Grow your own grapes and make your own wine ...
If this is your dream, you've come to the right place. I have tried to gather all the information you will need to attain this goal.
You will find articles and information about growing your own grapes and making your own wine through this web site. As time goes on, I hope to continue adding more pages of articles and information that will benefit you as you try and grow your own grapes and make your own wine.
Grape Growing is a fascinating hobby that we all can enjoy. You can pursuit this hobby in your backyard by growing grapes along a well lit fence or by making a trellis with one or more rows in your garden. It all depends on how much space you have to grow your grapes.
If you live in the country, you may want to start a real vineyard. I would suggest that you start small and plant a few varieties to find out which grape varieties are adapted to your area. With the right grape varieties, a small vineyard of 150 grapevines will supply you with enough wine to drink throughout the year and impress your family and friends with your own unique vintages.
There are two distinct groups of grape varieties you can choose from when setting up your planting. Growers in traditional grape growing areas like California will probably use the European grape varieties, also known as vinifera grapes. Most of us live outside traditional growing areas where winters and short growing seasons limit us to hybrid grape varieties.
Hybrid grapes have been bred to combine the best of the vinifera characteristics with the winter hardiness and disease resistance of the American grape species. You can find a hybrid grape variety that is adapted to just about any location in America.
Grapes are perennial plants and it will be about three years before you are able to harvest your first grape crop. At that time, you will be able to begin your wine making endeavors.
You can make either red or white wine from the grapes you have grown. The types of wine you make will be dependent upon the grapes you grow. Obviously, red varieties make red wine while white varieties make white wine.
The important thing when making wine from your own grapes is that you start off with fully ripe, disease free grapes. Ripeness is dependent upon the grape varieties you are growing and the alcohol content you wish to attain in the finished wine. Generally you are shooting for around 24% sugar to obtain a 12% alcohol content of the wine.
The style of wine you are trying to make should also be taken in to consideration too. White wines range from low alcohol, Germanic style wines to high alcohol, full-bodied wines. Red wines usually need a higher alcohol content than white wines to achieve the necessary balance that red wines need to be drinkable.
The acidity of the grapes also needs to be considered when making wine. Most hybrid grapes are high in acidity and this grape acidity must be adjusted before the actual wine making begins. There a chemicals that can be purchased through your local wine making store to bring the acidity down to the proper levels. You are trying to have your unfermented grape juice in the range of between 0.7 and 1.2 g/l of acid. This will give you a pH of between 3.0 and 3.55.
Once you have the sugar content you wish for the style of wine you are making and have adjusted the acidity, you add your wine making yeast. There are many wine yeasts available. Each imparts different, subtle flavors and characteristics to your wine. You should choose your yeast for the style of wine you are trying to make.
Wine fermentation usually takes about a week. When the bubbling has finished the wine is "racked" into carboys and kept from spoiling by the use of a fermentation lock. This is the beginning of the wine aging process which will allow the wine to clear and become ready for bottling. This may take a few months. During that time, the wine is racked every so often as to aid in the clarification of the wine. Once the wine is crystal clear you can bottle it and the wine will undergo bottle aging for a few months before it is ready to drink.
Growing your own grapes and making your own wine can be one of the most rewarding hobbies. The best reward is when you serve your own wine to your family and friends and they applaud your efforts. I hope that if growing your own grapes and making your own wine is your dream, you will come back to this web site again and again to see the new information that I will be adding for your reading pleasure...