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Popular Red Grapes for Home Winemakers

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Ever wonder what the most popular red wine grapes are to use when making red wine at home? Well, wonder no more. Here is the list you’ve been looking for.

Try using these four popular red wine grapes as you begin your home wine making journey:

Cabernet

Merlot

Old Vine Zinfandel

Petite Sirah

 

Why these grapes you ask? Well, here are a few things to consider:

  • Cabernet – This is age worthy wine; cellar for 10+ years, produces a dry and full bodied wine with medium to high tannins, medium acidity and has 5–15% ABV
  • Merlot –This wine can be aged in your cellar for 10+ years and has flavors of cherry, plum, chocolate, bay leaf and vanilla with a tasting profile that makes it a bone-dry wine, with medium to full body, medium to high tannins, medium acidity and 13.5–15% ABV
  • Old Vine Zinfandel – Ages for 5-10 years, it is a bold, fruit forward red that’s loved for its jammy fruit and smoky, exotic spice notes; it makes a dry red with medium to full bodied flavor, medium to high tannins, medium to low acidity and has over 15% ABV
  • Petite Sirah – Another 10+ years of aging and is loved for its deeply colored wines with rich black fruit flavors including sugarplum, blueberry, dark chocolate, black pepper and black tea and makes a dry, full bodied wine with high tannins, low acidity and over 15% ABV

 

What red grape will you start with today? Let us know what popular red wine you are excited to start making this season.

 

Email sales@juicegrape.com or call  877-812-1137 to order or discus making wine from home!

Sources
Written by Michelle Griffis aka the Nutmeg Nose from MWG

Montepulciano 2020 By Joseph A. Picone, DMD

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Montepulciano 2020 By Joseph A. Picone, DMD

I had the pleasure to obtain 10 (36lbs) cases of Montepulciano grapes from Musto Grapes (Frank Musto) on October 10, 2020. Making wine using the many varieties of first class Musto sourced grapes has been an Annual fall event for the Picone family and our friends for the past 30 years or so. Over the years, I have made Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Old Vine Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Malbec, Reisling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, and White Zinfandel to name a few. Each having their own unique qualities to enjoy. Frank and his crew are great in providing all the resources and guidance needed for the first-time wine maker all the way to the seasoned-pro. I was fortunate to have taken a one semester class years ago at Naugatuck Community College on Wine Making given by Bob Herold which together with Frank’s support team has allowed me to create some delicious wines over the years.

I would like to share my experience with you on making this year’s Montepulciano 2020.

The grapes were outstanding. The Brix reading on the refractometer was 25. The clusters were full and the berries were a beautiful deep purple. The boxes were well packed with few if any leaves. We crushed the 360lbs of grapes and immediately added some potassium metabisulphite to kill any wild yeasts. My crusher is also a destemmer, so all the stems were separated from the must during this process. The pH of the must started at 3.70 which wasn’t surprising due to the high Brix reading. I added an appropriate amount of Tartaric acid to bring the pH to a more desirable 3.41 the day of crush. 25 ml of Color Pro enzyme was added at this time as well.

At approximately 24 hours post crush, the Must was inoculated with 35 grams of yeast BM 4X4 in a solution containing GoFerm yeast nutrient. The temperature of the Must at the time of inoculation was 60 degrees F. The yeast solution was well constituted throughout the must. Periodic punching down of the “cap’ was done every 6-8 hours throughout the primary fermentation time.

At 48 hours post crush, the Must temp was 66 degrees F at the Brix reading was 23.5. Fermaid O was added.

At 72 hours post crush, the Must temp was 75 degrees F and the Brix reading was 20. Fermaid K was added.

At 96 hours post crush, the Must temp was 82 degrees F and the Brix reading was 16. I added oak chips to the vat.

At 120 hours post crush, the Must temp was 78 degrees F and the Brix reading was 8.

At 144 hours post crush, the Must temp was 72 degrees F and the Brix reading was 4. 0.9mg of Malolactic culture VP41 was added to the Must and thoroughly mixed in.

At 168 hours(7 days) post crush, the Must temp was 70 degrees F and the Brix reading was 3. The Must and remnant skins were carefully pressed using a bladder press. The raw yield was approximately 27.5 gallons. The Must was placed in cleaned and sanitized demijohns utilizing airlocks to allow CO2 to escape while fermentation progresses, albeit very slowly. The residual skins were heavily consumed during the fermentation leaving behind very little structure. The color extraction was excellent and provided a deep rich purple wine. More Oak chips were added to each of the glass carboys/demijohns.

The slow fermentation in the demijohns went uneventfully and at 2 months, careful racking was accomplished and an appropriate amount of Potassium Metabisulphite was added to help kill off any more yeast cells(30ppm).

At 6 months post pressing, another racking was accomplished without the addition of any sulphites.

At 9 months, I have just begun bottling and I am very pleased with the wine. It is a crystal clear, deep purple, medium to full body, somewhat fruity flavored wine. I expect it to pair well most any dish but have enjoyed it with pasta, pork, veal, and chicken thus far.

Sincerely,

Joseph A. Picone, DMD

Thank you Joseph for sharing your Montepulciano winemaking experience! If you would like to make Montelpuciano emails sales@juicegrape.com or call 877-812-1137.

New Vineyard – Barison Vineyards, Tehama Valley, CA

Tehama Valley is our newest edition to the Harvest Menu.

Barison Vineyards is located on a hillside made up of red volcanic soil and gravel, this regenerative farm vineyard uses its own compost, plant cover crops, and have cattle and chickens on the vineyard. The owner of this vineyard wrote the vineyard book Vitibook (used at UC Davis), and fun fact – won 7 barrel racing competitions in his home of Piedmont, Italy. We are excited to be bringing you grapes from Barison Vineyards this season! We will have Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Carignane, Dolchetto, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.

 

This season’s wine harvest is HERE!! Download our Harvest Menu to check out what we will be offering this season. Please email sales@juicegrape.com or call 877-812-1137 to order.

A Guide to Cabernet Sauvignon

What is Cabernet Sauvignon?

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Known as the king of red grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys the same regal status in California as it does in its native home of Bordeaux, France. Californian Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be more fruit-forward and mellow, with rich dark fruit notes. The most common aromatic and flavor components found in this varietal are plum, black cherry, blueberry as well as warm spice, vanilla, black pepper, and tobacco. Aside from being known for its dark color and full body, it’s known for often being over 13.5% in alcohol content. The average alcohol content of a Cab from California floats around 14.5%. At Musto Wine Grape we carry a variety of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from multiple AVAs in California, as well as all of the yeasts, nutrients, and equipment you’ll need.

What kind of yeast should I use when making Cabernet Sauvignon?

*Note that full expression of the desired characteristics for any of the following yeast strains is based on proper care and feeding if the yeasts, along with using quality fruit and good winemaking practices. It is also strongly recommended that Go-Ferm and Fermaid-K are used as well as temperature management throughout the entire fermentation. As always, if you need assistance with any part of your winemaking process, do not hesitate to reach out to us at sales@juicegrape.com or give us a call at (877) 812-1137 to speak with someone who can assist with any product recommendations, procedures, or problems.

BM45 yields a big mouthfeel, notes of cherry liquor, rose petal, jam, plum, berry as well as earthy and spicy elements. It offers color stability and helps to minimize vegetative characteristics.

BDX is an all-around great choice for berry, plum, and jam characteristics. It has a moderate fermenting rate and offers good color retention. By re-enforcing existing tannins, it develops structure in the wine. Because of this, we advise to not use with unripe fruit.

RP15 emphasizes the berry aspects of the fruit, along with color stability, increased mouthfeel, and agreeable tannins.

D254 yields a big mouthfeel and rounds tannins as well as intense fruit. It has a focus on berry and jam characteristics, but more so of dried fruit than fresh. It’s also great for color stability and adds body to blends.

D80 offers big volume and fine grain tannins. It is great for encouraging more positive tannin intensity to a blend.

Where do you source your Cabernet Sauvignon from?

We offer Cabernet Sauvignon from multiple AVA’s within California and Washington:

Lanza-Musto Vineyards in Suisun Valley, CA (Valley, 169, 15, and Koch)

Mettler Family Ranch in Lodi, CA

Napa Valley, CA

Washington State (Clone 33)

Sonoma County, CA (Chalk Hill)

Amador, CA

King’s River, CA

Paso Robles, CA

Central Valley, CA

Is there a certain winemaking procedure specific to Cabernet Sauvignon?

You can follow our Red Wine Grape Procedure which you can find here, if you are using juice you can find the procedure here and if you are using frozen must, here. The procedure is standard for making red wines, but using the proper yeasts and nutrients specific for Cabernet Sauvignon and consistent monitoring will have the biggest impact on your final wine.

Where can I buy grapes, juice, or must?

At Musto Wine Grape Company, all red grape varieties are available in 36lb cases, in frozen must by request, or in 6-gallon fresh juice pails. For Sterile Juice options that can be shipped year-round and without refrigeration click here.

Finally, if you need the best options and equipment suited for you and your winemaking goals, email sales@juicegrape.com or call (877) 812 – 1137 to speak with one of our Musto Crush Crew members who can help. We are here to provide all of the winemaking products you need to make the wine of your dreams, as well as the customer support to ensure your success!

How much wine will my case of California grapes make?

Crates, pounds, liters, gallons, must, finished wine, juice… there’s a lot of terms and volumes floating around in your head during winemaking season. Simplify your life with the following explanation of how much volume you should expect to be getting from your grape order.

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Each case of wine grapes from California and Washington State is 36lbs. Depending on the grape variety, you should yield about 2-2.5 gallons of must per case.

*Keep in mind that all of these are estimates. Some grapes will yield a bit more and some a bit less depending on the variety.*

A good rule of thumb is that 20lbs of grapes will yield roughly 1 gallon of finished wine. So each case should give you about 1.44 gallons of finished wine, equating to about 7 bottles of finished wine generally speaking..

If you want to make 5-6 gallons we suggest using 3 cases of grapes. The extra case will give you room for error when pressing and racking, plus extra wine for topping off during the aging process. If you use only 2 cases of grapes, make sure you have a 5 gallon carboy handy in case you loose a little juice during the winemaking process. You don’t want any headspace in your carboy.

For more information regarding the Fall Harvest please feel free to contact us at sales@juicegrape.com or give us a call at 877-812-1137. We are looking forward to helping you with your next great wine!

Candy Moutain AVA – Washington State

Candy Mountain AVA – Washington State

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Candy Mountain is one of Washington State’s newest pending AVA’s. It is 784-925 elevation with around 60 acres planted. The soil is a mix of scooteney silt loam, shano silt loam, warden silt loam, and warden fine sand loam. Candy Mountain is a south-facing slope that sits just southeast of Red Mountain (Napa Valley of WA). We are calling Candy Mountain the “Suisun Valley” of Washington State. With outstanding growing conditions, this AVA produces wine that is fruit forward, rich, bold, and intense.

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Grapes Available:

Cabernet (Clone 33)

Merlot

*All red grape varieties are available in 36lb cases, in frozen must by request, or in 6 gallon fresh juice pails from Lodi, CA. For more notes on Red Winemaking click here -> from grapes, from juice, from must. For Sterile Juice options that ship year-round without refrigeration click here

For more information regarding the Fall Harvest please feel free to contact us at sales@juicegrape.com or give us a call at 877-812-1137. We are looking forward to helping you with your next great wine!

Lanza-Musto Vineyards and Suisun Valley Harvest Update {071720}

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Lanza-Musto Vineyards and Suisun Valley Harvest Update

as of 07-17-20

We were able to catch up with Ron Lanza this week. He said, “Harvest in Suisun Valley is looking to be about 1 to 2 weeks earlier than last year. Bud break was 10 days earlier than last year and Mother Nature seems to be keeping up with that trend. We are already seeing color (veraison) in the Brunello Clone Sangiovese vineyards! We have been busy doing a lot of thinning this year and the crop should be the perfect size. The Malbec is looking especially good this season. We are looking forward to sending these great grapes to the East Coast!”

Grape Varieties Available:

  • Barbera
  • Chardonnay
  • Clone 8 (“Valley Cab”) Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Clone 15 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Clone 169 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Koch Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Malbec
  • Muscat Cannelli
  • Merlot
  • Mouvedre
  • Petite Sirah
  • Petit Verdot
  • Primitivo
  • Riesling
  • Brunello Clone Sangiovese
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Syrah
  • Tempranillo

*All grape varieties are available in 36lb cases or in frozen must by request

Juice Varieties Available:

  • Chardonnay
  • Napa Gamay (Pink)
  • Muscat Cannelli
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc

*All juice varieties are available in 5.25 gallons pails, cold settled, zero additions or balancing done to the juice. 

For more information regarding the Fall Harvest please feel free to contact us at sales@juicegrape.com or give us a call at 877-812-1137. We are looking forward to helping you with your next great wine!

2020 Washington State Harvest Update {7/14/20}

Washington State is off to a great growing season. It started out a little cooler than normal but the weather is heating up and we are seeing 80 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. In late August, Washington will be seeing 90+ degrees during the day and 50 degrees at night. The Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon should start harvesting around mid-September to arrive at Musto Wine Grape around last week in September/1st week in October.

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The Cabernet (Clone 33) from Washington State will be coming from the Candy Mountain AVA. It is 784-925 elevation with around 60 acres planted. The soil is a mix of scooteney silt loam, shano silt loam, warden silt loam, and warden fine sand loam. Candy Mountain is a south-facing slope that sits just southeast of Red Mountain (Napa Valley of WA). We are calling Candy Mountain the “Suisun Valley” of Washington State. With outstanding growing conditions, this AVA produces wine that is fruit forward, rich, bold, and intense.

If you’re interested in trying a different Cabernet, the Washington State Cabernet is a great option for your 2020 Vintage. More on the arrivals of these grapes in the coming weeks. MWG will be sourcing Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir from Washington State this season. The grapes are available in 36lb cases or by request as frozen must.

For more information regarding the Fall Harvest please feel free to contact us at sales@juicegrape.com or give us a call at 877-812-1137. We are looking forward to helping you with your next great wine!

2020 Central Valley Grape Harvest Update {7/10/20}

We spoke with Joe from Cry Baby Vineyards this week and he said, “the 2020 harvest is off to a great start. We had good growing conditions throughout the year and veraison is happening in the Black Muscat and Teroldego vineyards. The crop is looking to be of normal to light size. This means well balanced berries for great winemaking results. We are projected to have some higher degree days in the coming weeks. Due to this, we are thinking harvest might be 1-2 weeks earlier than last year. The earliest ripening fruit should start coming off the vine around August 20th if the weather stays on this track.”

We at Musto Wine Grape will keep you updated as the California harvest develops!

Frank Musto’s Black Muscat Vineyard

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Black Muscat Grapes going through Veraison

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What is Veraison?

Veraison occurs when the berry transitions into the ripening stage. From now forward the berry will increase in sugar concentration until it is harvested at the desired brix level. Grapes for sparkling wine or champagne are harvested around 17 brix and grapes for still wine are harvested around 25 brix. The brix level will determine the alcohol level in the wine. For example, a grape picked around 25 brix should create a 12.5% alch by volume wine.

Teroldego going through Veraison

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Interested in making Black Muscat or Teroldego?

Check out these blog posts below for more details!

Teroldego

Black Muscat

If you are interested in purchasing wine grapes or winemaking juices this fall please email sales@juicegrape.com or call 877-812-1137 for pricing and information. We are looking forward to speaking with you about your 2020 vintage!

2020 Lodi Wine Grape Harvest Update {7/9/20}

The 2020 Lodi Wine Grape harvest is starting to take shape. Crop timing is about 5 to 7 days ahead of last year, making it more of a “normal” crop year. The fruit set is looking average to light, but mostly average in size. This should produce good, well balanced berries for winemaking. Lodi has had ideal wine growing weather and is expected to have a great harvest this year.

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Here’s a quick look at some of Lodi’s more popular varieties and when they might start to harvest:

Chardonnay

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 8/25/20

Pinot Grigio

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 8/21/20

Pinot Noir

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 8/28/20

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 9/5/20

Sauvignon Blanc

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 8/26/20

Merlot

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 9/4/20

Zinfandel

  • Crop: Average
  • Harvest Start Date: 9/4/20

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If you are interested in purchasing wine grapes or winemaking juices this fall please email sales@juicegrape.com or call 877-812-1137 for pricing and information. We are looking forward to speaking with you about your 2020 vintage!

A note about Covid-19 precautions: Delta packing continues to be extra vigilant when it comes to the safety of their employees and customer to ensure that the grapes are harvested and shipped safely this year. In the vineyards and main facility, temperature checks are taken daily for everyone, hand washing and sanitation stations are in every work area, and social distancing is required.