Monday, February 4, 2013

Winemaking with Frozen Pails - Winemaking Update

Winemaking From Frozen Pails

UPDATE: Please check my new wine making website for more detail on wine making.   How To Make Homemade Wine

Most of the wines I have made have come from kits.    These kits make excellent wine, and have the benefit in that you can make them any time of year.    Folks that make wine directly from grapes need to be confined to the particular period of time that is optimum for the harvest of excellent grapes.
Most wine kits typically come with a grape concentrate that you will need to add water to.  In addition, the wine kits come with ingredients, such as yeast, yeast nutrient, metabisulphite , oak and other additives. 

There is another alternative, though.    I took a field trip out on Long Island to a place that specializes in frozen pails of grape juice.   The grapes used in this grape juice is harvested at the optimum time, squeezed, and then frozen, to preserve the freshness.   The juice is not from concentrate, but is very premium.

The place I visited is A & P Grape, in North Massapequa.  The folks running the place are very friendly and helpful.  They answered any questions I had, in addition to answering questions I didn’t know I had yet.  It became very clear to me that they had a genuine interest in helping me make the best wine I could make, and wanted to help me with any potential problems that could come up in the process.  I will be sharing everything I learn here in my blog.  

Winemaking Store
This is the Wine Making Store I had the Pleasure to Visit.
Frozen Grape Juice Pail of Merlot for Wine Making
This Frozen Pail of Merlot is Super Premium


Although they ship, I decided to take a ride out to the Isle of Long to see what they had to offer.   I also needed some 375 ml bottles for my Chocolate Raspberry Port, so I thought it would be worth the trip...  And it was!

I came away from the place with knowledge, a few new friends, bottles and a pail of Nero D’Avola grape juice that came directly from Sicily!   Ahh….   I just doesn’t get any better than that…  This would be my first frozen pail!   I am so excited!!!!!!  I would say that it was well worth the trip, and I would highly recommend visiting them, if you are in the area.   If not, they can ship to you, too.  

Nero D'Avola Grape Juice
Nero D'Avola Grape Juice

I thought about the pros and cons, as it relates to my situation, of making wine from frozen pails or from wine kits.  In thinking about it, I thought that others may benefit from what I was evaluating, so I decided to make this post.  This is what I came up with.

The Cons of using frozen pails:

  • The juice is heavy, since it is not a concentrate.   This may make it heavy to ship, and I suppose this is why most wine kits include concentrate, as opposed to grape juice. 
  • The frozen pails do not come with any additives, so you will need to buy them separately.
  • Making wine from the frozen pails of grape juice takes longer.

The Pros of using frozen pails:

  • The juice is of excellent quality and processed less.
  • You can choose more specifically where the grape juice comes from. 
  • You can buy Organic grape juice.   I don’t know of any organic wine kits.
  • Since the frozen pails of grape juice are not a kit, and don’t come with the additives, you have more flexibility and can pick and choose what you want to add.   If you want special yeast, go for it.   If you want a combination of medium toasted French and Hungarian oak, in cubes, you can do that, too.

Armed with this information I have come to the determination that I will do both.    The wine kits are great.   The frozen pails give you more flexibility and will probably make a better wine, though.   

Many wine kits say that they are ready to drink in 4 to 6 weeks.   Do not believe that for a second.    Yeah, you can drink them, but you wouldn’t want to drink them.    Wine made from kits usually is enjoyable 3 to 6 months after they are bottled, which is after the 4 to 6 week period of time it takes to make it.  Wait longer, it gets better.  So, realistically, if you make wine today from a kit, expect that you will start drinking it in four to six months.

Wine from frozen pails takes 9 months to a year to make, before you will want to start drinking them.   For myself, I have decided to make wine from both.   The wine from the kits will be ready to drink sooner, so I will be drinking that, while waiting for the wine from the pails to complete.

And so, it begins!    Stay tuned for my progress with this exciting project.   I will be posting what  happens along the way.

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