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Original Red Concord Or White Grape Wine Recipe

Click here for an updated version of this recipe.


  • 25 pounds grapes
  • 3 gallons water (for dissolving sugar)
  • 9 - 12 pounds corn sugar
  • 5 Campden tablets
  • 1.5 teaspoon yeast nutrient
  • 2.5 teaspoons pectic enzyme
  • 1 package wine yeast


Balling Reading: 18% - 20%
Specific gravity (SG): 1.10 to 1.12
Acid reading: .65 to .75

Step 1: Sanitizing

Mix 1/4 cup sodium bisulfite sanitizer in a one-gallon jug of water. Sanitize all equipment and utensils by coating all surfaces with sanitizer 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. Dissolve 8 pounds of corn sugar in 2 gallons of hot water and add to primary fermentor. Add cool water (unheated) to the 5.5 gallon mark on the primary fermentor.

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 Balling scale of the hydrometer where the liquid surface cuts across the stem. This figure is a measure of how much sugar is dissolved in the must. If it is less than 20 degrees, add one third cup corn sugar per gallon for each degree under 20 degrees. Dissolve the required amount of sugar in warm 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 reading of 20 degrees Balling.

Note: The final alcohol content may be determined by using the potential alcohol (PA) 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.

Step 4: Additives

Add yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, acid blend and crushed Campden tablets as called for in the recipe. If an acid test kit is available, use it to more accurately adjust total acidity. Cover the primary fermentor with a towel, loose-fitting lid, or plastic sheet and wait 8 hours.

Step 5: Yeast Preparation And Adding

Boil 1 cup of water and cool to 85 degrees F. Add entire contents of yeast packet, but do not stir. Set aside for 15 minutes, or until yeast "puffs up" or water becomes cloudy. Add yeast starter to 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 days or until the hydrometer reading reaches 1 to 4 degrees Balling.

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. Siphon 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: 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 degrees), the wine is ready for bottling.

If you wish to sweeten the wine at bottling time, add Sorbistat-K or similar product to prevent renewed fermentation in the bottle, and use a syrup made of 2 cups table sugar per 1 cup water. Boil the syrup for 5 minutes. Sweeten the wine to your taste and wait 1 week before bottling.

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

The best of luck to all!

Click here for an updated version of this recipe.