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"Dago" Red Wine Recipe With Concord Grapes

Only Italians can get away with saying "dago"! I made wine this way for years with my grandfather. Most the time it came out good, sometimes it came out bad. But we still drank it. Aging does wonders. I kept this as true to form as I could for "Dago Red". Good luck and Salute!

To convert this into a more modern recipe, also do or substitute items in RED.


For every 5-6 gallons of finished wine

  1. Take 1 bushel of Concord (blue) grapes (approx. 45 – 50 pounds).
  2. Stomp or grind grapes just enough to break the skins.
  3. Put into a clean, open top container. Plastic is ok at this point. Add 15 pounds of sugar to 1 to 2 gallons of warm water. Stir until dissolved and add to crushed grapes (called must).
  4. Cover container to keep out contaminants.
  5. In 24 hours, add 1 1/2 packs of wine yeast, Montrachet or Lalvin K1V-1116.
  6. Stir "must" (pulp) twice a day for 5-7 days, pushing the pulp down.
  7. Your mixture should start to smell like wine after day 3 or so.
  8. Siphon out the juice in 5-6 days if it’s hot (80-90 degrees Fahrenheit) and 6-7 if it's cooler or you are doing it in your basement.
  9. Press the pulp, if you can, for more juice. Although, this will create the need for more racking in the future to clear wine.
  10. Stir in 2-1/2 pounds of sugar for every gallon of juice. Make sure sugar is completely dissolved. DO NOT add this sugar if you already added sugar above!
  11. Put wine into a wood barrel but do not fill to top, as it will probably bubble over while it is working. Put wine into a glass carboy and attach airlock.
  12. Let it work for a couple weeks slowly topping off. Keep loosely covered. Let it work for three weeks with airlock left on at all times and then rack. Attach airlock again. Rack again in another 3 weeks.
  13. When it slows down or stops fermenting, about Thanksgiving, cap tight. When it stops fermenting completely, rack again, wait 7 days, then bottle.
  14. Keep closed until Easter, then open and have a taste. Age in bottle for a year or so.