Last month I was able to locate 100lbs of Cabernet grapes from Nappa. The price was great, they were already de stemmed and seeded so I bought in on the deal. I could not believe how simple the process really is; well compared to making all-grain beer.

We met at a location where we divided up several thousand pounds of grapes into 100lb units, then placed into a large plastic vessel. Pitch in some nutrient, some pectic enzyme and yeast. It sits for a few weeks and you basically have wine. Everyday you are required to “punch down” the must so that the skins and seeds left over are in constant contact with the must. The skins gives red wine its color, and mouthfeel or body.

On pressing day, I added 12cc of sulphuric acid to get my pH lower and I added a maloactic culture to balace the sweetness and get rid of any other nasties before the wild stuff sets in. Pictured below is me pressing the grapes. It was 1.5 hours from start to clean up. DLB helped out.

Pouring in the must Wine coming out More pouring

Ratchet press Siphon to the carboy