Juice for Wine Making

Well I didn’t get around to starting my wine going yesterday because I have a cold and felt really bad. I did think a bit more about which juices might be best for wine making though.

Typical juice cartons sold in supermarkets can be stored at room temperature for a long time. They don’t start to go bad until you have opened them, and even then they last for several days in the refrigerator. So why is this? They don’t include preservatives in the ingredients list – in fact they say 100% juice. In some cases, they say 100% fruit content which is a little closer to the truth.

To save storage costs, juice is reduced to a concentrated form by removing a lot of the water content. To preserve it, they “deaerate” it – that is , they remove as much oxygen as possible. Alternatively, they pasteurise it to kill off any organisms that may be in the juice. This means it can be stored in huge tanks for at least a year. When it is packaged, water is re-introduced, along with something to improve the flavour of the juice. They are not listed in the ingredients because they are naturally occurring in juice and are considered part of reconstituting it back to juice again.

If you look in the chillers at the supermarket, you can find other cartons of juice that must be kept refrigerated. This has been pasteurised, but never reduced to a concentrate. However, they still add the flavour enhancers.

So which is best for wine making? Probably the chilled juice, but it must be allowed to go to room temperature before putting the yeast in it.

Another kind of juice that can be found in some stores is known as “pressé”. This is simply French for “pressed” or “squeezed”. It tends to contain more fruit pulp than other juices, which probably accounts for its better flavour. This will produce a lot more sediment during the fermentation process, but that’s a small price to pay if the resulting wine tastes better.

Of course, with the easy availability of juicing machines for the home, you can’t do better than buying a lot of fruit and juicing it yourself. Beware though, that a lot of domestic machines are not designed for juicing a lot of fruit at a time and the motor can start to overheat, so give it a five-minute rest from time to time.

We are lucky enough to have a market nearby, and if you go there during the last 30 minutes of trading, you can often pick up fruit at bargain prices. The traders don’t want to take it back with them – they would rather get a reduced price for it than let it spoil.

As it happens, I have already bought 4 litres of grape juice NOT made from concentrate, which is what I shall use for my first experiment in wine making.

March 21, 2012 · Phil Rogers · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Wine making

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