I just bottled this wine made from concentrated frozen Niagara grape juice – yep, wine from Welch’s grape juice. With good winemaking technique, you can turn this humble ingredient into a crisp dry white wine that’s surprisingly good and perfect for summer.
From a starting gravity of about 1.090, it fermented out to 0.992 and I did not sweeten. I know a lot of people will want to sweeten, but I advise against it. Mainly because it’s very good as a dry wine, but also because I’m afraid that sweetening will bring out a “grape juice” flavor. In fact, if you’re making fruit wine and want it taste more of raspberries, strawberries, or whatever you made it from, sweetening will bring some of the that fruit flavor out. That can be a good thing, but not in this case.
It’s acidic, with titratable acidity (TA) of 7 g/L and pH of 3. It may not look like it from the numbers, but this dry acidic wine is easy to drink – even at five months old.
How much does Welch’s wine cost?
From time to time, the concentrate goes on sale for $1/can. When it does I buy 12 cans, add about 6 lb (2.75 kg) of sugar and water to six gallons (23 liters). This gets me at least 5 gallons (19 liters) of finished wine. Here are the details:
|12 cans concentrate||1$/can||$12|
|6 lb sugar||$0.50/lb||$3|
Less than $1/bottle! To simplify, I didn’t include the cost of yeast, acid, or nutrient. They would add a tiny bit to the cost. Using cheaper closures (bag in a box, crown caps) would push the cost down.
Every winemaker should make Welch’s wine
Keeping yourself stocked up on Welch’s wine means never having to worry about topping up. Come up a little short on today’s racking? Pop open one of these.
You can also use a wine like this to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth from other wine. Store bought or homemade, they all should pass this simple test. Is it convincingly better than this $1/bottle wine in a blind tasting? If not, then why spend $10 on that Chardonnay or $150 on that high end kit? Don’t get me wrong; some will be better, but now you’ll know which ones.
But it’s a good wine in it’s own right, and that’s the best reason to make it. Crisp but easy to drink, it’s a good simple wine that you’ll want to have on hand.
About the label
When I started making this wine the headlines were pretty dire. This wine went from fermentation to bottle in less than six months and it cost less than 1$/bottle – and that includes 35 cents for the cork. Throw in easy drinking good flavor and you’ve got the perfect wine for hard times. So I decided to call it “Bailout Blanc.”
To label a wine like that, I wanted artwork that conveyed the stress most people are feeling in a lighthearted way. There are lots of way to do that, but Ferrell McCollough’s photo Chris Overworked really stood out. The composition and the post processing come together perfectly, and he was gracious enough to let me use it on my label.
You see a larger photo of the bottle here.