Table grapes, native to North America, make for delicious fruits to munch on. They’re big, pulpy, and do not contain any seeds. Can they make good wine? This is a question that divides opinion in the wine community, and the consensus seems to be that wine grapes are just unique for winemaking.
Wine grapes possess several features that produce fine wine, while table grapes are naturally for eating. However, there are ways to adjust the differences to make wine out of table grapes, but it is unclear whether this is worth the time, effort, and resources. This article discusses all the facts in favor and against making wine from table grapes. We will describe the differences between the two types of grapes and discuss the hardships of using table grapes for wine.
Why Can’t Table Grapes Be Used To Make Wine?
Table grapes do not have the flavors or sugar levels to make good wine. It’s thin skin and unseeded pulp means that it is much easier to eat, but it lacks tannins, the chemical that causes dryness in wines. Its big size also means that it carries more water, which reduces the sugars in the fruit. This affects the fermentation process, where these sugars breaks down to produce alcohol.
Besides, the small size of wine grapes also means that they contain more concentrated flavors. Table grapes’ pulpiness leaves little room for the subtle and complex notes that naturally shine through in wine made from wine grapes. The production process of table grapes encourages this. Table grapes are high yielding and, therefore, easier to produce in bulk. They do not need as dense sugars or notes as wine grapes, which take longer to induce.
What If I Want To Try Making Wine From Table Grapes, Anyway?
Making table grapes suitable for winemaking involves adding ingredients that compensate for their composition differences to a wine grape. The difference in acidity and sugar levels can be modified by adding water and sugar. A hydrometer will help you judge the sweetness of your concoction.
You’ll also need a lot of grapes. Some estimate the ideal number to be around 20 pounds of table grapes for one gallon of wine. These grapes need to be de-skinned before mashing. You will also need to de-stem them, which is a difficult task that involves grappling with many sharp and pointy outgrowths that can leave you with bloody hands. You can buy or rent equipment for these steps in the procedure if you wish to reduce costs.
In general, suggestions on making wine from table grapes can vary drastically. Different recipes offer their perspectives from the time needed for fermentation, the number of grapes to use per gallon, and the ingredients required for a desirable taste. Also, the cost of equipment needed for making wine with these grapes at home makes this an untenable activity for most.
Unless you are very passionate about making your wine and only have table grapes at your disposal, it is probably not feasible to make wine from anything other than wine grapes. They have several unique characteristics that make them appropriate for winemaking. Table grapes are delicious when eaten alone, and changing them to the point of complete transformation appears to be a waste. As such, winemakers should probably stick to wine grapes when practicing their craft.