How to Make Wine Using Fresh Concord Grapes

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If you are lucky enough to live in an area where Concord grapes are grown, you can make a simple wine using the fresh grapes. For every gallon of wine you plan to make you will need approximately 6 to 8 pounds of fresh, clean Concord grapes. You will also need wine yeast, which can be purchased at a local brew shop or online from various retailers. Expect to wait at least 60 days after making the wine before you can drink the finished product.

Things You'll Need

  • 8 pounds of fresh Concord Grapes
  • Large 12-quart stockpot
  • Potato masher
  • Shallow bowl
  • Colander
  • Cheesecloth
  • Large bowl
  • 1-gallon jug
  • Heavy balloon or plastic wrap and rubber band
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 to 4 feet of food grade plastic hose
  • Empty bottles with lids

Wash the grapes and remove them from the stems. This will remove dust and any chemicals that may have been used on the grapes.

Place 1 or 2 cups of grapes in a shallow bowl and mash them with a potato masher to break the skins on all of the grapes. Pour the mashed grapes into the stockpot and repeat the process with the remaining grapes.

Heat the stockpot over medium low heat and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. This will help the grapes release their juice.

Add 2 cups sugar to the simmering grape juice and remove from the stovetop. Stir the juice until the sugar dissolves.

Line a colander with cheesecloth and place the colander in a large bowl.

Drain the grape juice though the cheesecloth in the colander. The large bowl beneath will catch the juice.

Pour the juice into a 1 gallon jug and allow it to cool to room temperature. Add one package of red wine yeast to the mixture.

Secure the open end of a heavy balloon over the top of the jug. Alternatively, you can cut an 8 by 8 inch square of plastic wrap and secure the ends of the plastic wrap around the opening with a rubber band.

Set the jug in a warm, dry area and allow it to ferment. You will see the balloon begin to expand in two to three days. If using plastic wrap, it will begin to billow upwards in approximately the same amount of time.

Allow the wine to ferment for at least 60 days or until the balloon it flat and laying to one side of the jug.

Siphon the wine from the jug into clean bottles using food-grade plastic tubing. Cap the bottles and store in a dry, dark area until you are ready to serve the wine.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can make up to 5 gallons of Concord grape wine using a single package of yeast.
  • You can also purchase rubber stoppers and airlocks from your local brew shop that will fit a variety of containers.
  • Empty soda bottles work well for storing wine until it is needed.
  • Bottled water jugs purchased from the supermarket can be used for wine making, if desired.
  • You are allowed to make up to 100 gallons of wine per year for an individual or 200 gallons if two adults reside in the same household.

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References

  • "The Foxfire Book of Wine Making"; Lori Gillespie, Kelly Shropshire and Allison Adams, eds.; 1987
  • "Making Wild Wines & Meads: 125 Unusual Recipes Using Herbs, Fruits, Flowers & More"; Pattie Vargas and Rich Gulling; 1999
  • Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: Wine FAQs
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