How much has wine making changed over the years?

Discussion in 'Wine & Cider Discussions' started by Rincon, Oct 22, 2015.

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  1. Oct 22, 2015 #1

    Rincon

    Rincon

    Rincon

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    Ive been brewing for a few years now (mostly AG but some kits) and have ventured into the world of wines, mainly because when my granddad past away (over 20 years ago) I kept all his stuff.

    I have a ton of books, some quite old (40-50 plus years old?)

    What strikes me is that recipes for the same wines that you find on google/forums etc seem to differ from the books.

    Just wondered if any of you experienced wine makers had noticed changes in the ingredients, amounts, chemicals used etc.

    Just thought it would be interesting.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Oct 22, 2015 #2

    elderberry

    elderberry

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    most wine books were written in 1960 as it became legal

    in the 1970's and the back to basics/earth movement

    any thing 1980's, 1990's and 2000, are pretty well reprints ( with the same grammer and spelling mistakes) that were flogged to death by ignorant publishers trying to make a few quid quickly

    there are a few that have stood the test of time and others that have seriously been well taken over

    ingredients have changed as well, most early recipes call for large quantities of sugar and use fruit and tea for the chemical balances,, citric acid came wrapped in orange skins not plastics

    you can date most recipes by there listings

    any thing post 1970 will have some request for some form of acid, but still very high quantities of ingreadiants, i remember making elderberry wines with more than 3 kilos of fruit, some i have used asked for 7 kg of elderberrys and no other fruit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    also the recipes are now better understood,

    we would make wine in the 1980's a set way because we did as grandad told us to rather than why we need to

    the best instruction i ever received was in the early 1980's when it was explained to me how a recipe is built up and why each item reacts with each other

    so instead of a table spoon of say citric we now add half a tea spoon or a lot less now and use acid mixes to get better results

    fruit is dealt with the same way as well
    i would never consider any recipe that advocates more than 3 kg of elderberry's as i understand the length of time it will need to drop all the crystals before its drinkable

    water is now understood to and the way we do methods has also changed as well, what was left in a bucket for a week is now a day and so forth

    the main thing has to be the removal of fussial oil from the mix and the attempts to repeat the same drink repeatedly

    for me the old ways were great but easily improved on as we all move forward
     
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  3. Oct 22, 2015 #3

    Chippy_Tea

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    Excellent reply. :hat:

    I would never have got into wine making if I had to pick my own fruit then when everything was done and it finished fermenting wait a year before drinking it, kits have made winemaking easy and you can get a decent bottle of wine from start to finish in a month.
     
  4. Oct 22, 2015 #4

    elderberry

    elderberry

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    a year is nothing, you can wait well over three or four for tartaric crystals to form and drop out.

    the old wine kit tins were a great start, most used a form of cheaper fruit than straight grapes, most were apple or elderberry based syrups.

    now and every year theres a step forward in quality and more quality and more quality and better and better ingredients , second grade stuff and fruit is no longer used .

    we used to have to hand pick pretty well every thing i ever started with and because it suits me a still do, i dont bother mucking about with the AG beer stuff as its too much of a flaff for not a lot of worth, i can get better results with a tin of beer kit than i can a bag of hops.

    saying that though some times it does all fall down, quality does slip and or fails at times and you wish you had not bothered!!

    understanding recipes is my greatest tip, once you realise how to mix acids and work out parts per million and so forth it helps a lot,

    the downside is that there as only every been two books on that subject and as its so "in depth" people dont write them as they involve brains and skills rather than the americian method of cut and paste from the internet and produce a kindle book over lunch time
     
  5. Oct 23, 2015 #5

    Chippy_Tea

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    It's strange how peoples tastes differ, you say you can make a better beer with a kit than you could with a bag of hops, having read hundreds of threads in the beer brewing forums I can honestly say you are the only person that has ever said that.
     
  6. Oct 23, 2015 #6

    tonyhibbett

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    Old British recipes reflected a taste for sweet dessert wines, heavy on sugar and ingredients. The big change was the evolution of quality wine kits and recipes which used a sophisticated blend of ingredients to emulate commercial wines.
     
  7. Oct 23, 2015 #7

    Cwrw666

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    I came to wine making from `country wine' which has nothing to do with faking the stuff you'd buy in the shops. Nobody bought wine from shops when i was a kid - that's a kind of modern thing. Old recipes had tons of sugar in them but I always preferred using about 2 1/2 pounds per gallon so you ended up with a dry wine. People used to make wine out of all sorts of unlikely stuff - turnips, peapods, beetroot, tea!
    i gave all that up years ago but still occasionally make a fruit wine - sloe, blackberry, elderberry. all good stuff but nothing like commercial grape wines. Think of it as a different drink entirely and not some kind of fake `wine'. It's only wine because it's a similar strength and made from fruit.
     
  8. Oct 23, 2015 #8

    Rincon

    Rincon

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    Finding this really interesting, thanks guys.

    Nothing against any kits but I just like the process of picking the fruit, preparing the fruit and then I don't mind waiting a few years.

    My hope is that as I make enough there will come a point where I always agh something to drink and something sat on a rack waiting.

    So just another thought, I quite like having a book in front of me when making this stuff so are there any modern recipe wine books you would recommend?
     
  9. Oct 23, 2015 #9

    elderberry

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    i also came from country wines and a very old fashions wine circle, they only did country wines a fast wine they used to teach as a quicky to stock up the old wine celler was teabag, we can do a tea wine in 6 weeks but its not designed to last long, after 12 weeks it becomes drain cleaner, lol

    grapes were considered a foo-pah and were not discussed in around 1995 onwards they started to do a grape weekend, where several people would drive to france and bring back a couple of van loads, after a while they used to just buy from London instead and after that Birmingham whole markets.

    the grape day was an acceptance that times have changed
    it also came from the fact we used to do set fruit days through out the year.

    so spring is flowers. mead in april, and so forth, the day was a Sunday after church at the one members homes, all the members came, brought all the kit and tools and ingredients required, as a newbie you were just expected to turn up and walk away with a demi john at the end of it, food and so forth was supplied by all there and the day was had in great company.

    alass the wine circle folded not long after i left as a new set of people moved in and started to make dramatic changes to the way it was run, stopped the monthly parties and so forth, so everyone left as it had past its time and was gone, to never to return, shame i loved those weekends, all the family was invited, not just the husband or wife, but kids and pets too, little fingers joined in as well if they wanted too.

    i did try to start a wine circle in west brom where i lived but no one came so i never bothered. its a anti drink drive culture and so forth and everyone is internet based rather than face based,, people dont also want to collect fruit.

    when i first moved to west brom we used to trim and cut and prune and work the elderberry trees as they then give better fruit but no one understands that, we also used to work other hedgerow plants and so forth that no one else sees as well

    the police came and spoke to me the once on the canal side as they wanted to know what we were up to, there was me the wife and son, 20 five gallon buckets one large garden cart plus harvesting tools and so forth and we had a rough 200kg of elderberry on stalks and they had never seen that or could understand that my house red and cough medicine was elderberry based:rofl::rofl::rofl:

    i have over the years been asked by the rare odd one to walk hedgerows and canal sides with them to explain what i see and what i do with this crops

    but how many people do you know carry a cotton bag and marigold gloves with them when the walk the dog in april and may time, i am not waiting for the nettles to start growing i am waiting for the nettles to be tall enough to be out of dog urine height. hahahahah

    i know the difference between a bad and a good bramble leaf and know whats good or bad with a beech tree leaf and when to pick for wine and all of it is now replaced with a kit in a tin that convenient to most, times change so do tastes and so do methods

    as for the beer i have tried AG but for me as a small beer drinker its not worth the hassle, my son drinks most of it when he wants it, so a tin works great for me,

    i used to pop round to my local big brewery and gather a few gallons of wort on brew day, i would then take it home add a few extras and ferment it at home, that better suited my style when i wanted it


    as my old chairman used to jokingly say,
    "grapes are ok but they never make really good wine":rofl::rofl::rofl:

    apart from the unholy trinity, i can and have made wines from every thing thats safe to and a few thats not

    still to this day the wifes favorite is logun,strawberry and raspberry tea wine stopped at 1004 and served cool but not cold. for me its an elderberry port we do the first run is a massive wine that takes years to sit and work the second and third runs are a lot quicker

    also kit has changed a lot too

    i own the following and each year all a re used alot
    stainless steel steam extractor, brought new in 1987
    stainless steel pot made from and old water barrel of about 45litres
    gas ring to go with it, roars like a turbo jet in full flow
    garden shredder for apples as a home made gas bottle press and 25t car jack

    we can process and bottle juice from about 1500kg of apples in a day my self and wife if we wanted to but no longer do as no one wants to join us to gather the fruits

    and every christmas is toasted with rhubarb champagne made with brandy
     
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  10. Oct 24, 2015 #10

    tonyhibbett

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    The best book I have found is Winemaking in Style by Gerry Fowles.
     
  11. Oct 24, 2015 #11

    elderberry

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    i would call that one a good start
    after a while you want to learn why recipes work rather than blindly following them as we all did when we started reading CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCJJJJJJJJJJJJJBBBBBBBBBBERRY

    if you want to look for two amazing forward thinking men start looking for this one
    progressive wine making
    by Peter Duncan
    and Bryan Acton
    isbn 0900 841 05 2

    well worth getting hold off as its the first book written to explain the process rather than the one we had to follow

    after their books and they did several try my hero of wine making

    the book your looking for is called "must" by the very very clever, mad/demented home brewer and all round yeast genius professor Gerry Fowles it has the complete lists of pretty well almost all the musts you can think of as well as acid levels ect, the guy was a genius in some of his papers and books, the information is fantastic

    Gervin press, ISBN 978-0950459462
    if you can get hold of it , get it, its a book for life
    that one person made such a impression for me and my style of wine making

    he has done several other books with the thinking wine maker and it has never been followed since, a great shame really as he was spot on with his writings and works, but there are not many yeast experts willing to write literature for wine makers at home
     
  12. Oct 26, 2015 #12

    Rincon

    Rincon

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    This has been a really helpful thread, cheers everyone.

    A few ideas for the Christmas list too.

    Other thing that I had never considered was that making wine was only legal since the 60's. I just assumed since there was man and fruit we had been fermenting it haha
     
  13. Oct 27, 2015 #13

    elderberry

    elderberry

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    yes man has been making wine and beer for thousands of years and in that , most if not all inthe last five centuries have bben taxed or prohibited








    Pre 1963 you could do wine or beer but you had to pay a brewing permit or licence, it was not much but as with out it you could not buy equipment it sort of stifled the industry
    After 1963 it became legal for home brew for personal use, sell it and ya in trouble
    Also cheap sugar became available about that time with the rising sugar beet industry as well.
    Where I used to live in the midlands cider was the main alcoholic drink made and that’s why I don’t drink it any more, I used to see barrels with 300 litres plus being pressed out on home made presses and people filling all sorts of stuff to brew in.

    All the recipes I have pre 1970 were very insipid ones with massive sugar or buckets of honey ect and huge amounts of fruit in them, I have tried a few and they are not drinkable by today’s standards.
    In the 1960 -1970s there was a back to the roots or ground movement spread from the hippies that grew up ext that went into the biggest push in the home brew industry in the 1970s at it hayday as it were

    That’s were pretty well all the books and research starts and alas stops as well

    Now with modern printing methods and internet and so forth I never did understand why it was never picked up on. We used to be able to get a large colour newspaper in the home brew shops about home brew.

    I realise that everyone shops on line now but in my mind if the home brew shops started there own news paper of some form that was only printed not emails then
    maybe that would help to get bums back through doors
    I also see a market for real people doing real research in the details of wine very akin to Jerry, but again not one seams to have bothered with that mantle either








    To put it in perspective. In the states a person is only allowed to brew so much and in the uk its any thing goes, we have some of the most relaxed rules in the world on wine and beer, in fact we don’t even have a limit to the strength as long as it is fermented only, some countrys even have that

    Say Germany for instance after 200l per year you have to get a permit to carry on, in many countries your are limited by volume as well the states its 100 gallons or 200 if theres two of you in the household

    Singapore and you have a limit of 30l per month, lets see some of the beer guys brew that little a month!!!!

    In japan you are only allowed to legally brew up to one percent alcohol, one single percent, lol in Iceland they can go crazy and brew all the way up to 2.25% alcohol in one go, crazy people hahahahahahah


    heres silly fact for you
    "Until 2013, Alabama and Mississippi were the only states with laws prohibiting the homebrewing of beer. Alabama and Mississippi both legalized home brewing in their respective 2013 legislative sessions"
    and Alaska is dry bone dry as they have refused to allow it to become legal in their state?? go figure that one


    We are also in the uk very relaxed with spirits as well, in the uk the law states that no one without permission and permit can distil alcohol. In actual fact no one has been prosecuted in the uk for this for a quantity under 50litres, after that it’s the case of its not really for personal use!! I know many people that do own a personal license to distil and the costs were not that great, all do it to turn their hobby into a trade.
    I know several people from the internet that have to brew in secrecy as the country the are in does not allow for it to happen there, but then you have that prat in Saudi, giving it the poor old soul routine when in fact he was brewing and supplying hundreds of bottles of “wine” try spirit in stead


    What I have seen enforced for more is the sale of wine and beer and that I have seen people go to the beak for. I have also seen people try to be clever and reliable industrial alc as drinkable but now we are talking industrial illegal activitys
     
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  14. Oct 27, 2015 #14

    MyQul

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    Excellent post elderberry. I was completely unaware so many "free" countries had such restrictions on home brewing. I thought most countries were like us, in that you can brew as much as you like as like as your not selling it
     
  15. Oct 27, 2015 #15

    elderberry

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  16. Oct 28, 2015 #16

    elderberry

    elderberry

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    quite the opposite in fact we are one of the best to brew in, pretty well everywhere else there are a lot more rules. i never knew this untill many years ago i was in the states visiting family when we started on about home brew and the whole years production was only 100 gallons
     
  17. Oct 28, 2015 #17

    MyQul

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    Sorry I don't think I was making myself clear. The above is what I meant, we in the UK are far in a way free -er to brew mostly what we like and as much as we like than a lot of other so called free countries
     
  18. Oct 28, 2015 #18

    tonyhibbett

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    I did apply for a Distiller's Licence and got this reply from HMRC:
    'Please note that a distillers licence is not required if the proposed still to be used has a capacity below 18 hectolitres and if the distillation of spirits is for personal use only.'

    18 hl is 400 gallons! I was surprised, but later discovered this did not include 'alcoholic beverages', which is a civil (not criminal) offence, subject to fine of £250 or the appropriate duty applicable if higher. It's a catch 22. It's perfectly legal to buy a still or own a home made one.
     
  19. Oct 28, 2015 #19

    elderberry

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    cool i never new that,

    some one did explain to me that as long as you dont distill you can ferment to as high as you like, we just needed to find a yeast that goes to 80% proof, hahahahahahahahah

    where i would really like to see the home brew industry go forward is new books and or published information, beer and wine its are starting to get very very clever in the way they work, why cant they help teach us.

    the books of old need to be re-written to cope with modern information rather than rehashed old stuff

    i would like to see books on specific topics too, you can get beer books, one for each type, yet not one for wines at all

    i would love to see books on yeasts as well, all the ones i have are written for labs and big set ups, where i use milk bottles and a curver box as a fume cabinet.
     
  20. Oct 28, 2015 #20

    Rincon

    Rincon

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    Love this thread, really interesting

    I've never been tempted to distill, I have a mate that does and to be honest I find what he makes doesn't last to well. Tastes fine when its made but a year later is almost undrinkable.

    Not sure why?
     

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