The Complete Grape Growing System

The Complete Grape Growing System

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This is a truly delicious wine, and although apparently "heavy" on fruit is well worth making. It is strong yet delicately flavoured, with an attractive, faintly "cidery" bouquet.


24 lb. mixed windfall apples 3 lb. preserving sugar to the gallon of liquor


Chop the apples into small pieces, put into a bowl, add the yeast and water (the water will not cover the apples). Leave for about a week, stirring vigorously several times a day to bring the apples at the bottom to the top. Keep the pan closely covered and in a fairly warm place. Then strain the juice from the apple pulp. Press the juice from the apples and add to the rest of the liquor. To every gallon add 3 lb. of sugar. Put into cask or glass fermenting vessel and fit fermentation trap, racking when it has cleared. The wine will be ready for drinking within six months, but improves for being kept a year. If eating apples are used it is a good idea to make every tenth pound one of crab apples, and another improvement is to employ a Sauterne wine yeast.



6 lb. apples 1 lemon

3 lb. sugar Yeast and nutrient

H lb. chopped raisins


Wash and cut up the apples, skins, brown patches and all. Windfalls will do. Simmer 10-15 minutes in one gallon of water. Strain liquid on to the sugar, and the thinly peeled rind of the lemon. Stir well. When lukewarm add the juice of the lemon, and the yeast creamed in a little of the warm liquid, cover and leave for 24 hours in a warm place, then pour into a fermenting jar, cover with three layers of clean cotton material, or insert an airlock. Leave in a warm place to ferment for four weeks. Siphon off into clean dry storage jar, and add the chopped raisins. Leave six months to mature under air lock. Then siphon off into clean bottles, and cork.

1 gallon water Yeast



4 lb. artichokes 1 orange

1 lemon

2 ozs. root ginger Method:

Slice the artichokes and add the thin peel of the fruit. Bruise the ginger and place all in the water and boil for 30 minutes. Pour liquid over the sugar, and when cool, add the juice of the fruit and yeast. Leave two days closely covered, transfer to jars, fit locks, and leave to ferment out. Then rack and bottle in the usual manner.



3 lb. elderberries 1 gallon water 3 / lb. white sugar Yeast


Strip the berries from the stalks by using the prongs of an ordinary table fork (otherwise it is a messy and tedious business), then weigh them and crush them in a bowl. Pour on the boiling water, and then let it cool to about 70 degrees before adding the yeast. Leave three days, stirring daily, then strain through muslin on to the sugar. Pour the liquor into a "grey hen" or dark glass bottle (in clear bottles the wine will lose its colour), but do not fill completely until first vigorous ferment has subsided, plugging the neck with cotton-wool. When the ferment is quieter fill to bottom of neck, and fit fermentation trap. Leave till fermentation is complete—it may be longer than most—then siphon off into clean, dark bottles and keep for six months at least.


More and more people are now growing their own outdoor wine grapes, particularly in the south of England, and the "Amateur Winemaker" has received many requests for "grape wine recipes." The word grape here is really superfluous, since true wine can only be the product of the grape, as the etymology of the word shows (Greek oine-vine, oinos-wine) and it is fitting that in any book on wine the grape should have pride of place. Many are puzzled as to how to convert their grapes into wine, but in essentials nothing could be simpler.

Firstly, make sure that your grapes are as ripe as possible (the birds will tell you when they are nearly ready, if the vine is unprotected!), gather them, and set to work quickly. All one has to do is to ferment the grape juice, but it is as well to note that, if

2 lb. white sugar 7 pints water Respora Sherry yeast making small quantities, with a consequent high degree of wastage, as much as between 12 and 15 lb. of grapes will be required to produce a gallon of wine. About 4 lb. will make one bottle. And, even in one of our sunniest summers, when the sugar content of our grapes will perhaps be higher than usual, it is likely that one must expect to have to add some sugar, if a reasonably strong wine is required. If you use a hydrometer, it is simple to ascertain how much, but if you do not, no matter; the solution then is to aim at a strong wine, say 18 per cent of alcohol by volume, and to continue adding the sugar in small quantities of, say 4 oz. to the gallon at a time, until the ferment is carried as far as it will go, and the sweetness of the wine is to your taste.

Many beginners seem to be puzzled by the difference between white wine and red, and ask whether black grapes can be employed to produce the former. The answer is: Yes. White wine can be made from grapes of either colour, the method being to express the juice and ferment it alone. Red wine, on the other hand, is produced by leaving the skins of the crushed black grapes in the must, so that the colour from them is extracted.

If the skins are left in only one or two days a vin rose will be produced, if longer, a wine of much deeper colour. This process can usually be continued for about 10 days, but it is unwise to leave it much longer, and the liquid should then be drawn off.

A press, of course, is invaluable, and essential if making large quantities of white wine, but most winemakers will be able to contrive to press enough grapes for one or two gallons without one, by crushing with the hands or a piece of hardwood, or by using boards and weights, or some similar device. For white wine, of course, the grapes must be contained in stout calico or some such material to keep the skins separate.

Aim at a strength of 18 per cent alcohol by volume. If using a hydrometer, express the juice from a few of the grapes and measure the S.G. With English grapes it is likely to be fairly low, about 50 or 60, and to obtain the desired strength you will need to add 32 oz. of sugar. It may be higher, if so, consult this table, given by E. Chancrin in"LeVin":

(If you have no hydrometer, make a mental note of the fact you are likely to have to add up to 2 lb. of sugar to each gallon, but do it by stages, adding 8 ozs. initially and thereafter 4 oz. at a time.)

If you are making wine from grapes for the first time it is unlikely that you will want to bother your head unduly about acidity, for if the grapes are really ripe any slight over acidity can be masked by a little extra sugar once the wine is made. But for the perfectionist it is as well to note that grapes—and certainly English grapes—are likely to be slightly too acid, and probably contain about 1.30 per cent acid, whereas the desirable acidity is about 1 per cent. The experienced winemaker will go to the trouble of correcting this by diluting with syrup, but for our present purpose this is an unnecessary complication.

of grape juice

Approx. number of ounces of sugar to be added to 1 gallon to increase alcohol to (by vol.)




















































Discard any mouldy or unsound grapes, remove the stems, and express the juice by means of a press or by crushing with the hands, the fruit being in a calico or sacking bag. If using a press, apply pressure gradually; it is better to repeat the pressing once or twice slowly, than to try to rush it through, for you may only burst the bag and be in trouble.

If using a hydrometer, test the juice and determine how much sugar has to be added; dissolve it in the juice, and pour the juice into your fermenting vessel. (Many winemakers prefer to add only half the sugar at this stage and the remainder two or three days later.)

You can then either (a) rely upon the natural yeast (the bloom upon the grapes, of which sufficient will have passed into the juice, to start fermentation) or, preferably, (b) add one Campden tablet per gallon, and, 24 hours later, a vigorous yeast starter of your own choice. A good yeast nutrient will also help.

Fermentation, in a warm place, will be more rapid than with the usual run of country wines but the advent of chillier weather will slow it down.

If you are not using a hydrometer, of course, add your initial 8 oz. of sugar, and thereafter keep a close eye on your ferment, for it is likely to require further sugar almost every day, although the ferment and sugar consumption will be slower in the latter stages than in the early one.

Thereafter the process is the same as with any country wine.


If using a hydrometer, press a few of the grapes to determine the specific gravity of the juice and how much sugar to add. (If not using a hydrometer, it is best to add at least 1 H lb.)

Remove the stalks of the grapes: place the grapes in a tub or large crock (a cylindrical one is convenient) and crush them by hand or with a piece of hardwood and, if using the natural yeast, add the sugar and yeast nutrient, stirring very thoroughly. If using a special yeast add one Campden tablet per gallon, and 24 hours later stir in the sugar and add the yeast.

Use a disc of heavy hardwood (oak or beech) fitting very loosely in the cylindrical crock, to hold the skins down below the surface of the liquid. Bore holes in it with a 2-in. bit. Each day push this "sinker" down to keep the skins wet. This is important or you may get poor colour extraction and the "cap" of skins may acetify. Keep the crock in a warm place for up to 10 days, according to the depth of colour you require, but not more, then strain off the liquor into your fermenting vessel and add (by stages if not using a hydrometer) the balance of the sugar. If you can, press the pulp to get "just that little extra."

Keep this wine, of course, in an opaque or coloured fermenter to preserve its colour, and thereafter continue as for any ordinary country wine.


(by S. H. Pullinger, Alresford)

Take 3-4 / lb. of mild honey, amount according to dryness or sweetness of wine required. If a wine yeast is to be used, have it activated and ready in advance.

Bring the honey to the boil in two or three times its volume of water. Stir with wooden spoon until honey is dissolved, or it may burn. Skim off any scum which rises. To the hot liquid add approximately / oz. of citric acid and the yeast nutrient. Alternatively, one may use the juice of 4-6 lemons, when only half the yeast nutrient need be added.

Add the rest of the water when convenient, transfer to fermenting containers and add yeast when cool. A narrow neck and fermentation lock are advisable. Since there is a gallon of water and several pounds of honey there will be about nine to ten pints of liquid. This will allow for a full gallon after racking, which should take place when the wine is beginning to clear and a definite layer of sludge can be seen at the bottom. Wine made now would be worth drinking at Christmas, but would be better for keeping.

MELOMEL (Rosehip Mead)

If you wish to use rosehips for flavouring to make Melomel, as a fruit flavoured mead is called, use about 4 lbs. Boil them in a gallon of water for five or ten minutes, and when cool mash them with your hands or a piece of hardwood, and strain through butter muslin.

To this add four pounds of honey, the juice of two lemons, and yeast nutrient, and stir until the honey is dissolved. When lukewarm add the yeast and ferment as usual. It is an improvement for this mead to use a sherry yeast and ferment in the sherry manner, i.e., after the first racking (not before) have your fermenting container only seven-eighths full, and use an empty fermentation trap, the end of which can be lightly plugged with a small piece of cotton-wool, thus exposing the mead to air but preventing the entrance of any vinegar flies, allowing a degree of oxidisation. But you can also use an ordinary wine yeast and ferment and mature throughout in the usual way if you wish.

To make Metheglin use 4 lb. honey, 1 oz. hops, and / oz. root ginger to the gallon, or with the same amount of honey and water, 2 cloves and H oz. cinnamon bark, or one-third of an ounce of carraway seeds.

Marjoram, balm, mace, lemon and orange peel, cinnamon, are also flavourings which can be tried, but it is as well not to overdo them.



4 lb. blackberries Yeast

3 lb. granulated sugar Yeast nutrient


The fruit should be picked when ripe and dry on a sunny day. Wash it well, being careful to remove any of the small maggots sometimes found in blackberries. Place the fruit in a crock, and crush it with a wooden spoon. Pour over it the gallon of boiling water. Stir well, allow to become lukewarm (about 70 degrees F.), then add the yeast. Cover closely and leave for four or five days, stirring daily. Strain through two thicknesses of muslin or a nylon sieve on to 3 lb. of granulated sugar and add the yeast nutrient. Stir well to make sure that all is dissolved. Pour into dark fermenting jar or "grey hen," filling to shoulder, and fit fermentation trap. Keep the spare liquor in a smaller bottle also fitted with a trap or plug of cotton-wool. When the ferment quietens sufficient for there to be no risk of it foaming through the trap (after, say, a week) top up with the spare wine to the base of the neck and refit trap. Leave until it clears and then rack for the first time.



6 lb. medlars

3 lb. sugar

V teaspoon grape tannin Method:

Chop the fruit and pour over it two quarts boiling water ; stir in 1V lb. sugar, and 1 quart cold water. Leave till cool, then add ingredients. Cover closely and leave in warm place. After three days strain into fermenting jar and top up to bottom of neck with cold water. Fit trap and continue as usual.


Cider is made from apples, perry from pears.

Strictly speaking, only natural sugar of the fruit should be employed and no sugar should be added.

A press or juice extractor is essential. Put the fruit in a tub or polythene dustbin and crush it with a "masher," a heavy balk of timber. Then express the juice by means of a press or by wrapping the fruit a little at a time in a stout cloth and running it through a mangle. Collect the juice in a jar, stand it on a tray in a warm place (about 70 degrees F.) and add yeast. Invert a small glass over the top of the jar. For a few days the jar will froth over and must be kept topped up, but when the ferment quietens fit a fermentation lock and proceed as for any other wine.



3 lb. honey (preferably of a 1 gallon water mild flavour) Yeast nutrient

Good mead or wine yeast (say Maury)


Bring the water to the boil for a minute or so, and then allow it to cool to 120 degrees F. Warm up the honey meantime to the same temperature, and then mix the two, stirring well to dissolve the honey.

Allow the honey liquor to cool to 70 degrees F. and then add the required amount of a yeast nutrient and the pre-prepared yeast culture. Failing this, one can use a level teaspoonful of granulated yeast, but there is then a risk if racking should happen to be delayed later on, of spoiling the delicate mead flavour. Pour the liquor into a fermenting jar, filling it to the bottom of the neck, and keep the surplus in a covered jug nearby. Put

1 tablespoon Pectozyme Yeast and nutrient Water to 1 gallon both vessels in a warm place (65-70 degrees F.). As the fermentation froths out of the jar, as it may do, top up from the jug. When the vigorous ferment slows down, and froth ceases to form, fill the jar to the bottom of the neck, fit an airlock, and clean the exterior. When fermentation stops completely move the jar to a cold room and leave it there for a fortnight or three weeks before siphoning the mead off the lees, and into a clean jar. Use a rubber bung or a waxed cork but do not wire it down. The following March (after roughly six months' storage) siphon the mead off the lees again and to the gallon add 2 oz. honey (or white sugar) dissolved in V pint of water, boiled and cooled as before. Mix thoroughly and bottle, using strong bottles (of the champagne type, if possible), cork, and wire or tie the corks down.

Note that honey is usually deficient in trace minerals and is sometimes difficult to ferment. It is therefore important to use a yeast nutrient.

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Making Your Own Wine

Making Your Own Wine

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