Grapefruit Wine!

I have a recipe for Grapefruit wine that we used last year to make about 10 gallons of it. It turned out really good, and so this year, we’re going to make 30 gallons.

However, the recipe I have is for just 1 gallon. I have a feeling that multiplying this recipe by 30 might cause any acceptable margin of error from the 1 gallon recipe to be way out of wack.

So, my plan is to set targets for the acid level and alcohol and then do lots of math and testing to figure out the best way to get there.

My goal is to make a medium dry or medium sweet wine with a PH between 3.1 and 3.4 and about 12% alcohol.

The recipe calls for the following ingredients (per gallon):

6 grapefruit
6 pints water
2.25 lbs sugar
1/4 tsp. Tannin
1 campden tablet
1 package champagne yeast

So, if we just multiple the recipe by 30, we’ll need:

180 grapefruit
180 pints water (22.5 gallons)
67.5 lbs sugar
7.5 tsp Tannin
30 campden tablets
maybe 6 packages of yeast?

So, we need to figure out if this is right, or what needs adjustment.

Right now, here are the numbers for the grapefruit:

pH: 2.4-2.5 (?!)
Sugar: 11.5 Brix

So, the first thing to do is to add enough water to the juice to make the acidity be acceptable.

The second thing is to add enough sugar to the mixture of juice and water to make the resulting wine have enough alcohol.

I need to find some charts and calculators. Here’s what I’ve found out so far:

– 11.5 Brix wine will make about a 5.8% alcohol wine (according to this:
– the above recipe adds 22.5 gallons of water (0 brix, 0 lbs sugar) to 7.5 gallons of juice at 11.5 brix (1 lb of sugar)…resulting in 7.5 lbs of sugar in 30 gallons of juice, or .25 lbs in 1 gallon…to make a 12.2% alcohol wine, you need to start with 22 Brix, or 2 lbs of sugar per gallon. So, we need to add 1.75 lbs per gallon…which is actually less than the recipe above calls for. Did I do the math right? If so, the orginal recipe would result in a 13.5% or so wine…which would actually be just fine. So, maybe we stick with the original sugar addition.

Grapefruit Wine Day!

This Saturday is Grapefruit wine day!

Here’s what we need to get done (hopefully):

1: Grapefruit wine

  • Wash, peel, and segment about 100 grapefruit(s?) and put it all in big straining bags
  • Wash and sanitize winemaking equipment
  • Run tests on the grapefruit juice (more on this later)
  • Mix water and sugar in primary fermenter, lower in bags of grapefruit
  • Crush campden tablets and add them (to stun the wild yeast and kill other possibly bad things)
  • Bring the fermenter inside the house to warm up overnight (before adding yeast)

2: Limoncello

We’re going to make some Limoncello with Lemons, Citron, and Grapefruit. We’ll make three separate bottles, then try blending them later when they’re done.

3: Rack the Cab

If we have time and enough help, we’ll rack the 07 Cab into a new barrel, then wash out the old one

4: Eat/Drink/Party

Our wine rocks!

So, I tasted and topped up our wine today. It’s coming along nicely! There’s no longer any trace of H2S, it’s really clear, the color seems to have improved (maybe because of evaporation in the barrel?), and it’s very drinkable.

I added a bit over a quart to the barrel to top it off. I’ll probably top it up a couple more times over the next 2 months. In February, we’ll rack into a new barrel…which we don’t actually have yet…but I’m sure that will get figured out in time. OR, we could use oak chips or sticks.

Making winemaking more environmentally friendly

Everything used in the winemaking process–testing equipment, barrels, the crusher/destemmer, the press, buckets, and so on–needs to be cleaned and sanitized before and after every use. This requires a lot of water and chemicals.

When we were making wine 6 gallons at a time, it wasn’t such a big deal. But now that we’re making 100+ gallons, the amount of water we use is astounding. The cost of so much water isn’t an issue — water is still unmetered in this part of Sacramento (this will be changing, however). The problem with using so much water is all the waste and the environmental impact.

One change I recently made in our winery is my bucket of rocks ™.

Sometimes, a 44 gallon fermenter needs to be filled with water and cleaning solution and let to stand overnight in order to really get it bacteria and odor-free. The purpose of my bucket of rocks(tm) is to displace a whole bunch of water and allow me to soak the whole inside of the 44 gallon fermenter with significantly less water. Here’s a picture:

Another thing that just occured to me is that if we switch to using 1-step (no-rinse) sanitizers, we’ll use at least half as much water in cleaning equipment. Is there any reason or application where the use of 1-step would be a bad idea? How does it work, exactly, and why doesn’t it need to be rinsed off?

Here’s an article from the NY Times that talks, in part, about the environmental impact of a bottle of wine.

I’ve only just started to look into how to make winemaking more environmentally friendly, but there seems to be a lot of information available on the subject. Do you have any ideas or tips from your winery? Post them in the comments.

Inside the Bad Astronauts’ Winery

Here’s the inside of our winery. Yes, that’s how the paint is. I used all the extra paint from inside our house, but we didn’t quite have enough of some colors. I think it looks great. Notice our brilliant way of storing carboys. The white fermenters in there are what we used for fermenting our Cab. The barrels in this picture contain Sam’s Zin and his Zin port. The barrel rack holding up the barrels on the right was given to us by the folks at Revolution Wines, who will be amazed at how well it cleaned up. I’ll get a picture of that now.

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The 2007 Cab in pictures

It turns out that we didn’t really take a lot of pictures of the winemaking process, unfortunately. However, we have some, and I’m going to post them here for your enjoyment. Enjoy.

This first photo is of me sulphiting the grapes and answering a question from Zach, while Kevin watches.

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