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1St Annual Grape Stomp At The White House Is History!


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#1 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 17, 2013 - 09:46 AM

Yesterday I visited my friend, Chris Ranali, in Tontitown. He's my wine-making guru. I got enough Fredonia grapes to make 15 gallons of wine. This morning I got up early, cleaned and sanitized all of my grape stomping gear, and got to work. In no time at all I had it all done and in the primary fermentor. Now, we wait 2-3 days, then I'll drain off the juice, add a pound of sugar for every gallon of juice, fill my 15-gallon keg, then let nature do the rest!

 

Chris has been making wine most of his grown-up life, and comes from a line of wine-makers. He's taught me one of the easiest ways of making wine, and it seems to work well. We rely on the natural yeasts that are already on the grapes, along with sugar of course, to do the fermenting. My fiirst batch last November was made from Mars grapes, with a few Sunbelt grapes for color. Made a nice blush wine. I'm really looking forward to these new batches because I prefer a dark, dry, red wine

 

Next week, I hope to get the same amount of Sunbelt grapes. Both of these will make nice, dark, red wines. Blended together makes a nice glass of wine also.

 

Today, the wife and I are going to be working at the Tontitown Winery (Chris's daughter and husband run the place. It's been a life-long dream of Chris's to see a winery resurrected in the family. He's a happy camper!) Sounds like we're going to be crushing grapes, crushing 100 cases of peaches, and bottling a variety of wine that's ready...... not sure what, though. It'll be a good day!


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#2 JRJ OFFLINE  

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Posted August 17, 2013 - 10:06 AM

Gosh Paul, you are becoming a master of a lot o trades, sounds very interesting, enjoy yourself and don't drink to much of the wine.

 

 

 

Dick


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#3 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 17, 2013 - 10:11 AM

It's been a fun hobby to learn. And no...... never too much. It IS fun to share with friends, though!



#4 KennyP OFFLINE  

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Posted August 17, 2013 - 01:04 PM

That sounds like fun! Hope they turn out good for you!


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#5 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 17, 2013 - 10:25 PM

Sounds like we're going to be crushing grapes, crushing 100 cases of peaches, and bottling a variety of wine that's ready...... not sure what, though. It'll be a good day!

 

Well, there were 6 of us working on the peaches today, and by the time we got finished and cleaned up, it was all we would get done today. Wife and I arrived there at about 11:30. We all worked until 4:40 or so, then started the clean-up process. Got it all ran through a crusher and pumped into one of those 275 gal. totes. It was filled to the 250 gal. level. That's a LOT of peaches!!! That will sit for 5 days as the primary frementation, producing CO2 and pushing the pulp towoards the top of the container. It will expand some, and will probably need to be scooped off at least a couple of times to keep it from running over and making a mess. After the 5 days, the juice will be drained off through the 2" ball valve at the bottom of the tote, probably kept in another tote, and allowed to ferment. Sometime in the future, it will be "racked" into another container, siphoning it off and getting more clarity. In about a year, it will be ready to run through a filter system to make a crystal-clear, tasty peach wine.


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#6 oldedeeres OFFLINE  

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Posted August 18, 2013 - 12:33 AM

Peach wine? That sounds good. Up here they make a lot of chokecherry wine using wild berries and relying on the yeasts on the berries just like you said. Makes a nice, dark red wine, and can be as dry or sweet as you want to make it. This is just home made wine, nothing fancy or technical involved.
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#7 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 18, 2013 - 09:55 AM

Peach wine? That sounds good. Up here they make a lot of chokecherry wine using wild berries and relying on the yeasts on the berries just like you said. Makes a nice, dark red wine, and can be as dry or sweet as you want to make it. This is just home made wine, nothing fancy or technical involved.

 

That's how this is, nothing fancy or technical. Although I have not done it myself, I know it CAN get very involved..... adding chemicals to kill the natural yeasts, adding a known yeast, adding tannins, oak, clarifiers, and on and on and on. So far, I've had good luck with the "simple" way of making wine, and with all of Chris's years of making wine, he says he's had very good success. The "simple" way isn't good for a commercial operation, but for this hobbiest, it'll work good. The only thing I might add to my collection of tools might be a filtering system to use as we bottle the wine. My first batch was amazingly clear just from letting it sit for several months and not disturbing it before we bottled it allowing the sediment to collect at the bottom of the keg and not getting stirred up. It wasn't crystal clear, but it was not cloudy by any means.

 

I checked my new batch this morning. The primary fermenter we're using is a food-grade 55-gallon plastic barrel with the top cut off, with a 2" ball valve at the bottom for draining the juice. I dumped all of the crushed grapes in it yesterday morning and covered the open top with an old bed sheet to keep the fruit flies at bay. Not only does the garage smell great, but I could put my ear to the top of the barrel and hear the "blurp, blurp, blurp" of the fermentation already happening. Probably Tuesday evening I'll drain the juice into a waterbath canner pot, add and disolve sugar into the juice at a rate of one pound per gallon of juice, then filter it through a cheesecloth type of material as I funnel it into the 15-gallon stainless keg.

 

Call me crazy, but I love simple things like this!


Edited by nra1ifer, August 18, 2013 - 02:44 PM.

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#8 daytime dave OFFLINE  

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Posted August 18, 2013 - 10:08 AM

That sounds great.  Enjoy.


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#9 oldedeeres OFFLINE  

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Posted August 18, 2013 - 12:13 PM

Nothing crazy about that, simple is best! Life can throw enough complication into the mix all by itself without us trying to help it along lol. Enjoy.
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#10 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 20, 2013 - 10:44 PM

This afternoon, got the juice drained, sugar added, and into the 15 gal stainless keg. It's already "blurping" away nicely. Now, we wait!

 

(I might be starting another batch soon. I'll take pictures of the entire process.)

 

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • DSCF4117.JPG


#11 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 26, 2013 - 10:07 PM

Since the last update, I have picked and crushed enough Concord grapes to make a 5-6 gallon batch of wine. Did that Saturday morning. The grapes are in the primary fermenter and the juice will be drained tomorrow evening (Tuesday).

 

DSCF4127.JPG

 

Went tonight and picked some Sunbelt grapes:

 

DSCF4126.JPG

 

After I drain the Concord juice, I will crush the Sunbelt grapes and put them in for the primary fermentation. My goal is to be able to drain that juice Friday evening before we go to the Tontitown winery. That should do it for the beginnings of my 2013 wine-making. I'll need to return the fermenter barrel to Chris. He's wanting to start his wine-making this weekend.

 

My next project is to purchase a food-grade barrel and a 2" valve to make my own fermenter barrel. Barrels are cheap (about $10), but the valve with be at least twice that much. Still pretty cheap when you think about it, and it only has to be built once.


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#12 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 27, 2013 - 08:56 PM

Got the Concord juice drained, filtered, sugar added, and into the 5-gallon carboy:

 

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And, crushed the Sunbelt grapes:

 

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And into the primary fermenter:

 

DSCF4131.JPG

 

Friday afternoon, I'll drain that juice, add sugar, and put it in probably 3 5-gallon carboys. Then, the 2013 wine season can cook away on its own for a few months, if not longer. These were some beautiful grapes and they smell awesome! I'm pumped!!


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#13 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 31, 2013 - 12:47 AM

I got the Juice drained off of the Sunbelt grapes this afternoon.  It made 18 gallons. I'll continue fermenting 16 gallons. The other two I'll probably heat up to get the alcohol out of it and keep it as juice to drink. That has to be the nicest looking grape juice I have seen, along with the Fredonia grapes I processes a couple of weeks ago. I can't wait to see how it turns out. I'm surprised that the Fredonia and the Sunbelt both made darker juice than the Concord.

 

DSCF4134.JPG


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#14 skyrydr2 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 31, 2013 - 06:19 AM

Wow does that ever look AWSOME!!!! How many pounds of grapes? Has to be way over 100 lbs.gallon
I am going grape hunting this afternoon, I sure hope I can find enough to make at least a 5 gallon batch.

Paul , did you check the acid levels? Im curious how it is done and how much sugar I' ll need?
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#15 nra1ifer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 31, 2013 - 09:07 AM

Wow does that ever look AWSOME!!!! How many pounds of grapes? Has to be way over 100 lbs.gallon
I am going grape hunting this afternoon, I sure hope I can find enough to make at least a 5 gallon batch.

Paul , did you check the acid levels? Im curious how it is done and how much sugar I' ll need?

I picked the grapes in 6 plastic "lugs" that Chris had.

 

ProduceLug.jpg

 

They were heaped full, not stackable. I did not check the acid or the sugar levels...... remember, this is a very low-tech operation! I tasted the grapes and they were outstanding! As a general rule of thumb, I add a pound of sugar to each gallon of juice. That'll produce a dryness I like.... more dry than sweet.

 

Seriously, though..... I would like to get a refractometer for checking the sugar content of the grapes, and now that you mention it, I DO have a hydrometer somewhere amongst some stuff I'm storing for a friend. Both of those items would come in handy, but I haven't used them yet.

 

Good luck on your grape hunt!


Edited by nra1ifer, August 31, 2013 - 09:08 AM.

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