Below is the recipe I use for Hell Hath No Fury Red wine. We use Noble muscadines for this blend. It was our virgin foray into wine making, and our very first batch came out beautifully! 🙂
I’ll be adding notes to this as I go along so that I have an easy reference for the upcoming batches (we are out of grapes until this fall’s harvest).
This recipe is for FIVE gallons of wine, so the extreme numbers in the ingredient list are because I had to multiply from a one gallon recipe.
- 41 pounds of grapes, seeds and skins, crushed*
- Water (up to 36 pints, but because I am terrible about following directions….)
- Sugar (up to 12 pounds, but we have not used that much to date.)
- Acid blend
- 3 1/4 tsp. pectic Enzyme
- 6 1/2 tsp Yeast Nutrient
- 5 campden tablets, crushed
- 5 pkgs wine yeast (I use Lalvin Bourgovin RC212)
You will also need an acid tester and a hydrometer. Also, a graduated cylinder will be handy, as well.**
As the disclaimer in my favorite wine recipe book says, the recipe above is a general recipe to which you may have to adjust.
- Wash, remove from stems & discard any moldy or badly bruised grapes. Using a nylon straining bag or press, crush grapes and extract maximum juice from pulp.
- Test your juice using your acid tester and add acid blend according to the tester directions so that your acid level is .65% (tartaric). This does require math, though. Keep a scratch pad and your calculator handy if you can’t math in your head.
- Add sugar to adjust Specific Gravity to 1.095 – 1.100. DO make a note of your starting specific gravity, as this will assist in your calculating your alcohol content at the end. I forgot to do this the first time. Whoops.
- Add remaining ingredients, including pulp tied in straining bag, EXCEPT for yeast.
- After 24 hours, add yeast. How I did this was to dissolve the yeast in the recommended amount of water, per package directions, and letting sit in a measuring cup for up to 30 minutes (no more). I then added an equal amount of the must to the yeast and let sit until doubled to tripled in volume (including foam). This creates a yeast starter, which makes the yeast’s transition into the must a little easier, or so I have been told. Pour your yeast starter evenly over the top of your must, cover the primary fermenter and walk away.
- Stir daily, starting the next morning, check specific gravity and press pulp lightly to aid extraction.
- When ferment reaches SG 1.030 (about 5 days) lightly press juice from bag and syphon wine off sediment into a glass secondary. (At this point, because this is a very dry wine, anyway, and we didn’t add any sugar when we racked, but had to go back and add sugar to the must, we eliminated the stress factor and added four cups of sugar and three 1-pint bottles of spring water to the carboy prior to putting on the airlock.
- When ferment is complete (the SG has dropped to 1.000– about 3 weeks) syphon off of sediment into a clean secondary. Now, we only have the one large glass carboy, so what we did was syphon into our sterilized primary fermentation bucket, washed and sanitized the carboy, and then siphoned the wine back into the carboy. Place the airlock back on.
- To aid clearing, syphon again in 2 months, and once again, if necessary, before bottling.
Now, here is the timeline for the first batch:
October 10, 2014 – Started the first batch.
October 11, 2014 – Pitched the yeast.
October 15/16-ish, 2014 – Racked to secondary.
November 9, 2014 – Re-racked to primary, washed/sanitized secondary, siphoned back into secondary.
December 21, 2014 – Bottled, corked and labeled.
Now, this goes against just about EVERYTHING I have read and been told about bottling, but we were impatient, because of Christmas, and it tasted really good, so we figured what the hell, let’s do it. It turned out just terrific. 😀
The second batch is kind of going as follows:
December 27, 2014 – Started the batch. SG 1.1200.
December 28, 2014 – Pitched the yeast.
Saturday, January 3, 2015 – Racked to the secondary, added the 3 pints of spring water and 4 cups of sugar.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 – SG reading was 0.990, tasted very strong, and way too dry, so added 2 more pints of spring water and an additional cup of sugar and will check SG on 1-9-14.
Friday, January 9, 2015 – SG still 0.990. Still a little tart. Added 1 pint additional spring water.
Saturday, January 10, 2015 – taste test…very dry. Will add sugar slowly in the coming days to sweeten just a bit. Added 2 cups sugar dissolved in 2 cups wine from the carboy.
Thursday, January 22, 2015 – test test…still too dry. Doesn’t need more water, but will be adding two cups of sugar to the carboy. I cracked a bottle of the first batch, so I know what I’m tasting against, and more sugar will definitely help.
Thursday, February 12, 2015 – re-racked and tasted. Tastes about perfect. Going to let it age some more. Did I mention? Om, nom!
Friday, March 6, 2015 – Taste testing. A bit sweeter than the first batch, but the noble flavor is still there. Going to let it age for another month before tasting again. Hope to bottle in April.
*When using fresh grapes, I used a potato masher and a huge plastic bowl, transferring the contents of the bowl into a strainer bag that sat in our 7 gallon primary fermentation bucket.
**Below are pictures of equipment you pretty much want to have on hand to make things easier on yourself: