Efficient Home Winemaking: Don’t let Your Leftover Grape Skins go to Waste!

Home Winemaking Problem Solving: What to do with the Wine Grape Pomace?

So you’ve pressed off your delicious red wine and now have a big pile of grape skins. Instead of throwing them away, take a look at these four ideas and start making full use your grape skins!

1. Use the Wine Pomace to Make Fertilizer or Top Soil
wine-grape-pomace-fertilizer-and-top-soil-home-winemaking
Wine grape pomace top soil four months after dispersal. Do you see the sprouting vines?

Did you know that roses love slightly acidic soil in the 6.0-6.9 pH range? Your leftover grape skins are perfect for lowering the pH in your soil so that your roses and other acid loving plants can thrive! You may have too high a pH if your plants are showing signs of chlorosis (a yellowing of the leaves). Gardenias, Rhododendrons, and even blueberries will also appreciate the lower pH provided by the pomace. We also quite enjoy the fine aroma of the must, as well as watching the little birds dig and scrape in the skins for grape seeds. After 3 to 4 months, the grape skins will be close to fully broken down (see picture). Here is the best part, this use of the skins is super easy! Just grab a shovel and spread the grape skins around your plant bed.

2. Add Complex Flavors and Rich Color to Your Next Batch of       Beer or Mead
Wine-Grape-Mead-Must-Infuse
Mead infused with the flavors and color of grape pomace. Photo courtesy of Dan Mouer.

Infuse your next batch of mead or beer with grape skins to add that next layer of complexity to your brew.  A WineGrapesDirect customer, Dan Mouer of Virginia, was kind enough to share his grape infused mead recipe:  Mix 9 pounds of honey with water to make five gallons of mead. Then pour the mixture over the skins, seeds and lees from one bucket of pressed grape must. This will ferment dry over a few weeks. Later, prime with honey and bottle as a sparkler. For fruit lambics or cherry Flanders Browns,  simply rack the beer to an open (bucket) secondary and add the fruit directly. It usually takes a while for the fruit fermentation to complete. Then strain through a mesh bag and rack to a carboy. Be sure that all the small fruit bits and pectin globules settle out. Depending on the fruit, a bit of pectinase stirred in a few days before fining works wonders.

3. Make a second run wine!
Roman wine amphora pulled from shipwrecked cargo vessel
Roman wine amphora pulled from a shipwrecked cargo vessel bound for France. Perhaps it once contained piquette? Photo Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Click for More Details

In the middle ages, pomace wine was very common and was an affordable 6% alcohol beverage available to the masses. They did not add any sugar, as there was already enough residual sugar in the pomace because most wines were not fermented to dryness at the time. The ancient Romans and Greeks also made pomace wine, but called it piquette. Making pomace wine is very easy. Simply mix sugar with water to raise your brix to at least 22. Remember, .125 pounds of sugar raises 1 gallon of water by 1 brix. Just don’t expect a great product at the end, as the result is normally a lesser wine. Commercial distilleries will also use both pomace (Grappa in Italy or Marc in France) and pomace wine (brandy) to make spirits.

4. Add both Flavor and Color While also Protecting Your Homemade Cheese
Cheesmaking
Cheesemaking – Photo Courtesy of bluesy seenery – Link

Are you making cheese at home or know someone who does? Then try adding the rich flavor of the grape skins to your homemade cheese by covering your cheese tomme in grape must pomace. This method is very old and used in both France and Italy. In France, the most popular variety is called Tomme au Marc. This cheese is covered in grape must pomace and tightly sealed. After two months of aging, the cheese is removed and dried. The result is a beautiful cheese covered in grape skins and seeds that has the rich complex flavors found only in wine grapes. Cheesmaking.com has a recipe HERE.

Are you using your pomace in other ways? Please write to us, andrew@winegrapesdirect.com, as we’d love to make even more use of our wine must pomace!

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Home Winemaking 101
Getting Started

Learn How to Make Wine at Home!

If you’re just starting out on your home winemaking journey, the numerous options can be intimidating. But there is one fundamental winemaking truth you should hold above all others. It is often said that great meals are prepared with great ingredients. This saying is equally true for winemaking. If you want to make great wine, you have to source great wine grapes and juice. At WineGrapesDirect.com, we make sure every pail comes with grapes and juice drenching with the flavors needed to make great wine.

Home Winemaking can be as easy or difficult as you want it to be. To see just how easy learning to make wine can be, check out our incredibly simple PDF guides that show you how to make both red and white wine in 12 easy to follow steps.

Red and White Wine 12-Step Program PDFs

How-To-Make-Red-Wine-PDF-Home-Winemakinghow-to-make-white-wine-home-winemaking

 

You can also leverage our growing collection of home winemaking videos on both YouTube and Instagram:

See how to do a SO2 test:

Let’s Use a Bucket Press: Pressing Wine From Grape Skins:

Enhance your Chromatography Paper for Easy to Read Results!

 
Easy Home Winemaking Sulfite Method: a 10% SO2 Solution to Add to Your Wine and Manage SO2:

Easy Home Winemaking Method to Add Body and Mouthfeel to White Wine – Battonage:

 

Here is list of other home winemaking resources for you to draw upon:

Winemaker Magazine is an excellent publication and WineGrapesDirect.com is a sponsor of their yearly Home Winemaking Competition and Conference:
https://winemakermag.com/

The Dummies Guide can be useful if you’re just starting out:
Click Here

There is also a free (but very old) home winemaking how to book published by UC Davis:
Click Here

Daniel Pambianchi, a noted home winemaking speaker, has a very good Trouble Shooting Guide:
Click Here
As well as a very good home winemaking book:
Click Here

The valley Vintner has produced nice guide that covers a wide range of home winemaking topics:
Click Here

Introducing “Wine Must”, a New Winemaking Comic Sponsored by WineGrapesDirect

–Just One Oregon Pinot Left and Napa Merlot Almost Sold Out Don’t miss your opportunity to make excellent wine with this frozen grape must and juice!

Interested in putting this comic in your newsletter for free? Email andrew@winegrapesdirect.com for the details.

We will be putting up a new Wine Must comic at least once a month. So come to WineGrapesDirect.com to see the Wine Must comic, and don’t forget to check out the excellent frozen wine grape must and juice we have available.

Wine-Must-Comic-no.1-Winemaking-Styles-Frozen-grape-juice
Wine Must Comic no.1, Winemaking Styles

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Crush Your Red Wine Competition: How to Make Award-Winning Wine at Home

Many winemakers can be frustrated by competitions and befuddled why their much beloved wines did not bring home those elusive shiny gold discs to proudly display. We are going to set aside Winemaking 101 and dive right into the strategies needed to help you achieve your gilded dreams of winemaking glory, and finally set you on the path to the epic Halls of Vinehalla.

Epic-Halls-Vinehalla-Award-Winning-Wine-Home-Winemaking
Epic Halls of Vinehalla © 2017 WineGrapesDirect All Rights Reserved, Artist Contact: jsbeaird@gmail.com
  1. Make Big Wines
  2. Extract as Much as Possible
  3. Buy the Best Wine Grapes and Juice Available Online at WineGrapesDirect.com
  4. Make Lots of Wine and Blend Up
  5. Enter them All
  6. Taste Award Winning Wine

home-winemaking-awards-How-To

Big Wines Win Big and Don’t You Forget it!

That’s right my friends, you might love your low-alcohol/nuanced wine that is a treasure when given careful attention, but the judge’s attention is limited and you need to punch them in the face with your wine just to get the time of day. Your wine needs to leave a giant flavor filled mark they will remember. What sort of wine leaves such a mark? For starters, the wine should be at 14% to 15% alcohol, dark in color, with the tannin, acid, and flavor to back it up. Essentially, if you’re going to have high alcohol, you need to balance that attention-getting facet against other structural supports for your wine to stand on. Now, how do you achieve big flavor and dark color?

Extract, Extract, Extract!….Oh One More Thing, Extract!

Don’t be cautious when it comes to extracting flavor and color from the grapes. You’re looking to make a huge wine, so kick your extraction into fifth gear and throw the cupboard of tools and tricks at your wine. Lucky for you, you purchased frozen grape must from WineGrapesDirect, so your frozen wine grapes get a safe and effective cold soak. Traditional cold soaks can be risky and offer debatable benefits, but it is well demonstrated that freezing grapes actually breaks down some of the skin cell walls, releasing beneficial phenolics into the wine. You were also provided extra tannin, Opti-Red, and nutrients to produce a clean wine with more stable color. But there is more if you ask for it. We can provide you with the enzyme Lallzyme EX upon request! This ingredient breaks down the skin walls of the grapes even further, opening them up and allowing more color and the flavors within to infuse in your wine. Lallzyme EX is powerful, can’t be mixed immediately after certain additives like tannin, and instructions must be followed carefully. The enzyme will also lower your final yield, as it increases the amount of sediment. Be sure your fermentation achieves a temperature at least in the 80s F, as the heat will extract color and flavor just like with a tea bag in warm water. Finally, really draw out the fermentation as long as the wine is protected by a cap of skins and gas. The longer your wine sits on the skins, the more extraction you achieve! Towards the final stages of your fermentation, you need to be a gentle Zen master at slowly tapping down the must cap without breaking through. However, before you extract, you must pick the right grapes for extraction.

Where are the Best Wine Grapes, Must, and Juice Available for Sale to Home Winemakers Online to Make Wine That Will Win Competitions?

Right here at WineGrapesDirect.com of course! Flavor-driven grape must and juice is our forte, our passion, and our requirement in every pail. Buying wine grapes, juice, must or other products like concentrate online can be a shot in the dark with much of the who, how, when, where and other important information left unanswered. Alas, these unanswered questions can often create disappointing wines with lackluster everything. At WineGrapesDirect.com, you can view the vineyards via video, see the grapes close up with pictures, and have all the facts including approximate chemistry, date and year picked, soil type, and viticultural region. You can rest assured knowing that the grapes were carefully selected and not picked until they were drenching in flavor and ripe for extraction. Now, what wine grape varietals should you pick?

Buy and Make as Much Wine as Possible

When it comes time to blend and polish your award-winning wine, you will need options and lots of them. Most competitions only require that your wine be 80% of a single varietal to qualify for each competition category. So that’s 20% of space for you to blend in additional flavors, color, and aroma to elevate your wine above the rest. The plain and simple truth is that having lots of wine to blend with allows you to make a better wine. If you have carboys of our WA Rattlesnake Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, Tempranillo,  CA Napa Merlot, Suisun Valley Merlot, and Lodi Zinfandel to work with, you can leverage the strength of each; be it color, rich fruit flavor, or body to refine a wine that will be sure to impress the judges. Now, if buying them all is not an option, you should consider a varietal that won’t be blended up by your competitors like Pinot Noir. Our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a fruit bomb of aromatics and flavor that will explode on the palate and finish with great acid to back it up.

Carefully Select and Enter Only Your Favorite Wine

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, and Wrong! If you’re serious about winning, you should enter the maximum number of wines allowed and as many competitions as your inventory can stand to increase your odds at taking home the Gold. Just because you love a wine, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Many winemakers are often shocked that their darling red took home nothing and their neglected vintage scored so highly. That being said, have a blind tasting with friends (even ones who don’t know anything about wine, as the judges tasting your wine may have quite a lot in common with said friend) and score the wines. Doing so should direct you to the vintages that stand to be contenders.

Find and Taste Wine That has Won Awards

Remember, if you’re looking to win a competition, it’s not about what you like, it’s about what the judges like. So familiarize yourself with award-winning wines and their respective flavors. This is easy to do if you attend the award ceremonies, as many of the award winners will have bottles open and are often happy to share. You can also seek out a taste from your local winemaking community, as the wine is often flowing at winemaking club meetings. If none of these are options, simply source and treat yourself to a very high-scoring commercial wine in the name of research. Then strive to emulate these award-winning qualities in your own wine.

Competitions to Enter in no Specific Order

Winemaker Magazine – http://winemakermag.com/competition
American Wine Society Amateur Competition: http://www.americanwinesociety.org/page/competitionamateur
The Bottle Shock Open: http://bottleshockopen.com/

Your Local State Fair or Even the State Where Your Wine Grapes and Juice are From:

Califorina: http://www.castatefair.org/california-home-wine/
Oregon: http://oregonstatefair.org/competitions/amateur-wine/
Washington: http://www.thefair.com/_assets/7d7e302fe7e8d71766136d91edca444b/StateFair_2016_AmateurWine&BeerPremiumBook.pdf

Final Tip: Don’t stress if you don’t win, as we’ve been told by reliable sources that your reward is the special joy waiting for you at the bottom of each glass, each bottle, and each carboy proudly made into a unique wine by your own two hands.

Let us know about anything that you win. A special gift from us awaits you.

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Buy Wine Grapes and Juice for Beer Making and Homebrewing!

Need Grapes for Beer Making and Homebrewing?

Crafting flavor driven beer infused with elegant flavors of wine grapes and juice has been rapidly growing in popularity and especially since DogFish.com  released their Noble Rot. Since the beginnings of civilization itself, man has been evolving and carefully selecting grapes to produce the best flavors possible. So it’s only natural that those expressive tastes selectively cultivated over countless centuries should be tapped by the beer making community.

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Take a Look! Here are some are some of the top articles to read on this trend:
Craftbeer.com with “Beer-Wine Hybrids: Two Worlds Collide”
http://imbibemagazine.com  with “Beer-Wine Hybrids”.
http://allaboutbeer.com  with “Grape and Grains”.
“The Grapes of Beer” in the Chicago Tribune.
http://www.themadfermentationist.com with Hybrid Wine-Beer Sour Tasting
http://www.7×7.com with Five Great Belgian Beers Brewed with Wine
And old Reliable Reddit.com with a great thread

From the most elite commercial breweries to the homebrewer crafting only for himself and friends, WineGrapesDirect.com is a trusted and proven supplier for grapes, must, and juice to make beer. We harvest and instantly freeze to lock in the optimum flavor so that our grapes are available year round for small batch and bulk brewing orders delivered directly to your front door or loading dock. We know that the same rich flavors that are ideal for making excellent wine are also necessary to make great beer with wine grapes. Our grapes are primed for extracting flavor, color, and aromatics. Feel free to write or give us a call to learn more!

Discount! Email andrew@winegrapesdirect.com “grapes for beer” for a $10 discount per pail on our 2016 Washington Mourvedre. These grapes are our top pick for commercial and homebrewers right now and are valued for their fresh acid driven flavors.  Offer Exp. Feb 16th and of course grapes don’t have to be used for beer.

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Where and How to Buy Frozen Wine Grapes, Must and Juice Online

Next Ship Date is Monday January 16th!

-Only 10 Oregon Pinot and 10 Napa Merlot left!

Try the WineGrapesDirect.com Experience! Family Owned and Brother Powered.

Buying high quality frozen wine grapes online is easy and secure with WineGrapesDirect! First, decide what kind of wine you want to make, Second, decide when you’re going to make it, and Third, order your wine grapes or juice.

What Kind of Wine do you Want to Make?

Wine Grapes Direct provides a large selection of frozen grapes and juice for sale and each varietal is sourced from some of the best vineyards in California, Oregon, and Washington. Step one can be as simple as deciding upon the wine you enjoy the most. Pick our delicious Oregon Willamette Valley AVA Pinot Noir grapes for a spicy wine with plenty of fruit and freshness. Or pick our Washington Rattlensake Hills Cabernet Sauvignon for a meaty wine with plenty of tannin for aging, classic Cabernet varietal expression, and the elusive minerality so sought after. Are you a first time winemaker looking for white wine grape juice that is both easy to make a delicious wine with and ready to bottle as early as four months? Look no further than the Clarskburg Chenin Blanc! This juice practically makes itself into a flavorful and acid driven wine. Take a look at our PDF Guide on our How to Make Wine page to see the fun and simple process. The choice is up to you!

When are you Going to Make Your Wine?

Be sure to consider your schedule when ordering frozen wine grapes online. Once the grapes arrive, it’s important that you have enough time allotted to manage the fermentation each day. Typical fermentations take a week or more to complete. Visit our home page to see our next Fedex ship date. We typically ship every other Monday in large foam coolers with East Coast orders arriving the following Saturday, Midwest Orders Thursday/Friday, and West Coast orders Wednesday. Be sure to factor in two days thaw time. Many of our grapes sell out, so if your calendar is full, order your grapes now and we can put them on reserve until you’re ready (3 months max, small storage fee after that). And don’t be shy, please message us with any shipping questions!

Do You Want a Free Winemaking Ingredient Kit?

Each pail purchased comes with a free ingredient kit, but you must let us know via email if you want it included. We also ask you in the order confirmation email.  Yeast, yeast nutrients, Opti-Red/White, FT Rouge Tannin, Oak, and enough Tartaric Acid to balance the grape must come with each pail. Enzymes, different yeast or extra oak can be added upon request.

Order Your Frozen Grape Must or Juice

Ordering is both fast and easy! Simply visit our Grapes for Sale page and you can read and see pictures of each vineyard by clicking on the varietal as seen to right: “2016 Roussanne, Columbia Valley — $155”. If you want to purchase the item, just click the large “Add to Cart” button. From there, you will be taken to your PayPal shopping cart. Then, you can click “continue shopping” in the top right or click “check out” to finalize your order. PayPal is the most secure online ordering system available and accepts all major credit cards. Remember, you don’t need to sign up for or have a PayPal account to use PayPal. Simply enter in your payment information and your order will be processed. You will receive a confirmation from PayPal and we will email you to confirm your order and ship date within 1-2 business days. Once shipped, all orders come with Fedex Tracking.

Making Wine From Frozen Grape Must

We started making wine with our Oregon and Washington fruit last week. It took about 3 days to dethaw the pails in a heated shed. After the fruit was fully dethawed and thoroughly mixed we took measurements of the brix, pH and TA.  The numbers were close to what we measured on the crush pad but there was some variation. Pail to pail variation is common in the reds and that’s why it is important that everyone takes their own readings. Here’s what we observed:

Tempranillo Brix =  23.4, pH = 3.83, TA = .49
Pinot Noir Brix = 24.75, pH 3.56, TA = .51
Cab Sauv  Brix = 25.1, pH 4.12, TA =.39
Mourvedre  Brix = 22.25, pH = 3.65, TA = .68
Roussanne Brix = 22.5 pH = 3.3 TA = .6
So the only adjustments we made were to add tartaric acid to the Cabernet and Tempranillo to bring the pH down a little bit.  We also made additions of Fermaid K, Optired, and FT Rouge  to the reds (except the Pinot which got special treatment). For yeast we used RP4600 on the Roussanne and then split the Pinot between RC212 and ASMH and split the other reds between BDX and Rockpile (RP15).  No real differences between the different yeasts.  No issues with H2S production.
We punched down two to three times a day and reached peak temperatures of 88F. After 9 days all the reds had reached negative brix and we’re planning on pressing on day 12.
The wines are young, but I’m feeling very good about how they’re tasting now.

#winegrapesdirect #frozengrapes #punchdown #irockdrums

A post shared by Mikey and Andrew Crews (@winegrapesdirect) on

Harvest is complete. We begin Shipping 2016 Grapes on Oct. 31st!

November 7th is booked full. Next available ship date is Monday, November 28th.

All the wine grapes are picked and available to start shipping on Monday, October 31st.  There was a mixup with the lab so we didn’t get any officials samples done on the Mourvedre and Tempranillo. On the crush pad the Mourvedre was showing 22.5 brix with a refractometer and 3.4 pH from a handheld pH meter and the Tempranillo was showing 23.75 brix and 3.6 pH so we don’t expect either of these to require adjusting.  We’ll begin our Northwest winemaking next month and will have official numbers then, but in the mean time would appreciate feedback from anyone who receives fruit and has reliable testing equipment.

If you’ve already ordered, we’ll be reaching out you in the coming week to confirm you’d like us to ship on October 31st.

I’ll try to write a more colorful harvest report in the next week or so.  But in summation,  the fruit is all awesome and we’re completely exhausted.

Email me with questions. michael@winegrapesdirect.comhome-winemaking-wine-grapes

Harvest Update

Next US Ship Date is Monday October 31st.  

Here’s what left hanging:

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.52.50 PM   2016 Mourvedre Rattlesnake Hills — $145

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.52.50 PM   2016 Tempranillo Rattlesnake Hills — $145


 

Here’s everything we picked so far:

Home-Winemaking-Wine-Grapes-Juice-Napa-MerlotMerlot, Napa Valley

Brix: 26.6, pH: 4.03, TA . 31 

 Harvest: 10/3/2016 

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.52.50 PM $195


Home-Winemaking-Wine-Grapes-Juice-MerlotMerlot, Suisun Valley

Brix: 27.3, pH: 4.01, TA . 28 

 Harvest: 10/3/2016 

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.52.50 PM $125


 

Home-Winemaking-Frozen-Grape-Must-Pinot-NoirPinot Noir, Willamette Valley 

Brix: 26.25, pH: 3.35 

 Harvest: 9/19/2016 

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.52.50 PM $165


 

Home-Winemaking-Grape-Juice-Cabernet-SauvignonCabernet Sauvignon, Rattlesnake Hills AVA 

 Brix: 25.25, pH: 3.70, TA: .6   Harvested 9/26/2016 
Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.52.50 PM
$155


 

Wine-Grapes-Juice-Must-RoussanneRoussanne,             Rattlesnake Hills AVA

 Brix: 22.2, pH: 3.35  

 Harvested 9/19/2016 

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.52.50 PM


Zinfandel-Juice-Must-Frozen-Home-WinemakingZinfandel-Juice-Must-Frozen-Home-WinemakingZinfandel, Lodi, California

 Brix: 26.2, pH: 3.54, TA: .46   Harvested 9/12/2016 

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.52.50 PM  $135


 

Chenin-Blanc-Grape-Juice-Home-WinemakingChenin Blanc, Clarksburg

 Brix: 20.0, pH: 3.36, TA: .64  Harvested 9/12/2016 

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.52.50 PM                 $110 per 5.25 gallon pail

Frozen Must and Juice