So – you have just read an article on the internet about how to make wine out of grape juice and sugar. The article tells you to use a balloon and a milk jug and some yeast.
BUT – all of the articles leave out the one real secret to making wine with juice concentrate.
That’s right. The frozen grape juice concentrate you buy at store has about twice the acid content that grapes from vineyards have. If you make wine out of the juice, it will indeed be wine.
But it will taste just like grape juice – complete with pucker power. Yes, it will have alcohol in it, but again, it won’t taste anything like wine you are used to drinking. As noted above – it will taste like grape juice with a little kick and that’s about it.
So what to do about it? Simple: Neutralize the acid before you put the yeast in.
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 will show you is how to bring out the grape flavor without all that acid pucker pour taste.
Usually, there are about 7/10ths of a gram of acid content per liter of concentrated grape juice (after you have diluted it with water). Your goal is to get the acid content down by about 50%. In other words, you have to neutralize about half of the acid before you start fermenting the wine.
There are two easy, household ways to do this and they both work pretty good without buying any expensive chemicals.
The first is a simple, over the counter antacid. Any generic brand will do. What you are looking for is one that has no flavor and it’s only active ingredient is calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate neutralizes acid (that’s why they call it an “antacid”).
You should add, as a 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 accurate scientifically, it will get the job done. Just crush the tablets and throw them in your juice and mix it up.
The second easy to find chemical is sodium bicarbonate – baking soda.
Many wine experts recommend against this as it could add a salty taste to your wine but hey, we’re making wine from frozen concentrate right? I promise, you won’t taste it.
The measurement is a little more difficult here as baking soda comes in a box and most people don’t have any kind of measuring tool. Here’s a sweet little tip – just put 1 teaspoon per gallon and stir it up. It will neutralize enough of the acid to make a huge difference in taste by the time it’s in the bottle.