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Making Wine From Grapes

Leicestershire, United Kingdom

Hi, has anyone out there made wine from grapes? I have green and red grapes in my greenhouse. Does anyone have a simple recipe. Many thanks ...



I made some a few years ago Dawnsaunt.

The grapes were of an unknown variety. A neighbour of ours suddenly got a glut of them and gave us pounds. I really should have just extracted the juice, added sugar and then pasteurised and frozen the juice. I should also have made some grape jelly, which I do like.

The wine was, let's say, not Chateau Lafitte. In fact it wasn't even Chateau Wogga-wogga. It was definitely a wine for laying down - and then avoiding. As a wine it made very good vinegar. I have made non grape wines with pretty reasonable results. But I really think proper grape wine should be left to the professionals.

However, assuming you have a reasonable grape variety and know what it is then I suggest that it is quite easy to make a very mediocre wine. If you want a red wine from red grapes then remember that you need to leave the entire grape in the fermenting tub/bowl for some weeks. The colour in red wine comes from the skins, not the juice. If you just ferment juice from red grapes you will get white wine. If you want rose then take the pulp out after a couple of weeks.

In reality, unless you have a high sugar variety and live in a very sunny area (I don't think Leicestershire would qualify) you will have to add sugar. I believe you can buy grape sugar but it is very expensive.

The good news is that your grapes are glasshouse grown so will be far sweeter than the normal outside grape varieties.

You also need a decent wine yeast, don't just add bread yeast. You have to defend against the wine vinegarising with a chemical, a sulphate of some kind but I can't remember which one. (Used to be called campden tablets or something).

But if you have loads of grapes and don't want to make juice or jelly then just squeeze them to get the juice, add a couple of pounds of sugar per gallon. Throw in some yeast. (Actually you may not need to. The skins of the grape have a natural yeast). Let it ferment in a warm room until the fizzing stops. Let it settle and bottle it up. Leave it cool for a few months before trying.

The problem is, drinkable wine is not easy to make. May I say with tongue firmly in cheek that I just hope nobody asks me to try a bottle. Sorry about this but I prefer spending £4 on a drinkable potion.

16 Oct, 2008


Sarraceniac - sorry to hyjack this qustion - but how do you pasturise fruit juice? I get a glut of apples this time of year and ofter wonder if I could bottle up the juice, but I'm always afraid that it will go off and I'll poisen everyone - especially myself! Sid.

16 Oct, 2008


Not at all Sid. There are so many types of pasteurisation that it is a joke. For this we are talking about increasing the temperature to 71.7o C.for about 12 minutes. It kills most pathogens. If you pasteurise apple juice (love it by the way) you must make sure that the bottles are either SEALED COMPLETELY or, what I prefer in that it lasts longer, freeze it.

16 Oct, 2008


Interesting Marguerite. I think my 4 or 5 quid for a bottle of Hardy's Chardonnay is a real bargain.


17 Oct, 2008


Thanks for that, John and Marguerite. So, for the purposes of making juice at home, do I just put the juice in a big saucepan and bring it to the boil? I would have thought this would alter the taste of the juice by cooking it? Also, (and sorry if I'm being a bit dense here) how do you extract the juice from the apples? I live in cider country, so of course i've seen the big stone presses where a horse or cow would have pulled a great stone wheel in the old days to crush the apples and then the mush would go through a press with sacking - called cheese cloth I think - but I've no idea what the 'modern' way is! :-)

17 Oct, 2008


No Sid. The whole point of pasteurisation is that you don't boil it. The medical profession uses 70.7o (call it 71o) which is nowhere near boiling. You will need a thermometer.

The household way of juicing apples in small quantities is to use a food processor or smoothie maker. Zizz them up to a pulp then sieve out the pulp. Don't over process or the pulp will go through the sieve. If you want clearer juice then use a very fine sieve but I quite like a cloudy juice especially with Cox's or Granny Smith's, my 2 favourite apples.


17 Oct, 2008


I started growing one vine in the back garden, pinot gris, very herd to grow small bunches and not much yeild, The vine is now seven years old and I have four three year olds ready to show grapes next year and thirty yearlings.

The wine

hard to make a bottle of wine from 2lb of fruit, however,


measure the juice ie 750ml
add to the juice 1 cup sugar mixed with 2cups warm WATER and set aside in a glass bowl in your kitchen 18c or room temp, this will be ideal for fermentation to begin, I rely on the natural yeast produced on the grapes though this method is hit and miss depending on weather or not enough natural yeast has been produced.

You can harvest at any time but early slightly unripe gives for more acid and will give the best champoniase this side of france.

When you see bubbles begin to form on the top of the juice you know fermentation is under way, leave this happen , between 5 to 10 or even fifteen days. at this stage you need to filter the juice through A FINE filter to remove the crap. Mke sure all your kit is sterile Boiled etc.

Now for the good stuff.
Known as racking, pour the juice you have into a demijon or any glass vesel for the ammount of juice you have, In my case a wine bottle dark green with a screw cap,


Add 18 grammes/ 3 teaspoon sugar to the bottle along with 0.3 grammes yeast.

Tighten cap and lay on side. leave on side in a dark place for 12months.

after this time begin to riidle the bottle over a period of 3 months so that by the second month the bottles are standing verticly, slower the better, Ridling is turning the bottle half turn and placing it back, the reason for starting this is to eventualy have the bottle standing verticly and the LEES settles in the neck of the bottle.

Opening the bottle.
You need to freeze the neck of the bottle, I USE APLUMBERS KIT TO FREEZE MINE.

once frozen turn bottles upright in the sink and release the screw cap, when the plug of ice begins to melt it will shoot out taking the lees with it.

Use one bottle to top up the others and recap, GOOD LUCK

if you get it rite you will be overjoyed at the champonaise you have made.
PS Serve dead cold.

13 Sep, 2009


this is the way we do it

13 Sep, 2009

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