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Updated Red Concord Or White Grape Wine Recipe

Makes 5 gallons.

Note: Items in RED have been changed from original posted recipe.


  • 25 pounds grapes
  • Up to 3 gallons water
  • 10 - 13 pounds sugar
  • 5 Campden tablets
  • 5 teaspoons yeast nutrient
  • 2.5 teaspoons dry or 25 drops liquid pectic enzyme
  • 1 package wine yeast
  • potassium sorbate (used when bottling if adding more sugar)



Starting specific gravity (SG): 1.113 – 1.123
Starting potential alcohol (PA): 15 – 16
Acid reading: .65 to .75 (See note below in Step 4.)

Step 1: Sanitizing

Mix 1/4 cup of sodium bisulfite or five crushed Campden tablets in a one-gallon jug of water. This will be your sanitizing solution. Sanitize all equipment and utensils by coating surfaces with sanitizer solution and waiting 10 minutes. Rinse sanitizing solution from all equipment and utensils with clean, cool tap water. (Remainder of sanitizer solution can be kept in a sealed container for future use.)

Step 2: Must Preparation

Crush fruit in primary fermentor using a crusher or wooden paddle (remove stems after crushing). Dissolve 10 pounds of sugar in 2 gallons of warm water and add to the primary fermentor. Add cool water (unheated) to the 5.5 gallon mark on the primary fermentor. Leave yourself some "headroom" in your primary fermentor, as when the wine starts to ferment it will grow in volume and foam.

Step 3: Hydrometer Testing And Adjustment

Remove enough must (unfermented juice) to fill the hydrometer test jar. Float the hydrometer in the jar. Spin or tap the hydrometer to dislodge air bubbles and let the hydrometer come to rest. (It should float freely, not touching the sides or bottom.) At eye level, read the figure on the specific gravity (SG) scale of the hydrometer where the liquid surface cuts across the stem. If it is less than 1.113 - 1.123, add 1 pound of sugar at a time. Dissolve the required amount of sugar in must or water and add it to the primary fermentor. Continue taking hydrometer readings and adjusting sugar and liquid amounts until you have 6.5 gallons of must with a specific gravity reading of 1.113 - 1.123 or potential alcohol (PA) reading of 15 - 16.

Note: The final alcohol content may be determined by using the potential alcohol scale readings corresponding to the original and terminal Balling readings. Subtract the terminal PA reading (Step 9) from the original PA reading (Step 3) to get an estimate of alcohol by volume. You may also use this reading to adjust sugar required. It isn't as accurate as the SG reading, but it is easier to read on most hydrometers.

Step 4: Additives

To the crushed grapes (must), add yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme and crushed Campden tablets as specified in the ingredient list for every 25 lbs of grapes (or adjust for your amount of must).

Note: Adjust acid only if you have an acid test kit. It is almost impossible to adjust acid, either up or down, without one. You would probably be better off not adding any acid blend if you do not have an acid test kit. Cover the primary fermentor with a towel, loose-fitting lid, or plastic sheet and wait 24 hours.

Step 5: Yeast Preparation And Adding

After the 24-hour waiting period, add entire contents of the yeast packet to about 2-3 ounces of 104 – 109 degree F water. Do not stir. Set aside for no more than 15 minutes or until the yeast "puffs up," or water becomes cloudy. Stir gently to suspend yeast and add to the primary fermentor, stir in well, and cover.

Step 6: Primary Fermentation

Fermentation should start within two days, evidenced by carbon dioxide bubbles and/or a "cap" of pulp pushed to the top of the fermentor by the fermentation. Maintain temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees F, keeping the fermentor off the cold floor. Stir twice daily for 6 - 7 days or until the hydrometer reading reaches SG 1.030 or PA 4.

Step 7: Preparation For Secondary Fermentation

Scoop the pulp floating at the top of the fermentor into the nylon bag using a sanitized strainer or plastic colander. Squeeze the bag by hand to release juice. Repeat until all pulp is removed. Syphon or pour through a funnel into a carboy (secondary fermentor) and attach airlock (filled with required amount of water). Make sure airlock adapter and carboy neck are dry before applying airlock. (Save any extra wine in a gallon jug fitted with an airlock or covered with plastic wrap fastened with rubber band. This wine may be used in Step 8.) Secondary fermentation temperature should be between 55 and 70 degrees F.

Step 8: Secondary Fermentation

In 3-4 weeks, rack (siphon) the wine into a clean secondary fermentor, leaving the sediment behind. Racking is done by placing the full container on a table and the empty container on the floor. First place the sanitized racking tube (with siphon hose attached) into the full container. Apply suction to the hose while holding it horizontally. Completely fill the hose with wine (no bubbles, if possible). Close the hose clamp at the end closest to the suction. Then lower the end into the empty container and open the clamp.

If you have only one carboy you must first rack the wine into the sanitized primary fermentor, clean and sanitize the carboy, then re-rack the wine back into the carboy.

Rack again in 4-6 weeks and once more in 4-6 weeks’ time.

Step 9: Fining

Fining is a procedure that clears the solid particles that may be suspended in your wine. There are different fining products available at your local brewing and wine supply house. Follow the directions for whichever one you use, but be sure to wait at least 7 days after fining to bottle.

I use Sparkolloid at a rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon of wine. Mix about 1/2 cup of water per teaspoon and boil for 3 minutes. Stir into wine while mixture is still hot. I allow two more weeks to clear, then bottle.

Fining your wine does remove some flavor but is probably worth doing for most homemade wines. If you get a little settlings in your wine during aging, you can always rack again or transfer to a different bottle before giving as a gift or serving.

Step 10: Preparation For Bottling

Keep wine as cool as possible before bottling (40 – 50 degrees F is ideal). When the wine appears clear and stable (hydrometer reading should be at or below 0), the wine is ready for bottling. If you wish to sweeten the wine at bottling time, add potassium sorbate as needed or 1 crushed Campden tablet per gallon of wine to prevent renewed fermentation in the bottle, and use a syrup made of 2 cups sugar per 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling just until the mixture miraculously clears. Cool completely and sweeten the wine to your taste and wait another 7 days before bottling.

Bottle wine and age 12 months. The longer the better, if you can wait.

The best of luck to all!