877.812.1137

pH

13 Steps to Making Red Wine from Grapes

13 Steps to Making Red Wine from Grapes 

SONY DSC

1. Sanitize and Crush and Destem – Inspect your grapes and remove any moldy clusters. Crush and destem into clean and sanitized food grade plastic tubs, stainless steel tanks, or glass carboys or demijohns. Always allow an extra 20% of volume for fermentation purposes as the wine will “expand” throughout fermentation. Always rinse your fermentation vessel with a sanitizing strength potassium metabisulfite solution (2oz/gallon or 3tbsp/gallon). Make sure that the sanitizing solution touches all the surfaces of the fermentation vessel and that the vessel is completely emptied out of all sanitizing solution after. Shake free any drops as best you can from the fermentation vessel. Having remaining sulfite liquid in the vessel will prohibit fermentation. Do not rinse the sanitizer off with water after sanitizing as that will reintroduce bacteria to the environment.

2. Once all of the grapes are crushed, try to accurately measure your quantity of must. Add ¼ tsp of potassium metabisulfite for every 5 gallons of must that you have. Mix up the must thoroughly.

3. Wait for 6-8 hours after the sulfite addition and then add pectic enzyme to the must. Musto Wine Grape offers generic pectic enzyme or Color Pro pectic enzyme that is specifically designed for red wine grapes. Follow the directions for the individual type of enzyme. Always mix it with water to create a 10% solution (if you use 5mls of enzyme, mix it with 45mls of water). The water allows it to better circulate throughout the must. Allow the pectic enzyme to work for 12 hours before yeast set.

4. Twenty four hours after crushing the grapes, mix the container thoroughly and take and record your measurements. Measure Brix, pH, and TA. If you need to adjust your must at all, this is the time to do it. Ideally your Brix should be between 23-28 degrees, the pH between 3.4-3.7, and the TA between 6-7g/L. Your initial Brix reading, multiplied by .55, will give you a close estimate of your ending alcohol by volume percentage.

5. If you would like to use fermentation tannins (FT Rouge, oak dust) or fermentation nutrients such as Opti-Red, add them after measurements and adjustments have been made. Musto Wine Grape packages FT Rouge and Opti Red in small packs for 5 gallon batches. If using oak dust, use 1/4cup for every 5 gallons of must. Mix any of these ingredients in thoroughly.

6. After measurements have been taken and any adjustments have been made, it is time to set yeast if you are using a cultured yeast strain. Use 1gram/gallon of wine must. Follow the yeast set directions on the packet explicitly and/or see the separate “Yeast Set” instructions.

7. After you atemperate and add your yeast, you may cover the vessel lightly with an old sheet or towel or place the lid gently on top of the bucket, if an airlock is in place. An air lock will allow the carbon dioxide to escape the pail without additional air getting in to oxidize the wine.

8. Obtain a must punch tool, a long stainless steel spoon, or your bare hands, and sanitize your tool or hands with sulfite sanitizer. This is what you will use to “punch down” or mix up the must three times a day. Try to mix everything very well, pushing all of the skins back down to the bottom, getting them very wet, and bringing up the piqued from the bottom. This should be done as often as possible, preferably three times a day. [Before work (7am), after work(5pm), and before bed (10pm)] When punching down every evening, take a sample of the liquid and using your hydrometer, track the Brix depletion. You should notice a drop in Brix daily.

9. If you are using additional yeast nutrients to assist in fermentation you will add them after fermentation has started. Fermaid O is added at the beginning of fermentation (1 day after yeast set) and all others (BSG yeast nutrient, Fermaid K, AnchorFerm) will be added at 1/3 depletion of the Brix (2/3 of the beginning amount of Brix). Follow the directions for the individual yeast nutrient, hydrating with water and mixing thoroughly.

10. If you are adding malolactic cultures to your wine, you may also chose to do this at 1/3 Brix depletion. If using a malolactic nutrient (Opti-Malo Plus) with the bacterial culture, hydrate the nutrient in a separate container from the bacteria and add to the must directly before the addition of the bacteria. Follow all directions on the bacteria and nutrient packets explicitly.

11. Punch down and take Brix measurements daily. When your hydrometer reads 0.90, you have fermented to dryness. At this point your malolactic fermentation may still continue, but the primary alcoholic fermentation is complete. You may now press the wine. Wash the press and sanitize using potassium metabisulfite. Again, make sure the press does not have an excessive puddles or lingering amounts of sanitizing solution remaining. Sanitize the receiving container (carboy, tank, demijohn, barrel) and any pumps or tubing that you may use. Anything that comes in contact with the wine should be rinsed with sulfite sanitizing solution. Place a screen or mesh (also sanitized) inside of the press to hold back any extra skins or seeds from getting through. Start scooping up the must and placing it in the press. Some of the liquid will immediately flow through, this is the “free run”. When the press is full, slowly begin pressing. Do not try and press every last drop out of the must as this can lead to seed cracking and bitterness in the wine. Fill each container to within ½” of the top and secure a bung and airlock in place. Malolactic fermentation will exude a small amount of carbon dioxide and there will be trapped gas within the wine that will need to escape the container.

12. Allow the wine to sit for 2-3 weeks. You can conduct malolactic chromatography or bring a sample to a winemaker at Musto Wine Grape for analysis to ensure that your secondary fermentation is finished. At this point you should see a nice thick layer of lees in the bottom of the carboy or demijohn. You will want to place the full vessel onto an elevated surface such as a table and place the new, sanitized, empty vessel on the floor below. Using a sanitized siphon, rack the wine into the new carboy. You may have space at the top which will need to be “topped off” with more wine. You can either use wine from another container, or finished wine to do this. It is very important that there is less than a 1/2” of headspace in each container. At this point you should also add 1/4tsp of potassium metabisulfite per 5 gallons of wine.

13. Now it is time to let your wine age. You will need to rack it and add additional SO₂ every 3 months. Make sure you sanitize all equipment and containers when racking and keep them topped off within ½”. Come visit Musto Wine Grape for bottling advice and supplies.

Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec Numbers

Hello Winemakers!

We hope everything is fermenting along well! Below are some numbers were able to take on the grapes yesterday. Cheers and Happy Fermenting! :)

Musto Wine Grape_Chile_1 (4)

pH= 3.55, TA= 4.27, Brix 21.5

cabsav_1

pH= 3.85, TA= 3.31, Brix =23.5

carm_1

pH= 3.95, TA = 4.25, Brix = 23.2

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 2 – What do I need to get started making wine with fresh juice?

Wine expert testing wine silhouette image

 

The Winemaker’s Think Tank? 

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

What do I need to get started making wine with fresh juice?

When elevating your winemaking to the next level, often sourcing the best ingredients is the most direct path to better results. After getting great base experience using wine kits, the next logical step to wine making greatness is fresh juice. When making this change from wine kits to fresh juice, other ingredients may be needed to ensure the juice will reach its greatest potential as wine. First, evaluate your juice for acid (pH) and sugar (Brix). What are the levels present in your juice? If the Brix level is below 20, you may consider adding sugar to increase the Brix levels to 24-26. What is the pH of the wine? Juice should have a pH greater than 3.1 to ensure a successful fermentation. If the pH is higher than 3.8, consider adding tartaric acid. This will ensure a better tasting wine after fermentation as well as a more stable wine.

The next area to consider is yeast. Certain strains of yeast will amplify certain traits within the finished product of wine such as fruit character, spice notes, or floral notes. The yeast has certain parameters that it will ferment best within, so consult a winemaking expert at Musto Wine Grape to help you select the best yeast strain for your wine. The yeast is the important catalyst that will process the grape juice into wine. The yeast will need certain nutrients to best assist it with its fermentation such as a rehydration nutrient like Go Ferm, and subsequent nutrients to finish out the fermentation process such as Fermaid O and Fermaid K. Musto Wine Grape stocks yeast along with all of the aforementioned nutrients in small packages, designed for the individual buckets of juice. This will give you perfectly measured amounts of products to add to your wine, making proper fermentation simple and with no wasted/unused product.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com. 

Washington Merlot Harvest

vineyard image with good sunlight

grapes on vine image

 

Extra, extra, read all about it – we will have Washington Wine Grapes This Year!

Specifically Own-Rooted Merlot from the Rattlesnakes Hills in Yakima Valley.

About the Soil:

The surface layers of vineyard soils are based primarily in loess, which is mostly wind-deposited silt and fine sand derived from the sediments of the ‘Missoula’ ice age floods. The content of the soils consists of a mixture of minerals derived from both the local basalt bedrock and the granite and limestone of northern Idaho and Montana.

Most of the soils are classified as silt loams (mostly Harwood-Burke, but also Weihl and Scoon), which are low in clay. The low clay content creates well-drained soils, encouraging the vines to root more deeply, a factor generally associated with high quality grapes and wines. It also creates an inhospitable environment for phylloxera, an aphid-like pest that feeds on the roots of grapevines. Due in large part to the clay-poor soils, the Yakima Valley is one of the few places on earth where European wine grapes (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir) can still be grown on their own roots, also a factor generally associated with high quality.

The shallow soil profile contains large chunks of calcium-caked gravel and calcium carbonate horizons called “Caliche”. In most areas, the caliche forms a conspicuous white layer under the topsoil that adds mineral complexity. The deep roots of the vines penetrate through the surface layer of loess, which averages 18 inches in thickness throughout most of the vineyard, and into the underlying calcium-rich substrate. This gravelly, high pH substrate forces the vines to struggle, an additional factor associated with high quality grapes and wine.

About Being Own-Rooted:

An Own-Rooted vine is a vine that has no rootstock. This is not common in most wine regions around the world. The rootstock & vine grafting was necessary at one point to protect from specific diseases such as Phylloxera. The Washington soil type is made up of a fine silt loam which Phylloxera hates – this is why they can plant Own-Rooted vines.

It is said that there are differences in the wines from Own-Rooted vs. Rootstock Grafted Vines. There is much debate around this issue. It looks like you will have to be the judge! 

About the Merlot:

The Merlot Clone coming from this vineyard has clusters that are small to medium in size. The berries are small and round. This clone produces a high vigor vine that creates a dense canopy. Yield is usually around 3-5 ton acre depending on the growing season.

The clone produces a soft, full-bodied, fruity wine full of many different complexities. A great Merlot that can stand alone and age – or be added to a blend to give the wine that extra punch of structure.

Mini Harvest Report

It looks like Mother Nature is excited to get her winemaking on because the grapes are ripening early and fast! Download our E-Book for the ENTIRE list of wine grapes and juices we will be bringing in this fall HERE –> MWG_2016 Harvest Menu E-Book

petite sirah_8916

Mini Harvest Report:

Central Valley & Lodi: Brix are in the high teens. We are expecting to have grapes in Hartford, CT as early as September 7th.

Suisun Valley, Paso Robles, Contra Costa, Amador, Sonoma, and Napa: The whites will be harvest on September 1st and should be to Hartford, CT on September 7th. The red grapes are maturing well. The Brix are creeping up there. We think that we are still on track for a September 15th harvest date, with the grapes arriving in Hartford, CT as early as September 20th.

Juices: California juices will start arriving on September 7th. We hope to see the Italian juices sometime in the first week of October.

Prices: The grape and juice prices will be available by August 16th. Please give us a call at the office to secure your order.

We look forward to working with you this fall. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 877.812.1137 or sales@juicegrape.com

Official Pinotage Numbers Are Here

image2 (10)

Official Pinotage Numbers Are Here

Brix = 25  (no adjustment required)

Starting pH = 3.91

Starting TA = .62

Added 1.5gm Tartaric Acid per liter

Final Number are pH = 3.50 & TA = 0.75

​In conclusion, the final numbers are very good!! Looking forward to seeing how this vintage turns out!

#whydoesittakesolong?

Bring On The Bordeaux! – A Home Winemaking Experience (2)

So before we start going into how our wine is doing, we wanted to outline some winemaking terms. Here’s a mini wine vocabulary lesson.

Degrees Brix: Expresses the percentage of sugar by weight. This scale is on a Triple Scale Hydrometer. Measuring the Brix by using a hydrometer will help you determine the level of alcohol you wish to produce in your wine.

pH: This is the potential Hydrogen ion. The pH scale spans from 0, representing extreme acid, to 14, representing an extreme base or alkai. For winemaking purposes only the 0-7 scale is considered and wine should between 3-4. The more intense the wine acid is, (the lower the number) the less free sulfite is needed to afford proper protection and hence wine stability.

Total Acidity: This measurement refers to the amount of acid that is in your wine in grams/liter of percent of volume. Ideally, your TA should be between 0.65%-0.85% for white wine and 0.60%-0.80% for red wines. If the acid is too low your wine is susceptible to bacteria and spoilage. If it is too high your wine will taste too tart.

(sources: 12)

test2test3

We took the must out of the cooler on 10/28 and waited for the must to heat up. Once the must started to heat up we took our measurements. The Brix were 25.5, TA was 5.985, and pH was 3.88. My pH is a little on the higher side. My TA is pretty good for a dry red and my Brix are at a great level to make a 12.5% alcohol per volume wine.

Some tips for taking your pH and TA measurements. I would suggest purchasing some type of all in one SO2, pH, and TA testing equipment. To test TA on your own can be very complicated and not very accurate. I would suggest looking into a Vinmetrica kit. They do all of the tests and it’s easy and accurate.

Also, try not to get distracted and mix up your solutions like I did. It took me 30 minutes to get the correct TA reading because I was mixing in the wrong solution. #airheadmove

Thanks again stopping by and checking out our winemaking process.  The next post will concentrate on yeast, yeast nutrient, and other additives that help the wine during fermentation.

Cheers ~ CM & FJ