7 MORE Random Wine Making Facts

Sharing Wine Making FactsA few days ago we posted the blog, “7 Random Wine Making Facts…”. It had such a great response I decided to put some more wine making facts into a post.

These are trivial little pieces of information that randomly shoot off into different areas of wine and winemaking. Some of them you may already know, but do you know them all?

  1. A single packet of wine yeast multiplies itself many times over during a fermentation. That little 5 gram packet of wine yeast you put into your fermentation will typically regenerate itself by 100 to 200 times. Most of the growth happens during the first 3 to 5 days of fermentation. This is what it takes to have a vigorous fermentation.
  1. All grape juice starts out clear. If you go out into the vineyard and lightly squeeze a wine grape of any color: red, blue, purple, black, green, yellow… you will get the same color grape juice, clear. Squeeze the same grape harder and roll it between your fingers, and you will notice that the juice coming from the grape is no longer clear. The color starts to release from the skin and join in with the grape juice. The color of the grape juice comes from the grape skin, not the grape juice itself.
  1. All wine contains vinegar. This wine making fact throws many for a loop, but no matter whose wine it is, who made it, or where you got or bought it, the wine has vinegar in it. This is because vinegar, also known as acetobacter, is a natural byproduct of a wine fermentation. The wine yeast actually produces low levels of vinegar while fermenting. Most wines have a level of vinegar on the order of .02% to .06%. Small indeed, but enough to contribute to the wine’s overall character in subtle ways.
  1. Here’s a handy piece of math that may interest you. Take your wine hydrometer and get the starting Specific Gravity (S.G) minus the ending Specific Gravity (before and after fermentation), and times it by 131. This equals the alcohol in the wine. As an example, let’s say your wine hydrometer reading at the beginning of fermentation is 1.100, and your ending hydrometer reading is 0.996. You take 1.100 minus 0.996. That equals 0.104. Times 0.104 by 131. That gives you an alcohol reading of 13.62%. Could be handy!
  1. One grape vine produces about a gallon of wine. This is a very general wine making fact, but gives you a good ballpark, rule-of-thumb to go by when thinking about planting some grape vines. Some variables that affect this amount are: the type of grapes planted, the climate, the soil, and how well you maintain the trellising and punning.
  1. Grape vines do not produce a full crop until their 4th year. This wine making fact relates to #5, above. When starting a vineyard, you need to plan ahead. The first two years will have no substantial harvest. During the third you will have enough grapes to do a test run of your wine making. It won’t be until your forth season that you will have a full-fledged, complete and usable harvest.
  1. You can freeze your wine making fruit. One problem with making garden fruit wine is getting enough of the fruit all at one time to make a complete batch. No worries. Just freeze the fruit until you do have enough. Freezing the fruit will help to break down its fiber. This makes it easier to extract the flavor into the wine.

There you have it, 7 ‘more’ random wine making facts. Can you think of any? We’d love to hear them and share them with other home winemakers. Just comment below and we’ll pass it along.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

22 thoughts on “7 MORE Random Wine Making Facts

  1. No comment just a question. Every year when I make wine I end up with a problem after bottling. There always seems to be additional solids that drop out after bottling. Before botling I add kitosol and rack a weakk after. Then I add potassium sorbate to stop any fermentation, followed by filtering of the wine before bottling. So what else must I do to not have solids form in the bottle?

    • Do these tips apply to other fruit wines as well? I have terrible luck with rhubarb and precipitation.

      • These are general bits that should apply to any wine to some degree. Precipitation in a rhubarb wine is usually related to the proteins in the rhubarb. You might treating the wine with bentonite. This will help to drop out the precipitation more quickly and completely.

  2. Is there anyway to increase the alchohol content during fermentation or close to the end of fermentation?

  3. Linda, there are ways of increasing the alcohol level of a wine, but only to a point. Please realize that doing so will take the wine out of balance. It will become "hot" and worst of all, the wine will seem watery and lacking in any flavor. This is due to the numbing of the tongue. You might want to take a look at the article, "Making High Alcohol Wines" at the following link to our website. http://www.eckraus.com/wine-making-high-alcohol/

  4. enjoyed reading the article.and the comments .been out of makeing wine for a while and getting back into it thanks.stacie

  5. Question?? Apple Cider Pasturized @ discount grocery. $3.00 / gal.
    @ local apple orchard $8.00 / gal.

    Is there a way for first one to be used for apple wine??

    • Wayne, yes can use apple cider purchased from the grocery store for making wine as long as it does not contain any preservatives such as Sodium Benzoate or Potassium Sorbate as these ingredients will prevent fermentation. If it contains ascorbic acid or citric acid, it is fine to use.

      • In the past, I have made` some very good apple wines from “store bought apple juice” Watch out for sodium benzoate, that will prevent fermentation, good luck and happy wine making.

  6. In your answer to Wayne, doesn’t the grocery store juice also have to be 100%
    all natural juice?

    • William, the juice should not contain preservative such as Sodium Benzoate or Potassium Sorbate as they will prohibit fermentation.

  7. I was wondering how to preserve some juice at the beginning so I can add it later to give my wine more of the fruit flavor of the wine I’m making. Example blueberry juice, strawberry juice, etc

    • You may want to try for a wine with less alcohol content, that will let you have a more , fruity flavor by not numbing your tongue. I try for at least 10% to insure the wine will keep long term. 8% works well for small batches for use in a short time. the 8% has more fruity flavor.

  8. Another interesting fact about wines which is seldom talked about but important in the taste & quality is acidity- – pH values of the white & red wines .

  9. I was reading that it takes around 20# of whole mangos for a 6 gallon batch of wine. I have 20# of frozen mango chunks and was wondering if I can make more than 6 gallons considering it was whole mangos in the article and the seed and skin account for around half of the mango.

  10. Your alcohol percentage calculation is incorrect. To make wine of 12-13% alcohol, you must start with around 1.090 on the hydrometer, and finish around 1.000 or below. I don’t have my chart before me, but I have been making wine for 31 years

  11. To Bill’s question:
    I make mango wine for 7 years, experimenting each year with new approaches .
    It was proven that to clean the skin and leave seed to ferment was the best solution. Just cut and separate flesh from the seed for better yeast work. For 5 gallon bucket I use 12-13 lb of frozen mango. Make sure with sugar added your SG = 1.090

    • Thanks for the info! Sounds like I can make around 8 gallons with the 20# I have. Should I mash the chunks or leave them when starting the primary fermentation?

  12. Thanks for the fun info. I noticed a little error on fact 3. Acetic Acid (CH3COOH) is the component in vinegar that makes it vinegar. Acetobacter (genus) bacteria is responsible for the production of acetic acid during alcoholic fermentation and malolactic fermentation at (one would hope) low concentrations.

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