Bailout Blanc: White wine for hard times

Can you really make wine from Welch’s grape juice?

Turn Welch's grape juice and sugar into wine
Welch’s, or most any brand, of white grape juice is made from Niagra grapes. These aren’t considered wine grapes, and there’s a good reason for that. Still, with proper wine making technique, you can make a crisp dry white from concentrated frozen grape juice that is surprisingly good.

If you’re still feeling adventurous, why not make wine from seedless table grapes? I made a wine from store bought grapes when they were on sale, and I plan on comparing it to my Welch’s wine.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need for a 1-gallon or 5-gallon batch. When I create a recipe for 1-gallon of wine, I aim for 1-gallon of finished wine without the need for additional wine to top up. That means my 1-gallon recipe will make up about 1.5 gallons of must. Similarly, my 5-gallon recipe will yield over 6-gallons of must. Other recipes yield the same volume of must as the expected volume of finished wine. They assume that you will top up the batch with similar wine that you have on hand – that approach drove me nuts when I was starting out! The catch is that you’ll need to have extra containers on hand when you rack. For a 1-gallon batch, plan on having two wine bottles and two beer bottles to hold what doesn’t fit in the 1-gallon jug. For a 5-gallon batch, a 1-gallon jug, a half-gallon jug, and a wine bottle should do it.

Ingredient 1-Gallon
quantity
5-Gallon
quantity
12 oz can frozen grape juice 3 12
Sugar 1.3 lb (600 g) 6.25 lb (2.8 kg)
Water 1 Gallons + 1 Pint (4.25 L) 4.5 Gallons (17 L)
Pectic Enzyme 1.5 tsp 6 tsp
Diamonium Phosphate 1.5 tsp 6 tsp
Tartaric Acid 2 tsp (10 ml) 9 tsp (45 ml)
Tannin 0.25 tsp 1.5 tsp
Yeast 1 packet 1 packet

Sulfite to 50 ppm

Make sure the grape juice you buy is really 100% grape juice. There are a lot of fruit cocktails for sale with similar packaging that you should avoid.

Sugar and Acid

I have found the sugar content of concentrated frozen grape juice to be very consistent, so you’re very likely to get a starting specific gravity (SG) close to 1.090 by just following the recipe. It’s best to check with a hydrometer, though, and make necessary corrections up front. I’m less sure about the acid, so please check the titratable acidity (TA) of your must before you pitch the yeast.

Equipment

  • Primary fermenter – at least 2-gallon capacity for a 1-gallon batch, and 10-gallon capacity for a 5-gallon batch
  • Long Stirring Spoon
  • Racking cane and 6 feet of tubing
  • Secondary – either a 1-gallon jug or a 5-gallon carboy
  • Smaller containers – a half-gallon jug, a wine bottle, a beer bottle to hold small amounts from one racking to the next
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Scale

Procedure

Dissolve pectic enzyme, nutrient, tartaric acid, tannin, and sulfite in a quart (liter) of water.

Sanitize your primary fermenter.

Add frozen grape concentrate.

Bring 3 quarts (liters) water to a boil, take off heat and dissolve sugar, bring back to a boil for one minute, cool and add to fermenter.

Pour the additive solution into the fermenter.

Add 4 gallons (15 liters) water to the fermenter.

Take measurments (specific gravity, pH, and titratable acidity).

Pitch yeast.

Stir the fermenting wine every day, for the next week or two, until it ferments out. Rack to a secondary fermenter (1 gallon jug or 5-gallon carboy) and any other smaller containers that you might need. After that, rack as needed (when it throws sediment) and when it remains clear and dry (specific gravity less than 1.000), you can bottle. I often bottle about six months to a year after pitching the yeast.

How does Welch’s wine taste?

Its hard for me to describe this wine, but how can you not be curious enough to try it yourself? It’s not for special occasions, but sometimes your really do want a wine that goes well with a ham sandwich or chicken McNuggets – cheers!

Update 7/6/2009 – Bottled in six months and surprisingly good!

It’s a crisp white wine that’s easy to drink, and you can make it for less that $1/bottle.



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64 thoughts on “Bailout Blanc: White wine for hard times

  1. John

    I just made a batch of Welch’s wine from plain old Welch’s concord grape juice. I didn’t use the frozen kind for this experiment. All I did was put the juice in my primary, take a hydrometer reading, adjust the sugar content for my target S.G. ( I decided to shoot for high abv: 14%, so my original specific gravity was 1.104), and pitch red star cuvee yeast. This was so easy! In fact, the ease is why I chose to do a wine out of such a ubiquitous material as Welch’s grape juice. When I racked this wine a few weeks ago, it was at S.G. of 1.002 (making the then current alcohol 13.87%), and it tasted like you might expect cheap wine to taste – cheap! But with such high alcohol content, it really doesn’t matter. This wine will be for one purpose only: a quick buzz.

    Erroll, I’m curious. What yeast did you use in your starter? Also, would you be interested in a wine swap? I would like that very much, as it would give me insights into my wines and a chance to try a wine made by a winemaker I have come to admire. What do you think?

  2. Erroll Post author

    Hello John,

    There’s certainly a limit to what you can do with these ingredients, but I usually aim a little higher than a quick buzz. I’ve made this wine by full reconstituting the juice, which would be like using the ready-to-drink juice, but I find the flavor of Concord and Niagara grapes too strong. The wine ended up tasting like alcoholic Welch’s grape juice, which is not what I’m after, so now I use more water than necessary to reconstitute the juice and ferment to dryness. I find this watered down wine has a better flavor (to my taste).

    It’s a wine some people won’t care for, some will make for a quick buzz (nothing wrong with that!) and others will make to complement their mac n cheese. I think every winemaker should try it at least once. I usually make some when I notice the concentrate on sale.

    I’ve used different yeasts in the past, Red Star’s Premier Cuvee most often. For this batch I used Lavlin’s 71-B. I had some on hand to use with my “Backyard Burgundy” – about half a gallon of wine from my bonsai vineyard. I didn’t think the grapes fully ripened, so I wanted to take advantage of 71-B’s ability to consume malic acid.

    Erroll

  3. John

    Erroll,

    I use Red Star Cuvee most often also. Interesting about 71-B. I will keep that in mind. You are right, too, about the Welch’s Wine tasting like alcoholic Welch’s grape juice. Not the best wine I’ve had in my life, but it does the trick, and to my surprise it does go well with mac and cheese. Who would have known wine can be paired with that great American delicacy? As always, thanks for the blog. Keep up the good work.

    – John

  4. ScottP

    I’ve used it 3 times in a pyment (grape mead) with fantastic results. It’s true the honey might have helped, but it’s interesting to hear someone’s tried it standalone. Good post.

  5. Erroll Post author

    Hi Scott,

    Every so often I wonder how different it would be if I used honey. Next time I ought to make two smaller batches, one with sugar and one with honey. Now that you’ve reminded me, I’m kicking myself for not doing it this time!

    Erroll

  6. Mike

    I am new to wine making . I have 2 questions about this recipe. #1 Is tartaric acid really needed? #2 You bottle 6 months to a year after pitching the yeas? I was told a white wine is only good for 6 months to a year? Thanks Mike

  7. Erroll Post author

    Hi Mike,

    Acidity is important to how a wine will taste, and my experience is that there isn’t enough acid in the juice when you use two cans of concentrate per gallon. The best way to do it is to measure the acid and then add exactly the amount you need. If you’d rather not measure, then following this recipe is the next best thing. I’ve done that (followed this recipe) many times, and the acidity has always been about right. Tartaric acid is easy to get, cheap, not difficult to use, and not harmful at all – so I would suggest adding the acid.

    I’ve made this recipe before, and I like it after a year. Other people like it sooner. If you want to bottle more quickly, you can. If you do, I suggest fining with bentonite.

    Good luck with the wine, and I hope you let me know how it turns out.

    Erroll

  8. michael

    can you use a acid blend, or should you use straight tartaric acid. and i have yeat nutrient that is amonium phosohate instead of diamonium phosphate. wasn;t sure on the differences. I am kinda new to wine making, have been making kit wine. and am startign to make my own wines. very interesting site. and very helpful.
    thanks
    mike

  9. Erroll Post author

    Hi Mike,

    There are lots of nutrients available, and if you use them according to the directions they should work fine. So I think you’re good to go in the nutrient department. Similarly, acid blend can be used as a direct substitute for tartaric acid.

    Erroll

  10. Erroll Post author

    Hello Alfonso,

    White wines are normally fermented cool. I’d recommend between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit in most cases.

    Erroll

  11. dave

    Hi,
    Great article!
    I am experimenting with 2 liter batches of wine. So far they all taste good but a bit thin for my tastes (i like cabs!) Anyway, besides all the additives – i use one can of concentrate and 1-1/2 cup sugar. that does about 13-15% abv using star cuvee yeast, but again…it is a bit thin tasting with an alcohol burn like port wine.

    Could i substitute the sugar by simply using an extra can of concentrate? If so would the abv be about the same? I like my wines in the 12-14% range. Do i really have to add extra sugar if I use two cans?

    Thanks!
    Dave

  12. Erroll Post author

    Hi Dave,

    You can use more cans of concentrate instead of adding sugar. I tried it and didn’t like it because the wine ended up tasting a bit like Welch’s grape juice. It’s your wine, though, so it doesn’t matter if I like it or not – give it a try and see.

    It’s possible to make a nice dry white wine, and the recipe I posted will get you there. I just don’t think any amount of tinkering with Welch’s concentrates will get you something with the weight of a full bodied red wine. Have you thought about a red wine kit?

    Erroll

  13. Cory

    hey there everyone.. I just bottled my first ever wine from scratch. I made it from welches concord. I always wondered why concord wine was so sweet and I think we all know why.. cause the dry state of welches jus isnt all that great.. it tastes cheap and a lil thin. I thought why not shoot for a low to medium body but add lots of flavor., I added pure concord juice, blueberry/pomegranate juice, and some pure blueberry extract for some tartness all at the end when i stabilize the wine.. the result is a semi-sweet very pretty blush with super fruity aromas, and easy drinkability!! It really turned out better than I thought possible… this idea has open new doors to me. the combinations are endless… say white grape and sweeten with fresh peach or pear juice.. You could add sugar or jus let the natural sweetness of the fruits do their thing.. whatever your prefrence. 8)

  14. Cory

    Here is my recipe. I will be making this from now on as a reg.
    Concord Blush 13-14 % (3 gal.)

    * 1 1/2 Gal. Concord grape juice

    * 1 can concord frozen concentrate

    * 1 Gal. 1 pint of spring water

    * 1000 Grams (aprox. 2 1/4 lbs.) sugar

    * 3 tea. yeast nutrient ,6 tea. acid blend
    1 1/2 tea. pectic enzyme

    * ferment in primary for 11 days
    ferment in secondary for 2 weeks

    * stabilize with 2 1/2 campden tabs
    1 tea. potassium sorbate

    * sweeten with 3/4 cup pure concord juice,
    1 cup of welches concord, 1 1/2 cup ocean spray blueberry/
    Pomegranate, 1/4 cup pure blueberry concentrate,
    1 1/2 cup sugar, topped off with mogen david concord/pomegranate wine (4$ a bottle)

    * allow sit for 2 weeks or bottle when clear

    Im no wine snobb but i do know my wines, this wine has amazed me!! The looks, aroma, taste, buzz lol everything you could ask for.. Try this you wont be dissapointed!! cheers

  15. Erroll Post author

    Hi Cory,

    Your Concord Blush sounds great – and I’m mostly a dry wine guy. Do you have note on your specific gravity readings (at start, after it had fermented out, and after sweetening)?

    Erroll

  16. Cory

    Hey Erroll,

    I actually broke my hydrometer just before I started this :(.. I used the Vino meter to get the reading I got. Im very fond of the dry wines myself. It is what I prefer. Next time I am going to sweeten with just a tad bit of fruit and no sugar and see what I get. I will be also trying your recipe very soon 🙂 You are spot on about adding more water than necessary, I came to the very same conclusion! Have you tried a mixture of concord and niagra?? Great post Erroll!! I love the name Bailout Blanc by the way!! hehee

  17. Erroll Post author

    Have you tried a mixture of concord and niagra??

    I’ve made this recipe with Concord, and I’ve made it with Niagara. They taste different, they’re both good, so once in a while I wonder about one can of each per gallon of must – haven’t tried it yet.

  18. Berry

    Can you drink this wine after primary fermentation and bottling? (i.e. after 1-2 weeks). There are A LOT of sites on the internet here, and they all suggest different fermentation times. I just want to make the wine… fast! I can’t see myself fermenting the wine for one year just for a single bottle.
    Do you have any suggestions, Erroll?
    thanks, Berry

  19. Erroll Post author

    Hi Berry,

    If you want to make wine fast, there are more steps. Once the yeast is done, and this might only take two weeks, there will be lots of stuff suspended in the wine – that’s why it’s cloudy. That stuff will settle out, leaving you with clear wine, if you give it enough time. If you’re in a hurry, you’ll have to fine – that’s adding more stuff to your wine that will combine with the stuff that’s already in it. Combined, they’re heavier and settle out faster.

    There’s also a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2) in you wine early on. Again, this will dissipate all by itself if you let it. If you’re in a hurry, then you can degass – agitate the wine until the CO2 bubbles out. Think if a glass of pop. If you stir it with a spoon it will foam up – some of the CO2 has escaped. Do it again and you’ll get more foam. Eventually you will stop getting foam, and at that point your glass of pop will be degassed. The same approach will work on your newly fermented wine.

    I’ve heard of people using a handheld FoodSaver to degass – see this video.

    So if you take care to have a healthy fermentation, fine, and degass, you’ll be able to bottle sooner – maybe as soon as one month. I don’t know how it will taste at that point, but it’s doable. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

    Erroll

  20. Sami

    cheeeers,,
    I made my first batch of 5-gallon of white wine using your recipe. But I made a terrible mistake here. I forget to put Pectic Enzyme, Diamonium Phosphate, Tartaric Acid and Tannin. I am in the twentieth day of fermentation. Is there a chance to fix this problem? The fermentation slows down now to the lowest level.

    apprecaite your help

  21. Erroll Post author

    Let’s start with the Diamonium Phosphate. It’s a yeast nutrient that you add to make sure fermentation is healthy and quick. What you do now depends on how the fermentation is going: if the fermentation is sluggish and ongoing, then I would add some now. Do you have a specific gravity reading? If you’re below 1.000 I would skip it this time and make sure to remember it in the next batch. Otherwise I would add half the amount in the recipe right now.

    The other three are not critical to fermentation, but will affect the appearance and taste of the wine. I think you should focus on getting the wine fermented out now, then add acid, tannin, and enzyme when you rack your dry wine.

    Hope this helps,
    Erroll

  22. Sami

    Thank you for the answer.
    I took a new reading today and it shows 1.000(I started with 1.100). It means fermentation is over :(.
    I will rack it after one week and I will add the other products as well as per your recommendation.
    I noticed when I took a sip from the wine that it is still taste little bit sweet although all sugar has consumed. I do not like sweet wine in general. Is there a way to get over this problem? I learned from other site that when the reading is 1.000 then I should expect a dry and non-sweet wine!! Is this true or I am missing some thing here.
    One more question please: I took a redaing using Brix and it reads 11. What does this means?
    I appreciate your help.

  23. Eric L

    I made the recipe, and stupidly I left too much headspace so the whole lot turned to sherry after the first racking. I tried again, but I added honey and a 100% mixed berry juice that I got from trader joe’s to bring the gravity up. Initial taste test are shockingly good. It’s not cabernet sauvignon but the berry juice adds nice purple color and fruit flavors for complexity I recommend it to anyone who wants to try it.

    Thanks for the recipe and fun website.

  24. Erroll Post author

    I’m glad it worked out for you, Eric. You reminded us all how important it is to not get discouraged and try again!

    Erroll

  25. emma

    I’m very excited to try out this recipe. I’ll probably make 1 gallon for the first time. I’m just confused that the yeast amount is same for both 1 gallon recipe and 5 gallon one. Would you please clarify this for me. Thanks a lot!

  26. emma

    I’m back again. I don’t have a 5 gallon jug but have five 1 gallon jug. Is it okay to put 1 gram (1/5 of a packet) of yeast to each 1 gallon jug? Thank you!

  27. Erroll Post author

    Hi emma,

    It seems like the amount of yeast should scale – one fifth the must, so one fifth the yeast. But the usual recommendation is to use one packet of yeast for one to five gallons of wine. I think this is because it’s hard for home wine makers to precisely divide the packet into fifths. If you’re dealing with small amounts and you can’t measure precisely, then you could be use far too little yeast.

    So I would use the whole packet.

    Erroll

  28. Mike

    Hi,

    I thought my carboy was a 6 gallon. Just made this and I’m a gallon shy on the water. Will it be too strong and kill the yeast? Lalvin 71B 1122

    I do have another carboy, but I hate to split the batch in two, as I wanted to start another batch in about 6 weeks.

    Need I worry? First attempt at wine, but I’ve been making beer for a long time.

  29. Erroll Post author

    Hi Mike,

    Did you take a hydrometer reading? You really should, because then you’ll know how much alcohol you’re likely to get. You can compare that to the tolerance of your yeast to see if it will have any trouble.

    It’s not just the yeast you should be worried about, though. Reducing the water will concentrate the grape juice just like using more cans of concentrate will. In my experience that makes the wine taste too much like alcoholic grape juice. So, if it were me, I’d split the batch to preserve the water, sugar, grape juice proportions.

    I don’t fine with gelatin, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it. I think home brewers use it to remove yeast from their just-fermented beer, and it should behave the same way in wine. Since wine making is often on a longer schedule than beer making (giving the yeast time to settle out on its own), you probably wont need the gelatin.

    Let me know what you decide and how it turns out!

    Erroll

  30. Mike

    Thanks, Erroll,

    I’ve always been kind of lazy with the hydrometer. It’s kind of funny, as I also make maple syrup in the spring and my partner in crime on that uses a hydrometer to tell when the sap is syrup. I just look at the way it’s boiling and know it’s done. I guess that’s been my approach to beer also…follow the recipe, watch the temps, sterilize everything, pitch the yeast after making a starter, and call it good. If it has alcohol in it, good enough. 😀

    You’re right on the money as to why we beer guys use gelatin to fine…gets those nasties to settle right out in a hurry. I usually do that step about 3 days before I bottle. I have a vegan buddy who uses Irish Moss instead, does the same thing.

    I don’t know that I’ll mind something that tastes like alcoholic grape juice, I’m as happy with a bottle of Boones Farm as I am with an expensive bottle of Merlot. Some of the best wine I can somewhat remember was swill around a campfire. So I guess unless it’s so strong that it kills the yeast and fermentation stalls, I’ll probably let it be but reduce the recipe next time. Will let you know how it turns out.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  31. Mike

    And you gardeners out there…those empty Welch’s cans make nice planters for tomato plants in between the time you start them and the time you plant them.

  32. Logan

    I bought my Welches white grape concentrate today, 4 cans worth… I also have some tartaric acid, Lalvin EC-1118 wine yeast, potassium metabisulphite, potassium sorbate, and a 1kg bag of dextrose. (Do you know how dextrose differs from regular sugar in fermentation?)

    How important is the pectic enzyme? My understanding was that it was added to must to help break down solid fruit. Is that incorrect?

    As for the tannins, I heard I can add a bit of tea… if I made a half cup of tea and added that to my welches must, do you know if that would do the trick for added tannins?

    How important is it to use a hydrometer before starting fermentation? I don’t have one, and was thinking I’d just use the 4 cans of welches concentrate, with the 1kg bag of dextrose, and fill the 5Gal jug until it’s full enough… do you think that is about right?

    I was going to start a batch tonight, but the stopper I got with the airlock I bought doesn’t fit my 5Gal water jug, so I will be checking out the hardware store tomorrow to see if they have one a bit smaller, because the wine making supplier near where I live only sold the “standard” size 11. I might just buy a real fermenter but still hoping to use one of the water jugs I have sitting around taking up space.

  33. Pingback: Whats the best welches white grape wine? - Home Brew Forums

  34. Jim

    I too oaked my wine and modified the recipe some. I made mine with 30 lbs dark Thompson seedless and 20 cans Welch’s Niagara concentrate to yield 12 gallons initial must and 10 finished gallons of a nice rose or blush.

    ABV: 14.5% with 71B-1122
    30 lbs. – Thompson Seedless grapes (table grapes), stemmed
    20 cans – Welch’s frozen Niagara White Grape concentrate, thawed
    3 TBS – Pectic enzyme
    8 TBS – Acid blend
    4 TBS – Powdered wine tannin
    4 TBS – Yeast nutrient
    5 lbs. – Granulated sugar
    2 pkgs. – Wine yeast (Lalvin 71B-1122)
    Water
    ½ tsp – Potassium metabisulfite
    1 – French medium roast oak spiroll

    I use a Rubbermaid Brute 20-gallon trash container (they are food grade!) as my big-batch primarry. Put the grapes directly in must after crush, strained after primary fermentation through a sanitized 5-gallon paint strainer. Settled one day, then into secondaries. Oaked with one French medium dark spiroll, which I left in the 5-gallon carboy for 14 days, then transfered to the other 5-gallon carboy for 14 days. Time it by taste; easy to over-oak this wine. I backsweetened with one cup invert sugar syrup per carboy, which does not make the wine sweet but does add mouthfeel. I have about $2.25 a bottle in it, a 50-bottle yield, and it is a fine light wine that acts as a canvas for the oak’s artwork. It will be an excellent choice for sitting on the porch during the coming Dog Days afternoons!

  35. Donna

    I am so happy to have found your blog! I received a complete wine making kit last Christmas and made one batch from the pre-mixed ingredients at the wine store. Was OK. but I’m very excited about trying this recipe.

    But my questions are these:
    1. The entire fermenting/clearing process took 28 days and then I bottled the wine and let it sit for another long 28 days according to the not terribly helpful directions that came with the kit. Is this a fairly accurate timeline for this recipe.

    Newbie in need of some insight,
    Donna

  36. Erroll Post author

    … process took 28 days and then I bottled the wine and let it sit for another long 28 days according to the not terribly helpful directions that came with the kit. Is this a fairly accurate timeline for this recipe

    It’s hard to put winemaking on a schedule. Kit manufacturers do that by preparing and providing all the ingredients, so they can be pretty confident that the wine will ferment to dryness without slowing or stopping. They include finings (like bentonite or other fining agents) to clear the wine quickly.

    Here, you’re going out and getting your own ingredients, mixing your own additives, and maybe skipping the fining step. So your wine might take longer to ferment (maybe insufficient nutrient, pH too low, or something else), might not clear quickly (because you didn’t fine or the fining agents you picked don’t work well or quickly with the particular wine your making), or might even get stuck.

    I would say to rack after it’s fermented to dryness (or after a week if you’re using an open fermenter – this to get the wine protected from oxidation before too long), rack again after it’s thrown sediment (no sooner than a month – racking too frequently increases oxidation risk). It’s ready to bottle if it’s fermented to dryness (check this with a hydrometer – airlock activity can stop if the fermentation gets stuck – if you bottle with residual sugar it could start fermenting again in the bottle) and it’s not throwing sediment anymore (say, a month of no sediment after the last racking).

    Use sulfite initially, and at every other racking. This will help protect against oxidation and unwanted micro-critters.

    Hope this helps,
    Erroll

  37. Donna

    Hi Erroll,

    Another question: The kit I used first had me add a packet of Bentonite at the “Primary Fermentation” (their term 🙂 Kieselol and Chitosan at the “Stabilizing & Clearing” first raking? I was able to get all the individual ingredients on your recipe at the place where I bought the kit. But I didn’t get these that I mentioned.

    Going back this week and would like your opinion before I buy these.

    Thanks for your help!
    Donna

  38. Erroll Post author

    The kit I used first had me add a packet of Bentonite at the “Primary Fermentation” (their term Kieselol and Chitosan at the “Stabilizing & Clearing”

    Fining, and that’s what these ingredients are for, is an optional step that I left out of this recipe. I wanted to keep it simple. It’s worthwhile, though, and I fine some of my wines. The trick is finding out which fining agents will work best on the wine you’re making. Since there’s not a lot of research on Welch’s wine, we need to fall back on other similar-enough wines. So using the same technique as a white kit wine would be a good starting point. So would Bentonite followed by Sparkolloid.

    For whatever it’s worth, I’ve used (and recommend) Bentonite on white wines and mead.

    Oh, “primary fermentation” is the first step – where you initially add the yeast. “Stabilizing and clearing” occurs after the wine has fermented out.

    Erroll

  39. rob

    I’ve been making a sparkling ‘cold duck’ wine using Welch’s grape juice which ends up exceedingly dry with age (my preference). My father-in-law made this recipe fifty years ago and I’ve been told they used to sit around the camp fire with six to ten friends and drink a whole case of the stuff. Here goes:

    Two bottles (40oz) of Welch’s Grape Juice (unsweetened). This is the red juice.
    The recipe calls for one packet Montrechet wine yeast – I use Lalvin EC1118 with excellent results.
    Seven pounds granulated sugar.
    Five ounces Real Lemon Juice (or fresh squeezed)
    Five ounces Strong Cold Tea (tannin substitute)

    The recipe doesn’t stipulate using Primary and Secondary fermentation vessels but I start with the plastic pail into which I put the juice. I then take five pounds of the sugar and dissolve it in five cups of boiling water. After it cools to room temperature or so add to the juice.

    Next add the lemon juice and tea and bring the water in the pail containing the juice and sugar solution up to about 2/3 full (ie. 2/3’s of 5 US gallons) and mix well. Now add yeast ( I always hydrate according to directions on the packet before adding).

    At this point the recipe (which presumes starting with a glass jug) says to install fermentation lock and leave for a week. I just leave it in the sealed plastic pail for three to five days until SG is under 1.040 before racking into glass. Whichever method you choose, after one week make another sugar water solution using the rest (two pounds) of your sugar and two cups of water. Boil a couple of minutes, cool and add to fermenter. Make sure your fermenter is then filled (using water) to about three inches from the top. For the record I am using an 18.9l glass secondary which is about 5 US gallons.

    Keep an eye on the valve lock. When it gets down to two blips or so per minute in about two to three weeks you are ready to bottle but before you do you must add 2 cups sugar and one cup water (solution) for the sparkling effect.

    I’ve never measured starting SG on this one but it seems fairly potent and drinks easily (a potentially ‘dangerous’ combination so watch out). The recipe says it’s okay to drink after a month in the bottle but it definitely improves with age. For me it’s a minimum four months before opening but what I am drinking now was bottled last February (yowza).

    The only real change I’ve made to this recipe is to cut back on the amount of ‘charging’ sugar by about a half and use dextrose instead of granulated, same as I would for beer as opening can be volcanic. I still err on the side of caution and open over the sink with several glasses at the ready just in case. Also this wine should be extremely well chilled (in the fridge for a minimum of seven hours) before opening in order to eliminate explosive outcomes (my missus opened one of these before it was fully chilled and it went off like a mortar round). In winter I will stick it out on my deck for a few hours at or around zero centigrade (32F) or for about half the time or less if it’s sub-freezing. Oh and I use the plastic stoppers which are re-usable and wire cages which I’ve found can also be re-used (once) if you are careful. Anyway just make sure it is really cold before you open it. I’d say overnight in the fridge (when the door stays closed the longest) is the best plan.

    Right now this is one of the most economical wines I make with the juice costing me under 5 dollars (Cdn) especially when I manage to find sugar for .99 per kilogram. I’m going to make this recipe with the white juice to see how it compares to the red.

    Erroll I was also wondering about substituting juice for the frozen concentrate in your non-sparkling recipe. I thought I’d try something like what Cory’s doing using the addition of some white wine concentrate and/or raisins to give it a little more body.

    Cheers!

  40. Donna

    Thanks again for the reply Erroll,

    I stopped by my local wine making shop and picked up a packet of “Liquor Quick Super-Kleer, KC.” It’s divided into two sections of liquid Kieselol and Chitosan. The package says it will “brilliantly” clear the wine in 12-24 hrs! WOW it’s a miracle . . . I say that because the kit the I used had me add these at the first racking and it still took almost 28 days to clear . . . we’ll see. I’ll let you know how it works out.

    BTW, I racked the wine a few days ago so I’ll be adding it this weekend. Hope that doesn’t upset the balance here. So far so good.

    Donna

  41. Erroll Post author

    Hi rob,

    Thanks for sharing your recipe, and your experience with it. I would think that substituting juice for frozen concentrate, in my recipe, would work fine. You’ll want to make sure there are no preservatives in the juice that could inhibit the yeast. Sorbate, for example. You’ll also want to make sure to get your starting gravity right. Good luck, and let me know how it works out!

    Erroll

  42. Erroll Post author

    I stopped by my local wine making shop and picked up a packet of “Liquor Quick Super-Kleer, KC.”

    Donna, I’ve not used Super-Kleer myself, but I know people who have and it worked really well for them.

    Erroll

  43. Donna

    Erroll.

    Have you tired this recipe with 100% apple juice concentrate. I’m thinking about making a gallon to test but would like to know if the ratios would be the same as with the grape concentrate.

    Donna

  44. Erroll Post author

    > Have you tired this recipe with 100% apple juice concentrate

    I haven’t. When I make apple wine I start from juice or apples, but I think it would work just fine. You could try it two ways:

    • Use the Welch’s Wine recipe as is, and substitute apple juice concentrate
    • Reconstitute the apple juice and make Apple Wine from juice

    If you do, let me know how it goes.

    Erroll

  45. Donna

    Yes I will. Think I’ll try one gallon since my carboy is busy with my other. Is this a dry wine like the welchs?

    Another question. If I rack my current batch again do I need to degas it too and/or add more clearing solution?

    Donna

  46. Donna Frierson

    Hi again Erroll! Just wanted you to know that I’m making batch after batch Welch’s Apple Juice Concentrate Wine! I liked the Grape Concentrate but the Apple makes a drier wine for some reason, less sweet even has a little fizz. Thanks so much for your ideas and recipe.

    BTW. I’ve been using Liquor Quik: Super-Kleer K.C. It clears the wine in about two weeks. For some reason it cleared the Grape wine quicker – have no idea why.

    I was wondering if you ever made wine from watermelon? Might try that next. I have a one gallon set up for experimenting.

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