Homegrown zinfandel grapes, wine?

swa_rao

We planted a zinfandel grape vine 2 years ago. This is second year its bearing fruit. Last year we let it sit late and they became raisins more or less. This year grapes are bigger in size, are turning black-blue in color, but some grapes are dropping from tree. Yet they haven't become very sweet. Should we let them sit on vine longer? They have big seeds too, so not really great for salads and such. Would like to try making wine, but we don't have a big yield and not sure where to start. Any ideas what can we do with them? If anyone has tips of making wine from small batch of grapes, please pass along those. Thanks.

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Lynda (Zn9b/23 - Central CA Coast)

We grow grapes and make small batches of wine out of them. We are on the California coast and grow Golden Muscat and Thompson Seedless. Here is what we do - 1) harvest the grape clusters into buckets 2) Clean them off and pick the individual grapes putting them into a clean bucket 3)Crush and press into juice using a hand cranked juice press 4) Measure the sugar levels in the juice 5) Add Camden tablets to kill undesirable wild yeast 6) Add sugar if needed 7)Add wine yeast 8)Ferment/rack

and 9) bottle. You will need a small fruit press, food grade buckets with airlocks, camden tablets, wine yeast and corks. We sterilize and re-use bottles and everything else can be obtained on Amazon or from a beer supplier.

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swa_rao

thank you Lynda!
we do not have large quantity of grapes, its one vine.
what's the minimum quantity of grapes we should have, so its worth making wine?

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swa_rao

btw thats beautiful color, are you making Chardonnay?

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Lynda (Zn9b/23 - Central CA Coast)

I think the minimum would be 1 gallon of juice, which is between 2 and 3 gallons of grapes. Ideally, you would want to build up to 5 gallons of juice, which will make ~60 bottles. When you cut your vines back in the winter, try to propagate the cut canes. We started with two just two vines, but ours have self propagated.

This year our muscat vines gave us 12 gallons of juice. The picture is of our golden muscat, which makes a very unusual white wine. This is our fourth year making it and every year has come out completely different. One year it was crisp and dry like sauvignon blanc and another year heavy bodied like a viognier. We have no idea what we will get this year.

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