Things You'll Need
3 gallons scuppernong grapes
Potato masher (optional)
5-gallon crock or jar
1 package red-wine yeast
String or large rubber band
Wire mesh strainer
Sugar – 3 lbs. for every 1 gallon of juice
1/4 inch food grade tubing
Wine bottles or jars with lids
Scuppernong grapes are also known as fox grapes and are similar to muscadines. Found along the Scuppernong River in southern Appalachia, the grapes make a simple homemade wine with a fruity taste. For generations the people of Appalachia have used scuppernong grapes to make wine every fall. Today, you can buy scuppernong wine at package and liquor stores, but if you can find the grapes, it is very easy to make at home.
Mash the grapes in a large bowl using your hands or a potato masher. Make sure that the skin on every grape is broken. This can be done in batches if you do not have a bowl large enough to hold all the grapes at one time.
Place the mashed grapes, along with their liquid, into a 5-gallon crock.
Cover with water. Add only enough water to allow the grapes to float slightly. Too much water will create a weak-flavored wine.
Cover the crock with cheesecloth and secure the cloth with string or a large rubber band. This will keep dust, dirt, fruit flies or other bugs out of the wine.
Let the grapes ferment for 9 days.
Use a ladle to scoop the grapes and juice from the crock and strain the juice though a wire strainer to remove the pulp.
Put the juice back into the crock and add 3 lbs. of sugar for every gallon of juice.
Add the red-wine yeast to the juice.
Cover the crock with cheesecloth and let ferment for at least 10 days. After 10 days, check to see if the bubbling has stopped. If so, continue to the next step; if not let the wine ferment another 5 days. The longer you let the wine ferment, the better the fruity taste will be. It is not uncommon for the wine to ferment 30 to 60 days before being bottled.
Siphon the wine from the crock into bottles using the food grade tubing.
Lightly cap the bottles, as the wine will continue to ferment slightly for at least another month.
Leave the bottles lightly capped for 3 months. After that, the lids can be securely tightened.
Red-wine yeast is available at any brew shop that you can purchase wine or beer making supplies. Scuppernong grapes usually ripen in Appalachia in mid-September. You can use this recipe with any type of wild grapes, including muscadines.
If you cap the bottles tightly too soon, the continuing fermentation could cause them to explode. After 3 months, this generally is no longer a problem.