and a tomato wine from tomato juice. Used bread yeast on all of them. The bread yeast was perking away in the tomato wine so I threw a half cup sugar's only a 3 liter it's foaming over the top. How can I slow it down? I think I'll put a few drops of olive oil in there.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 9:59PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

I have never use anything other than wine yeast. I have talked to people who have used bread yeast, however. i think it will work fine, more slowly and with a different flavour, but it should work.

I don't know how you would slow it down at this point. Can you cool it down? An ice wrap or ice water in a tub? That would slow it down. Maybe siphon it into a larger container with more head space?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 8:55PM
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I didn't have olive oil so put a few drops of grape seed oil in there and it slowed it right down. Flattened it actually, but it is still fermenting, I can tell by the airlock.

A guy told me they used to put olive oil in wine to isolate it from air, to keep it from oxidizing. So the grape seed oil should be ok.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 10:42PM
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I too have just started making wine. I have been using bread yeast, and it seems to work fine, but I think it probably does give the wine a different, but not bad flavor. I made some elderberry that is great. I am going to try some wine yeast on my next batch to see what difference it makes.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 2:57PM
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Poecat, did your wines made with bread yeast have high or low alcohol content? Did you add sugar?

Did you use pectic enzyme? I didn't know about pectic enzyme, have had the stuff fermenting for two weeks now. Can I add pectic enzyme now and ferment for another week or two?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 3:28PM
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Unfortunately I dropped my hydrometer and broke it before I could use it. Just my luck. So I don't know the alcohol content, but it is definitely alcohol. I hope to get another one soon so I can test my next few batches.

Yes. I used sugar for making fruit wine (elderberry, peach, pawpaw, and mint). From what I have read you don't have to use sugar with grapes, which is what I think you are making, but I don't know that it will hurt it. Probably just make it a sweeter wine?

I have not used pectic enzyme. I don't know anything about it either.

I'll have to check my book about how to stop fermentation. I know one way is to place it in a cooler area. Below 60 degrees.

Here's another good book - Folk Wines, Cordials, and Brandies: How to Make Them, by Moritz Jagendorf. It's old, but very good if you want simple recipes and procedures. It's the book I have been using. Maybe your local library has it.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 1:56PM
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Thanks Poecat I'll look for that.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 11:47PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

You do need pectic enzyme to clear the wine. It won't hurt the wine to add it now, so you might as well give it a try.

You don't have to add sugar, but you won't get a very high alcohol content if you don't. I would not bottle wine without testing it with a hydrometer first just to make sure. It is worth buying another hydrometer to avoid popping corks and bursting bottles. The darn things do break easily!

I always use the Lalvin EC-1118 wine yeast. Most wine suppliers carry it now. It can take alochol up to about 18%, as well, before dying off, so be aware of that. It's a much faster acting yeast than bread yeast too, considerably hotter, so that will make a difference.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 7:14PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

happyday -

I'm interested in a follow up on that pepper and tomato wine venture. If that turns out well, it may be the answer for all of those unripened toms and peppers from lack of sunshine.

I can't imagine the taste of pepper wine, but I recently made the recipe for hot pepper jelly, and now trying to learn to love it. My family won't eat it - ah well, so they aren't too adventuresome anyway - just feed em spaget, Jack-in-the-box stuff or pizza. Why oh why do I try to educate them - I know better by now.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 12:34PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

I had planned to try tomato wine this year too. Just never got there before the frost took them all. Maybe next year if I have time. I have an online seed store so ripe tomato time is just too busy for me to make wine. I am going to just pop them into a bucket in the freezer next year and make the wine in the wintertime.

I have hibiscus petals still in the freezer now to make 5 gallons in the winter. I need to bottle the rhubarb and free up the carbuoy first. I might also add some rose hips to the hibiscus petals now that they are ripe.

I would leave a lot of the winemaking for the winter but just can't keep all those buckets in the freezer.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 11:28AM
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Sheryl won't you have a big outdoor freezer soon? :D

Bejay the unripened fruits might be better used for fermentation in brine. I thought ripe fruits were used for wine because you want the sugars and the full flavor. I could be wrong though, maybe a wine could be made from the green fruit.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 1:15PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

LOL! Yes, I will have big outdoor freezer soon! Too soon!

I suppose you can always add more sugar to unripe fruits but I think the flavour is so much better when they are ripe.

I will have enough ripe tomato fruit to freeze for winemaking next year. I leave them on the vine until fully ripe so the seeds are mature. I plan to save the tomato fruit, after taking out the seeds, and freezing for wine - next year. Didn't do that this year, just no time for it. The tomatoes got over ripe and mushy before I managed to collect the seeds. Next year, I swear I am going to collect the good, ripe tomato material for freezing before it goes bad on the vine!

I have enough wine for this year anyway, (six 5-6 gallon carbuoys making and six 1 gallon jugs) and some to make yet - boxes of apples in the cellar waiting for their time...

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 3:31PM
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How do you get your apples to keep? Mine began to go bad after a week or two.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 8:18PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

sheryl - would it be possible to dry those tomatoes for wine making? I know how tough it is during the season when everything in the garden is ripening all at once. I'm always amazed when I talk with the folks on the Harvest Forum about ways to "preserve" their garden produce. Also - the maneuvering to freeze, can or dry stuff - depending on storage space. I'm always "organizing" my freezer, fridge and pantry to make room for the new arrivals.

I'm on my 3rd batch of lime wine now - a great crop of them this winter. It gets a little easier each time, and with experience a lot better tasting. I think I can squeeze in one more round before they are gone. A lot of the juice has been frozen in ice cube trays. We use some for drinking limeade, and a lot is used in making jellies and fruit cannings.

By the way - I never hear about limits - seems to me the gov't restricts individual alcohol making - but don't recall the details.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 12:36AM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

I have an old fashioned stone root cellar under my porch.:-) Apples keep a long time in there. That's also where I keep my organic wine all year. Without chemicals, it has to be kept cool.

I have never heard of a gov alcohol limit. I'll have to look into that one. I'm in Canada. We have stricter limits on everything here, probably on making alcohol too.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 2:25PM
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