Welch’s 100% Concord Grape Juice Home made Wine Recipe

.Have you ever wanted to make homemade wine?

From: jerry@creb.rad.jhu.edu
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 1994 15:16:14 -0500

Easy Wine - by Jerry Miller

Note:   This is a good way to get started in the winemaking hobby.  This
        recipe, used with concord grape juice, results in a wine that is
        very similar to Manischewitz, but you can vary the sweetness to
        suit your own taste.

        Bottled juices are pasteurized, and grapes are high enough in yeast
        nutrients to favor rapid production of preservative levels of alcohol,
        so as long as you aren't extremely careless about sanitation in the
        steps that follow, you should have no problem making a good batch.

        The white grape juice contains sulfites, which retard the fermenta-
        tion for 2-4 days, but once the yeast is acclimated, fermentation
        picks up and proceeds to completion within the stated time.

        Amounts are shown for {bottle | half-gallon | gallon}

1 {24-oz. | 64-oz. | 128-oz.} bottle Welch's grape juice
{5/8 c. | 1 3/4 c. | 3 1/2 c.} granulated white sugar ***
pinch of baker's yeast or wine yeast ***

***     If using wine yeast, increase sugar to {3/4 c. | 2 1/4 c. | 4 1/2 c.}.
        This is because baker's yeast dies at 14% alcohol, while wine yeast
        survives until the alcohol content reaches 18%.

With juice at room temperature, open bottle and pour about a quarter of the
contents into a clean container.  Using a funnel, add sugar to the bottle.
Cap bottle tightly and dissolve as much of the sugar as possible by inverting
and turning upright repeatedly for several minutes.  (A small layer of un-
dissolved sugar won't do any harm, but a very high concentration of sugar
can impede, or possibly even kill the yeast.)

Without overfilling the bottle, pour back some of the juice taken out.  Do
not fill more than about a third of the way up the tapered part of the bottle.
This space is needed for the foaming that often accompanies the start of the

Sprinkle in a small amount of yeast.  The amount is unimportant, as it repro-
duces once activated by the sugars.  (Because this is a rather "low-class"
wine, there is little other than alcohol to be gained by preferring wine
yeast over baker's yeast.)

Place the bottle in a sink or a large pot, in case fermentation becomes vi-
gorous enough to force some juice out the top.  (The location chosen should
be away from drafts and ideally between 65 and 75 deg. F.)  Cap the bottle
LOOSELY to avoid danger of explosion and flying glass from the buildup of
carbon dioxide from fermentation.  Invert a baggie over the neck (or use a
large enough sheet of plastic wrap), and hold it in place with a rubber band.

This is a relatively crude substitute for a "fermentation lock", whose pur-
pose is to allow gas pressure to escape without allowing fruit flies and
other insects to contaminate the must with bacterium acetii (vinegar bac-
teria) or other spoilage organisms.

Within hours or days, depending on conditions and other factors, you will
see a rapid, steady stream of bubbles rising through the must, possible ac-
companied by foaming and spraying at first.  After a strong start, the fer-
mentation will settle down, and the speed will gradually diminish.  By the
end of a month, there should be no visible sign of fermentation, and the
dead yeast will have begun settling in a layer on the bottom.

Let the wine stand undisturbed for at least a week or two after bubbling is
no longer visible.  This will allow time for the wine to clear by letting
the yeast and tartaric acid settle out.  Prepare enough clean, dry wine bottles
to accomodate the amount of wine you have made (e.g., 5 for a gallon).

Place a funnel in the first bottle, and carefully, so as not to stir up the
sediment, pour from the fermentation bottle.  Having an assistant helps, be-
cause once the bottle is tipped, it is best to keep it in that position until
pouring into the next bottle.  (Otherwise, turning it upright disturbs the
sediment unnecessarily.)

When filling the last bottle, watch for sediment beginning to enter the neck,
and stop pouring at this point.  The remaining wine may be left to settle
again, at which time you can pour yourself a sample to taste.  (The sediment
is not harmful - in fact, it's similar to "brewer's yeast" - but it makes
the wine less appealing for serving to guests.)

Cap or cork the bottled wines and age for as many months or years as your
patience allows.  Yes, even a "low-class" wine such as this improves very
noticeable with age!

For those interested, the empirical equation for the fermentation of sucrose,
from which I initially derived the approximate stoichiometry for the amounts
of sugar to use, is as follows:
        C  H  O  + 4 H O -> 3 C H OH + 6 CO  |
         12 22 11     2        2 5         2

        (sucrose)+(water)->(ethanol)+(carbon dioxide gas)

Whether or not you understand the concept of stoichiometry, you should be able
to extend the experience gained from using this recipe toward development of
your own variations.  All you need is to know a few rules:

        1. The sweeter the juice, the less sugar you need to add.  You
           can always add more later, if necessary, but you can't take
           it out if you've used too much.  (If you do add sugar, be sure
           to give it time to ferment before bottling, just in case.)

        2. Chopped raisins can be added to musts that don't supply yeast
           nutrient, such as apple juice.  This is also necessary when
           making grain or root wines (another subject altogether).

        3. Juices in cartons (such as fresh or reconstituted orange juice)
           are NOT pasteurized, which is why they must be refrigerated.
           Trying to use them will usually result in an off-tasting wine,
           if it is wine at all - it may even be poisonous!

        4. Wine hobby supply stores carry canned concentrates of exotic
           grapes and various berries.  These work well also, but be sure
           the water you use for reconstituting is uncontaminated, good-
           tasting, and not overly chlorinated.

Good luck and happy tasting!




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