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Grape types

Table grapes

Table grapes, or those you eat raw, are distinctly different from grapes used to make wine. They have a thin skin, and over the years, farmers have bred them to be seedless or have very small seeds.

Some grapes are grown from seeds, but table grapes are often seedless. These grapes are propagated by cloning: taking a cutting of a vine, dipping it in rooting hormone, and allowing it to root and grow into a new plant.

Wine grapes

It's natural to assume that wine is made from the type of grape that you see in your local grocery store. This isn't the case. Wine grapes are smaller and have thicker skins and seeds.

Yeast is an important ingredient in modern wine making. Grapes actually have yeast organisms growing naturally on their skins. The amount and type of yeast varies with the type of grape and its growing conditions. This may have been a factor in using this type of fruit to make wine.

Residual solids - Brix

Brix is a measurement of the residual solid content of grapes when harvested. Table grapes tend to have a residual sugar of around 18 Brix.

Brix - technically
Brix is the total weight in pounds of sucrose, fructose, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, hormones, and other solids in one hundred pounds of any particular plant juice.


Brix and wine grapes

Brix varies directly with plant quality. For instance, a poor, sour tasting grape from worn out land can test 8 or fewer Brix. On the other hand, a full flavored, delicious grape, grown on rich, fertile soil can test 24 or better Brix.

While it may seem counter-intuitive based on the flavor of dry wine versus sweet table grapes, wine grapes generally have higher residual sugar than table grapes; wine grapes have a residual sugar of about 25 Brix, while table grapes tend to have a residual sugar of around 18 Brix. The reason wines taste far less sweet than table grapes is because the residual sugar of the grapes is fermented into alcohol, leaving only a small amount of sugar behind.

Native varieties

It's widely accepted that many of the wine grape vines growing in North America today are Vitis vinifera, or European grapes. These grapes are the most commonly used in wines and include major players such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay grapes.

However, America also has its own native grape species, including Vitis labrusca (such as Concord grapes), Vitis riparia (the rootstock upon which European vines are now grafted), and Vitis rotundifolia, which are used to make Muscadine and Scuppernong wines in the American South.

Grapes to wine

It requires about 90 pounds of grapes to make five gallons or about 25 bottles of wine, according to Wine Maker Magazine. It takes more than three and a half pounds of grapes to make one bottle of wine. That's about 90 pounds of grape for five gallons or 25 bottles.

/home/davidbac/domains/ · Last modified: 2020/10/29 23:30 by David Bach