Winemaker Blog – Baco Noir!


Empty tanks ready for fresh Cranberry juice, Baco Noir (red wine) and Concord (red wine) juice.

We received a juice shipment on Monday. Walker’s Wine Juice from Forestville, NY, arrived with tanks containing 550 gallons each of Cranberry juice, Baco Noir (red wine) grape juice and Concord (red wine) grape juice. The Walker family is a farm family that grows many acres of fruit, and buys/presses many tons of fruit each year. They cold-store this juice until needed by winemakers like me.

There are several benefits to processing juice vs. grapes. It requires less labor, as I received the juice on Monday by myself, rather than having 4 people handling grapes. It was much faster, as I tanked 1650 gallons of juice in about the time we could process 90 gallons from grapes. I can get juice that I can’t buy locally. And I can make wine during the year other than during the frantic grape harvest season, making better use of our facilities.

I split each of these juices into 3 tanks, total of 9 tanks, for fermentation. A foamy head develops during fermentation, so tanks can’t be completely full. I added sulfites to the juice to protect it against wild yeast that could gain a foothold before my wine yeast get started. I then let the juice rest for a day to warm up, as it was approximately 36 degrees on arrival, much too cold for our yeast.

Tuesday I circulated the juice in each tank with a pump to ensure that the sulfites were well distributed. I added some cane sugar to the Baco juice to up the alcohol that will result. Towards the end of the day the juice had warmed to about 54 degrees, so I prepared yeast propagations for each tank. I pitched these into the tanks Tuesday evening, and now I’ll await the start of fermentation in the tanks.

Cheers, Steve