Scuppernong Wine #1 – Production Diary

Here is my production journal for my first batch of wine. I took these notes so that if I ever wanted to do it again I could see what I did and learn from my mistakes. I really enjoyed the process, even through thinking I might have killed it once or twice.

September 12, 2007

On Sep 6, 2007 I purchased a wine making kit, additives package and a drill attachment for stirring.
A recipe was found, it is as follows:

Scuppernong Grape Wine
makes 3 gallons

18 lb Scuppernong Grapes
6 lb Sugar
9 quart Water
2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
1 tbsp Yeast Nutrient
3 crushed Campden Tablets
1 package Champagne Yeast

 Gather ripe grapes. De-stem and wash grapes, removing any that are bad. Crush grapes to extract maximum juice, and place pulp in nylon straining bag. Place sugar in primary fermentation vessel, then pour water over sugar, stirring well to dissolve. Add juice and straining bag to primary. Specific gravity should be 1.095-1.100. If not, add more sugar. Add remaining ingredients, except for pectic enzyme and yeast. Cover primary and set aside 12 hours, then add pectic enzyme and set aside additional 12 hours. Add activated yeast. Stir daily, squeezing nylon bag of pulp lightly to extract more juice, until specific gravity reaches 1.030, about 5-7 days. Remove bag and squeeze to extract juice. Add squeezed juice to primary and allow to settle overnight, then rack off of sediment into glass secondary. Attach airlock. When ferment is complete (specific gravity has dropped to 1.000 or below–about 3-4 weeks) rack into clean carboy and reattach airlock. Leave wine to clear for about 2-3 months, then rack into bottles. [Adapted from recipe by Adison Martin]

September 15, 2007

We started harvesting around 5pm and continued for approx. 2 hours. We doubled the recipe and harvested 35 lbs (about 12 lbs were frozen from the previous year).

Grape crushing began around 10pm. we began using a potato masher but that proved ineffective. and tiring. We ended up taking grapes from one bowl and crushing them by hand into another bowl. This worked well. The process took about one and a half hours.

After adding all grapes the must was at approx. 1.095 SG. I added a total of  ~1.5 cups of sugar to raise the Specific Gravity to 1.095. This may seem low but I failed to spin the hydrometer to rid it of air bubbles. I am confidant that the must is neatly between 1.095 and 1.100 SG.

Consider ways to keep ants away from must. Spray Ant & Roach killer was used on cement floor. This is considered a  worst case solution.

The water used was 1 gallon distilled water, 1/2 gallon boiled tap water and 3 gallons filtered tap water.

September 16,  2007

The recipe says to use Pectic Enzyme, 4 tsp for 6 gal recipe. However the directions on the bottle are 1/4 tsp for 5 gal. The volume of the dropper is not much more than 4 tsp. Since it is  my belief that the dropper is for multiple uses i went with somewhere between 1/4 tsp and 1/2 tsp for my mix.

The Pectic Enzyme was put in at about 1pm and mixed in.

There does not seem to be an issue with ants. No bugs seem to be attracted by the must.

The evening stirring it was noticed that  the bag was easier to squeeze.

At 1am  two packets of Champagne Yeast was added.

September 20, 2007

Last night after stirring it was noticed that violent foaming has not occurred. Starting tonight Specific Gravity measurements will be taken. It has been three days since the yeast was added so a steady progression should be seen. The must is a nice light yellow color. The sugary yeasty smell is pleasant.

Outside temps fall into the mid 50's (F) at night and rise to the mid 80's (F) in the day.

Bugs have still not been a issue.

I heard about a good way to clean bacteria off fruit today:

1 part white distilled vinegar
3 parts cold water
Soak or mist onto fruit then rinse off with water.

Apparently this kills around 98% of bacteria; better than commercial products.

Robert suggested making mead. Mead is basically wine made with honey instead of fruit. The plan is to get local honey in late Spring or early Summer. Apparently mead take considerably longer to ferment than wine. Temperatures for fermentation is suggested at 70-75 degrees F.

It is too early to think of labels? Considering multiple runs. A serious label for the majority with two or three smaller runs  with more fun names.

@ 9:30pm the pulp was squeezed and must was stirred. on this 5th day of process the Specific Gravity measures at 1.030. The must will be allowed one more day in primary then the bag will be thoroughly squeezed and removed. When the must is settled it will be racked into the first carboy.

The wine was tasted at this stage. It was sweet as expected and bubbly like champagne, This is from the yeast still working.

Just read a paragraoh in pamphlet stating that yeast packets are good for up to 5 gallons. I did not need two packets. Did this hurt? Doubtful, but might not have needed the yeast starter.

September 21, 2007

Squeezed out the pulp bag. Very hard to do completely. Let's look for a mechanical method. Pulp is 8 lbs now.

Specific Gravity is 1.020.

Seemed to be a lot of yeast growing in bag.

September 22, 2007

Racked at 8am. For siphoning, higher is better (duh.)

Made 8 gal.  does not fit in 6 gal carboy (duh.)

July 16, 2008

Haven't kept up to date with journal. Hack racked several times.

At one point I believe that I may have over yeastedthe must and that the result was the culture died. I restarted with a champagne yeast. I don't remember the date when I did this, probably 2-3 months ago.

I tasted on Saturday. Plenty of alcohol maybe a bit bitter. I'm not prepared to work with ph balance, maybe next time.

I added sugar water to sampling and got several positive comments. Perhaps the only negative comment was that it was too sweet.

Last night I purchased more equipment, along with a wine kit from midwestsupplies.com. Purchase contains the following:
3 Airlock s-bubble @ $1.00
2 6 Gallon Carboy @ $21.50
3 Carboy Bung Drilled @ $0.75
1 6 Gallon Winemaking kit w/ Gilda Single Lever corker @ $84.95
3 Lalvin Wine Yeasts 5 grams 71b-1122 Narbonne @ $0.80
2 Alexander's Sun Country Concentrates – Cabernet Sauvignon @ $22.95
1 Drying Tree
1 Sanitizer Spray

July 19, 2008

Label ideas:

  • Year
  • Location
  • Grape
  • Brand Name

July 31, 2008

A mixture of roughly 3 part boiling water to 1.5 part sugar was used to finish the wine. Approximately 2 cups water and 1 cup sugar was added to our 5 gallon mixture.

Used 8x 1 3/4 corks.

Pre-sugar addition the Specific Gravity reading was 0.998.

Filled 21 750mL bottles and 2 1500mL bottles.

Using the following equation an alcohol content of 13.6% was found.

(Starting SG – Ending SG) / 0.0074

Post

We were very pleased with this wine. It has given us a lot of confidence to try new recipes and styles. Good reviews were given from many people we asked to try it.

The label we ended up using was a a name tag with our brand, HA! Wines, written in the center.