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From vine to table


Our Grapevine is now four years old and has produced a bumper crop this year, so I had a go at making Grape juice this afternoon.

First I needed to stand on steps to reach up and cut the bunches off.

Here they are prior to being stripped off the stems and washed.

The total weight after washing them was 4lbs 2oz.

I mashed them up with a potato masher and, together with the juice from them, put them on to simmer for ten minutes.

After straining the lot through a sieve, I had one and three-quarter pints (about a litre) of juice.

I had a small glass when it was chilled, quite tart, more of a Blackcurrant flavour to me!

Plenty more Grapes on the vine to ripen, not sure if I will do this again or leave them for the Blackbirds and Starlings!

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I'm glad you had a go Shirley. Why not add some apple juice to sweeten? Worth a try.

2 Sep, 2014


Do you think they would have got riper and sweeter if left a bit longer? Some wine is made from grapes that are actually beginning to rot (called the Noble Rot) so it also might be worth a try.

2 Sep, 2014


I tasted some at the end of last year Sue, only to find them still quite sharp ... I was intrigued by the mention of Noble Rot and found this information:

‘Noble Rot’ (aka Botrytis cinerea) is a type of Ascomycota within the Funghi kingdom. Other ascomycetes include the antibiotic penicillin, Stilton blue cheese and the fungus responsible for athelete’s foot. Botrytis cinerea can occur on fruits, vegetables and flowers –imagine a moldy strawberry. However with wine, it’s considered a good thing. Wines such as Sauternes from Bordeaux; Tokaji Aszu from Hungary, and Spätlese level German Riesling all are made from Noble Rot grapes.

Well, there's something I've learnt today!

By the way Sue, I put a photo on of the Sweet Williams seedlings ... all thriving ... thanks for the seeds. :o)

2 Sep, 2014


Shirley it does depend on the variety, we made grape juice a few years ago when we had a glut and it was delicious, not at all tart, they were black grapes with seeds, but it was much later on that we made the juice.
Last year we made grape chutney, fiddly but very tasty, this year we will be eating them!! Peter was over zealous with the pruning saw!! only two bunches!! I was not impressed!!

2 Sep, 2014


Spatelaser was what I was trying to remember. (Never mind the umlaut!)
I think grape juice is normally pressed, not cooked first - this might make a difference too - blackberries get a lot tarter when cooked after all. I don't know how you'd stop it fermenting though (if you wanted to!)

2 Sep, 2014


Dotty, I recall your photos of the grape juice and chutneys ... lovely! Shame Peter got carried away with the pruning ... lol!

Sue, I'm pleased I tried it, may do it again in a month if the birds have left any!

Snoops, I'll just say my OH said "Yuk, have you seen her feet?" Cheeky monkey! :o)

3 Sep, 2014


Sorry to hear it didn't taste very nice, but it must have been interesting making it :)

Maybe you could add something else to it ...

3 Sep, 2014


Worth giving it a go wasn't it, if the birds have made a comeback to your garden in the way they have here you'll not be having any to spare, the decision will be out of your hands, don't know whether its a warning but they've returned and brought all their families and friends with them.......

4 Sep, 2014


Great stuff, I wouldn't worry too much about the taste as its bound to have alot of nutritional value.

My lot last year (and this year) were quite small green and I left them to the end of the season in the poly. I am guessing they sweetened up a bit in the latter stages.
My centrifugal juicer (now a little blunter) lets quite a bit of pulp through and foam (which I like), but tasted fab.

I also noticed it just didn't go off after over a week in the fridge

4 Sep, 2014


Hywel and Stevie - I added some apple juice to it and it is sweeter now. Having a glass as I type!

Same here Sue, Starlings and Sparrows squabbling over who gets in the bird bath, Goldfinches eating the Sunflower hearts and the Blackbirds eating whatever they can find! Love them all ...

4 Sep, 2014


Well done you ! You could always keep experimenting with different flavours added....Just an idea !

4 Sep, 2014


Shirley, forgot to say I'm glad the seeds germinated! So pleased you made your juice palatable - enjoy!

4 Sep, 2014


Definitely Rose ... lots more Grapes to come.

Thanks Sue, they are growing away well in the Greenhouse.

4 Sep, 2014


Wow shirley they look great, definitely a talking point when friends call and its so good to be making your own juice.

5 Sep, 2014


Thanks Phyl ... I should get the builder back to show him, as he said "that Vine will never grow there" when I planted it!

5 Sep, 2014



7 Sep, 2014


Well done with grapes, they look very healthy; do you know the vine variety? It looks to me like a disease-resistant hybrid, as most non-hybrids will be covered with the dreaded powdery-mildew at this time of year!

Regarding the lack of sweetness, it is likely that you picked too soon; one of the first things I learned when I started growing grapes over four decades ago, is that they are never as ripe as they look! I know that it is very tempting to pick them, but the colour doesn't indicate ripeness (any more than it does with strawberries or plumbs!)

The colouring is a part of the ripening process (veraison) there is enough sugar in them to attract birds, but not enough for us! During veraison, after colouring, the sugar
increases, as the acid reduces, until it reaches the perfect
balance of sugar and acidity. That is why it is the perfect
fruit for wine-making.

Others have commented on the "noble-rot": in my recent
blog Growing Grapes in Your Garden, you can see what this looks like: also, you can see the big bunch of grapes being held up; this is Kempsey Black, the best grape I have grown! It can be grown in the garden or greenhouse.
Anyone wanting to grow a reliable grape must grow this one!

11 Sep, 2014


The variety is 'Brandt' ... planted it in 2010. I definitely picked them too soon ... plenty more to come though.

12 Sep, 2014


"Brandt" was the very first vine I planted in 1971!


12 Sep, 2014


Well, what a coincidence!

13 Sep, 2014


wow, well done! checked yoru location, you're south enough for grapes to take.

lol your opening line "our grape vine is four years old" reminds me of the first line of the song "d.i.v.o.r.c.e."!!

4 Oct, 2014


That's a lot of work, maybe needs a sweetener? It also makes a good fabric dye. Ever do tie-dye?

6 Oct, 2014


Fran, the birds are enjoying them now and I'm enjoying watching them forage for them. I remember that Tammy Wynette song too!

Tie-die ... there's a blast from the past! Yes, I did do that once, and recently saw some similar patterned clothing. What goes around, comes around .....

6 Oct, 2014

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