So, you just read an article on the internet about how to make wine with grape juice and sugar. The article tells you to use a balloon and a jug of milk and some yeast.
BUT, all articles omit the real secret to making wine with juice concentrate.
That’s how it is. Store-bought frozen grape juice concentrate has about twice the acid content of vineyard grapes. If you make wine with the juice, it will actually be wine.
But it will taste like grape juice, with the power to pucker up. Yes, it will have alcohol, but again, it won’t taste anything like the wine you are used to drinking. As noted above, it will taste like grape juice with a little kick and that’s it.
So what to do about it? Simple: neutralize the acid before adding the yeast.
As I said before, there are hundreds of articles and recipes for making wine from frozen concentrate. I won’t go into that here. What I’m going to show you is how to bring out the flavor of the grape without all that tangy flavor.
There is usually around 7/10 of a gram of acid content per liter of concentrated grape juice (after it has been diluted with water). Your goal is to reduce the acid content by approximately 50%. In other words, you need to neutralize about half of the acid before you start fermenting the wine.
There are two simple, homemade ways to do this, and they both work quite well without buying expensive chemicals.
The first is a simple over-the-counter antacid. Any generic brand will do. What you are looking for is one that is tasteless and its only active ingredient is calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate neutralizes acid (that’s why they call it “antacid”).
You should add, as a general rule of thumb, 500 milligrams per 1.3 liters. That’s about 3.5 tenths of a gram per liter, enough to neutralize about half of the acid. While this is by no means scientifically accurate, it will get the job done. Just crush the tablets and throw them into their juice and mix.
The second easy-to-find chemical is baking soda, baking soda.
Many wine experts recommend against doing this as it could add a salty flavor to your wine, but hey, we’re making wine from frozen concentrate, right? I promise you, you won’t taste it.
Measuring is a bit more difficult here, since baking soda comes in a box and most people don’t have any kind of measuring tool. Here’s a little tip: just put 1 teaspoon per gallon in and stir. It will neutralize enough acid to make a big difference in flavor when in the bottle.
Now that you know a HUGE insider secret, go buy all the frozen concentrate at the store and get down to business!