Avatar for HeathersJ
May 21, 2020 7:49 AM CST
Thread OP
I have a 24 foot grape vine growing rapidly and producing small bunches of dark grapes but am not sure what to do with it or how to nurture it. Even more, what to do about getting the grapes into the wine bottle.....any advice would be fab. I've just moved into a place and inherited the vine that goes with it. It looks extremely healthy and is about 100 years old as it was planted when the house was built. Thank you! Jules
Avatar for WAMcCormick
May 21, 2020 8:33 AM CST
Bryan, TX
Is this vine on a "fence", in a tree, on the ground, or how is it situated?

Is it formed (growing) randomly, or has it been maintained and pruned?

Since it has been there so long and was planted, I assume it is a type for good wine? Some grapes are far better than others for wine.

As for how to make wine, there are as many ways as there are winemakers. If you crush some ripe grapes and dump them into a jug, at room temperature they will make wine within a few days. At first it might taste pretty good, but it will soon get rank with flavors from undesirable yeasts. By doing a little internet searching, you can get a basic education pretty fast. Here are a few pointers:

1. If a grape is left to itself, especially with the skin broken, it will make wine. All the things a winemaker do are designed to achieve the best flavor possible.

2. Yeasts convert sugar to alcohol. There are "wild" yeasts of many types everywhere. A few are desirable. Many are not.

3. Most winemakers use some method of sterilization at the beginning of the process to kill off all the wild yeasts and then start the process with selected yeasts that are available at wine supply shops. Campden tablets can be used to sterilize the grapes/juice without cooking it. Cooking changes the flavor, and it makes it very hard to get the wine clear.

4. To get the most reliable results, the "batch" needs to have controlled ventilation. That can be achieved with fermentation locks. Those are also available at wine stores. If the ventilation is not controlled, the batch is quickly contaminated with wild yeasts.

5. Temperature is VERY important. 55-60* F preserves the delicate flavors the best, but it also extends the time of fermentation a lot. Higher temps "boil off" delicate flavors. A good example of that is making peach wine. If I make peach wine at 80-100* F, the finished product will gag a maggot.

6. Timing is important. Don't leave the grapes in too long.

7. Depending on the chosen method, the process may be staged. If the grapes are not sweet enough, sugar may need to be added. If whole grapes are used, you will need to know when to remove the skins and how.

8. Winemaking is a very involved process, and there is a whole education to be learned about it. My suggestion is to search out a "recipe" that looks like you can handle it and start with that.

When you get it made, tip a glass to me.
Maybe it takes a long time to grow, but remember that if nobody plants it, nobody has it.
Avatar for HeathersJ
May 26, 2020 7:00 AM CST
Thread OP
Hello. Thank you for your useful advice and information. I have sent a photo. The vine is growing very quickly but the grapes are nowhere near ready yet. It is supported by wiring and thick string. I will do a bit more research but also have a few friends who may help with getting the wine into the bottle. I will raise a glass to you when its drinkable. Enjoy the summer. Jules
Thumb of 2020-05-26/HeathersJ/44c4a9

Thank You!
Avatar for WAMcCormick
May 26, 2020 3:45 PM CST
Bryan, TX
Have fun. Grape culture and wine making are enjoyable.
Maybe it takes a long time to grow, but remember that if nobody plants it, nobody has it.
May 26, 2020 7:02 PM CST
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)
Region: Belgium Composter Region: Europe Ferns Hostas Irises
Lilies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
The wine resulting from this particular grape might not be as delicious as you expected; there are specially cultivated types for that. There are the wine grapes and dessert grapes (for eating like that).

Other than that, pruning is important to get the best results. I've altered your photo a little with some explanation:

Thumb of 2020-05-27/Arico/429643

Other than that, you can thin your grape bunches to allow the remaining grapes more room to swell and thus get bigger. This is a tedious job though and done with little scissors.
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