Archive for September 9th, 2007

Wine Juice

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

Every September for the last several years, some friends and I have pooled an order for fresh grape juice for winemaking. This isn’t the “sterile must” that some stores sell, i.e. juice that can be kept on the shelf for several months. This is fresh juice that was crushed and pressed in California within the last few days, and transported to Amico’s Winemaking of Saskatoon in a refrigerated truck. Today I made the run into Saskatoon, and picked up 16 pails of juice. I have the following in my basement:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (Specific Gravity is 1.098)
  • Syrah (SG 1.096)
  • Merlot (SG 1.098)
  • Chardonnay (SG 1.092)
  • Riesling (SG 1.092)

When last checked, the temperature of all pails had warmed up to 13 or 14 C. That’s still a bit chilly for yeast, I’ll wait until it’s around 15 C to avoid shocking the yeast.

I’ll use Lalvin RC212 yeast for the reds, and K1-V1116 yeast for the whites. Apparently a lot of winemakers using fresh refrigerated juice don’t add any yeast, since the naturally occurring yeasts from the grape skins will start a fermentation. However I prefer using the commercial yeasts to ensure a full fermentation with consistent results.

Winemaking with fresh juice is easier than making fruit wine from scratch, but there is more risk than using a “kit”. I have generally been pleased with the results in previous years.