Niagara Grape Concentrate Wine Recipe

Recently I made a grape concentrate wine recipe using Niagara frozen concentrate juice. I am having a glass of it now. It’s a nice dry white, with with hints of oranges and apricots. It also has a nice buttery mouth feel to it. My original intent was to create a wine to blend with an apple cider wine I had made. The apple cider wine was too sweet and I wanted a dry wine to blend it with. After the Niagara Grape Concentrate Wine had cleared, I tasted a glass and was quite impressed. Fortunately, when I checked the Apple Cider wine, it was no longer too sweet. I decided to bottle the grape concentrate wine on its own. It needed a little work though. Since all my carboys are glass, if I want to add oak, I have to use chips, staves, or cubes. I had some American oak chips on hand, so I used 2 ounces of American oak chips. I boiled the chips in 2 cups of water, then added the chips and water to the wine. I left the oak chips in the wine for 4 weeks. I tasted the wine at 2 weeks, but I thought it could use some more time with the oak chips, hence the 4 weeks. I racked the wine off the oak chips and let it bulk age for a few months in the carboy. After it had bulk aged, I bottled the wine at around the 1 year mark since I started the wine. It is still young and will need some time in the bottle to mature, but I think it will be a good wine. The total cost was under $20 for a 5 gallon batch. Here is the wine recipe I used:


  • 8 cans of Welches White Grape Juice
  • 4 gallons of water
  • sugar to bring PA reading to 12%\SG 1.094 (I think I used around 4 lbs of sugar.)
  • acid blend to bring TA reading to .65-.75% (I think I used 8 teaspoons)
  • 5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
  • 5 campden tablets
  • Lavin EC-1118 wine yeast
  • 2 ounces of oak chips

Boil the water, place in the primary fermenter and add the 8 cans of grape concentrate. Test the acid level and add acid blend to bring the must within the range of .65 -75% TA. Pull a sample of wine and use the hydrometer to get the PA\SG reading. If it is below 12%PA\1.094Specific Gravity, add sugar to bring the reading within range. If the reading is within range, you don’t have to add sugar. (Once your readings are within range, taste the must, this will teach you what a properly balanced must should taste like.) Add yeast nutrient and campden tablets, stir and let it sit for 24 hours. After it the must has sat for 24 hours, pitch your yeast. Ferment the wine as normal, when clear, boil the oak chips in 2 cups of water, add water and oak chips to the wine and let sit for 4 weeks. Rack off the oak chips, let the wine bulk age a few months the bottle.

Thats my recipe for Welches Niagara Grape Concentrate Wine. I hope you like it as much as I did.



I add Peach berry wine to the recipe page.  It is a mix of Blackberries, Elderberries, and peaches.  This was left over fruit we had in our freezer.  There was probably a better name choice considering that there is only a pound of peaches.

I hope you enjoy!



New Recipe – Spiced Mead

As requested I add a new recipe in the recipe tab. It is a Spiced honey wine (mead).  It has apple cider and cloves in it.  We started this for a friend of ours in November and it probably wont be ready until summer time.

When using cloves you always got to remember they are very powerful and a little goes a long way.  We did just 5 and it gives a nice hint of cloves on the back of your tongue. You can adjust the amount to your taste. We plan on adding liquid cinnamon at the end before we bottle it.

I will add another recipe in a couple of weeks.  It will be one we did with mixed berries.



We’re always talking about how to save money, well here is another way!!!  Print your own labels.  You can do anything from plain black to save on ink or fancy ones.  I received a scrapbook disk with my printer a few years back. It is called Scrapbooks Plus Workshop 2.0 from Ideasoft. You can find free scrapbook software on the Internet, I’ve never worked with them so I don’t know what they are like.   The only issue I have is printer related.  My printer, the cheapest one at the store, doesn’t feed the paper in straight no matter how tight the guide is, my labels always have a blank space down the right side.  For wine bottles I use Avery shipping labels 3 1/3″ X 4″ template 5164.  My program has the template number under the different types of labels, which makes it a little easier.  For beer bottles I use Avery 5395 name badges.  I have also used Avery 8160 address labels for the neck of the bottles.

I prefer to make my own labels because I can personalise them for gifts or just for fun.  I do a standard wine label for all the wines unless it is a gift.  I have done birthday label that suits the receiver’s personality and Christmas ones.  I seem to get more creative with the beer labels.  Beer names can be fun to design for.

The fun part is removing labels.  The Avery 5395 name badge label is the easiest to remove.  Where the 5164 label needs a little more patience.  Lets start with the easiest first.  I turn on the hot water and dissolve Oxy Clean into the water.  Then I carefully add the bottles into the water making sure each bottle fills up with solution.  Then I let them soak for about 10 minutes.  I take a bottle out and take a utility knife blade and slide it under the one edge of the label.  I loosen that edge from top to bottom.  Then I bring the blade back to the center and place my thumb on top of the label with razor blade on bottom and pull.  They come right off.  Some time you will find them floating in the water.  For the other label I do basically the same thing but sometimes the label just don’t completely come off.   Make sure there is still hot water inside the bottle.  This keeps the glue pliable.  Place the bottle just under the water and take your blade and scrape it back and forth across the glue rinsing your blade often.  This should get most if not all off.  For back up get a green scratch pad and wash off what remains.  Be careful with the razor blade, you don’t want to cut yourself.


Frugal Wine Equipment

When you go into a wine shop they show you all these fancy things to make your life easier for making wine.  Like the bottle tree it cost around $19.00 and for another $20.00 you can add a Bottle Rinser to it.  I say wash your bottles in the sink in Oxy Clean (cheaper than B-brite) and use a spay bottle with a Star-sans mixture in it.  Then all you need is a rack from the dish washer, the one with the pegs on it, and invert the bottles onto the pegs until they are dry. You just have to find someone who is throwing away a dishwasher so you can get the old tray.

Another convenient item is the Carboy Dryer for $8.00.  If you are a coffee drinker or know someone who is, get an empty plastic coffee can. Then you can place the carboy neck down in the can to let it drip dry.

Lets talk about buckets and bottles.  Buckets with lids cost around $15.00 and bottles are also around $15.00 for a case of 12. You need two cases for a 5 gallon batch.  The requirement for the bucket is that it must be food grade plastic.  If you have a food grade bucket at home that isn’t scratched up on the inside (scratches hold bacteria) and wasn’t holding something nasty or caustic, then you can use it. You can also check your local big box store and buy one there.  I found one for only $4.00. It doesn’t have a lid but I’m sure if you look around you can find a lid.  As for bottles call your local restaurants and see if they will save them for you. Ask your friends to save their wine bottles for you. You can also check with local bars and see what they do with their old bottles. If they have to pay to get rid of them, they might give them away for free.

If you don’t have hundreds of dollars to build a wine rack then you can build one out of pallets. A lot of places just throw them away. You can also build a wine rack out of  2x4s and plywood. To learn how to build a frugal wine rack, check out an earlier post here!

Now for the most important item you will need in your wine making, fruit!  The cheapest way is to grow your own. You can also go out and get some exercise and pick wild berries.  Be sure you get permission from the land owner first. Another source would be your local market or fruit stand. Ask if they have any bruised or over ripe fruit. Usually they will sell you this fruit at a discount rather than throw it away. Just be sure you remove the bad spots first. You can also ask is there a discount available for buying large quantities of fruit.

Every penny counts and with a few of these suggestions you might be able to save quite a few! If you have any ideas on how to save money making wine, please share!

Grow fruit for winemaking

One of the ways you can save money making wine is to grow your own fruit. Currently we are growing wine grapes. We have 5 varieties that include Catabaw, DeChaunc, Cayoga White, Syval, and Niagra. They are in their 2nd year so I am developing the stock this year. Hopefully next year I can get a small crop and see what kind of wine they will make. I ordered mine from Double A Vineyards.

We ordered 2 cherry trees this year, one Blackgold Cherry and one Star Stella Cherry, from Miller Nurseries. We planted them in the back yard. I had to take down some trees to make room, but I think it will be worth it. We have a Cherry\Elderberry\Blackberry blend wine that is bulk aging in the cellar. It is coming along nicely, I can’t wait to be able to use my own cherries in wine!

We also bought 2 Elderberry bushes, Johns and Adams. We have some wild Elderberries growing, but I wanted to see how the commercial varieties fair. I’ve been making Elderberry wine from wild Elderberries for years. The commercial varieties are supposed to have larger clusters and a better berry. We shall see.

We also bought some Blueberry bushes. Millers had a special where you could order three varieties. We chose Atlantic, Ivanhoe, and Herbert. Ivanhoe has large light blue berries that ripen first in July. Atlantic has large yeilds and ripens in August. Herbert is another high yield blueberry and it ripens in September. Once mature, we should have blueberries from July until September.

Finally, we ordered some Blackberries (although we have enough growing wild we really didn’t need too). We ordered Chester Thornfree, Triple Crown, and Illini. I don’t know how well they will do since we planted them next to the wild Blackberries. I might be better off cultivating the ones growing wild.

We won’t get any blueberries this year. It might be another 2-3 years before we get get a decent crop. We should be able to get some wild blackberries this year. Hopefully I can get enough to make a 5 gallon batch of wine. Same with the Elderberries, I have some wild ones that will produce fruit, but the ones we bought won’t bear fruit until next year or the year after. Finally, with my grapes, I hope to have enough of a crop to make a small batch of wine next year.

Gardening, like wine making is a hobby that requires patience. It will be 2-3 years before the plants we bought will begin to produce useful amounts of fruit. Some wines take at least that long to mature. Patience will be rewarded though, when you taste that perfect bottle of wine made from fruit you’ve grown yourself.