Juice from 18 lb (8.2 kg) tomatoes – about 1.67 gallons (6.3 liters)
4.84 lb (2.2 kg) sugar
2.5 quarts (2.4 liters) water
8 tsp (40 g) tartaric acid
2 tsp (10 g) diammonium phosphate
1 tsp (2.3 g) pectic enzyme
sulfite to 50 ppm (equivalent to two campden tablets)
premier cuvee yeast
Make a yeast starter and set it aside to grow. Juice the tomatoes and pour it into the fermenter. Dissolve the sugar in the water, boil, cool, and add to fermenter. Add sulfite, pectic enzyme, diammonium phosphate, and tartaric acid. Pitch the yeast starter when it is active.
Adjusting the sugar
I measured the pressed juice at:
Specific Gravity (SG): 1.024, pH: 4.23, Titratable Acidity (TA): 4 g/L
Based on those measurements, I decided to add 4.6 liters of SG 1.180 sugar syrup to the tomato juice. That’s 2.2 kg of sugar dissolved in 2.4 liters of water, and it ought to leave me with almost 11 liters of SG 1.090 juice. To determine how much sugar syrup to add in your own recipe, you can use this formula:
x = ( V * (TG – SG) ) / (1.180 – TG)
where x is the amount of sugar water, in liters, to add
V is the volume of must, in liters (6.3, in my case)
TG is your specific gravity target (1.090)
SG is the current specific gravity of your must (1.024)
The 1.180 is the SG of the sugar syrup (I was running out of variable names!)
Adjusting the acid
Once I adjusted the sugar, I knew what the final volume of the must was going to be, about 11 liters. Dry white wine musts are normally between 7 – 9 g/L TA, but I decided to aim a little low at 6 g/L. I wanted to add some acid to get the pH down, but not down so much that it would inhibit fermentation. It’s easy to add more later, and I expected to do just that. At any rate, I already had about 25 g (6.3 liters of juice at 4 g/L), and I was targeting 66 g (11 liters of must at 6 g/L), so I needed to add about 41 g. After the additions, I measured again:
SG: 1.104, pH: 3.02, TA: 6.5 g/L
My actual sugar and acid levels came out a little higher than I predicted, probably because my weight and volume measurements are imprecise – close enough. Now I’ve got a little under three gallons of sweet acidic tomato juice. I don’t know what tomato wine is going to taste like, but this juice is really odd. There is a strong flavor of tomato, which I like but is completely out of place in such a sweet juice. I hope the yeast like it, because I just pitched the starter.
Update 2/28/2008: Too much acid!
After fermentation, I measured the TA at 9-10 g/L. An error in my measurements might explain the apparent jump. I took two measurements just before pitching the yeast, however, and they were consistent with each other. I took two more measurements after it had fermented out, and they were both showed an increase of 2.5-3.5 g/L. I know that some acid forms during fermentation, but this much? I’m not sure what happened here, but I think the lesson is to wait until your wine is fermented out before you adjust your acid.
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