Watery wine from yard grapes?

I crushed my yard grapes of several kinds (red, white, blue unknown varieties, local word being they were 'wine grapes not concord') and made 4 gallons of wine which I handled as a red, with the cap and all, during primary. After the primary I squeezed the pulp in a press until the pulp was dry for my 4 gallons. I topped off the 6 gallon secondary bucket with several bottles of decent cheap wine and a gallon of grape concentrate. After a couple weeks at 70F and an attempt to restart fermentation I'm happy enough with the taste. It's quite tart and I suppose acidic. I haven't gotten to the wineshop again to get an acid kit. But I do know that the wine is WATERY!!! It's rose' in color but darn dilute. I recall that my initial hydro reading was something like 1.20 specific gravity. It seemed OK to me. Wouldn't that measure sweetness or richness? Is there any way to make this a thicker, richer wine now? Should I have added sugar at the start? I liked the idea of just going with the juice in the grapes for my first batch from this 100-yard single-row vineyard (an unpedigreed one that my brother has revived). It's only been 2-3 weeks in secondary now. Tips?
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Jeff Potter
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Reply to
Jeff Potter
I have never heard of a grape that would give 1.20 SG. I think maybe there was something wrong with the reading. If it was that high it would have finished with very high alcohol and still been sweet. I am not sure why it would have ended "watery". I wonder if you are detecting flatness in which case a bit of tannin might help. You might try adding some oak and a bit of glycerin.
Ray
Reply to
Ray
I love your sense of experimentation!
SG measures dissolved solids: acids plus sugars. It's a good basic indication of POTENTIAL alcohol. But you have to take the sample correctly...you would have taken some clear juice off the pulp before fermentation started, enough volume to have your hydrometer float freely.
Anyway, I would then have left the 4 gallons alone. No addition, no topping off, no anything--how else do you know what those yard grapes really are like for winemaking?
The further testing would not be for acidity (you did that by taste), but for alcohol, residual sugar, and maybe for tannins. I would leave this batch a,one for 6 months--you might be pleasantly surprised.
Next summer I would take some of those grapes to your local USDA or garden centre to try to narrow down the possible varieties. If they had skins that were thin enough to make them good to eat, I would not expect good wine from them. If you really wanted to know, you would contact the USDA for DNA analysis .
Irene
> I crushed my yard grapes of several kinds (red, white, blue unknown > varieties, local word being they were 'wine grapes not concord') and > made 4 gallons of wine which I handled as a red, with the cap and all, > during primary. After the primary I squeezed the pulp in a press until > the pulp was dry for my 4 gallons. I topped off the 6 gallon secondary > bucket with several bottles of decent cheap wine and a gallon of grape > concentrate. After a couple weeks at 70F and an attempt to restart > fermentation I'm happy enough with the taste. It's quite tart and I > suppose acidic. I haven't gotten to the wineshop again to get an acid > kit. But I do know that the wine is WATERY!!! It's rose' in color but > darn dilute. I recall that my initial hydro reading was something like > 1.20 specific gravity. It seemed OK to me. Wouldn't that measure > sweetness or richness? Is there any way to make this a thicker, richer > wine now? Should I have added sugar at the start? I liked the idea of > just going with the juice in the grapes for my first batch from this > 100-yard single-row vineyard (an unpedigreed one that my brother has > revived). It's only been 2-3 weeks in secondary now. Tips? > > -- > > Jeff Potter > **** > *Out Your Backdoor *
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Reply to
Irene
Jeff, I suspect that your hydrometer reading is incorrect. You want to shoot for a wine with in my opinion at least 11% alcohol when it is finished. The reason for this is for stability, and also mouthfeel to a lesser/greater extent depending on what you are making. Yes, there are wines that have 6-9% alcohol such as some of our local cranberry wines, but they seldom seem to last beyond 6-8 months from what I have seen. If the initial Brix were not high enough to make "potential alcohol" of 11% or so then you would have to add sugar, and likely could do it now and have fermentation restart. The problem you have is knowing your true gravity/brix reading if it was eronously taken at the start.HTH John Dixon
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J Dixon

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