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 Post subject: Florida Winemaking
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:28 am 
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So winemaking goes back a ways in my maternal family, back to the old country. I grew up around the winemaking process (picking, pressing, fermenting, racking, aging). My wife's father makes his own wine as well, and her grandfather made it too, so it's on both sides of our family.

However, being that both our families are in cold climates, there are questions they can't answer for me - What's different if you're making wine in a warm climate? In Florida, we don't have basements or cellars (it doesn't work out well at sea level). We have A/C, but not in the garage where I'd likely want to perform this process. Controlled cool temperatures seem pretty important to the fermentation process and the aging process. Am I going to have to convert one of the bedrooms to a wine room? Is 72 degrees OK or do I need to get it down to the 60s somehow?

In addition, we don't have the same varieties of grapes - the winters aren't long enough for most varieties. I am growing scuppernongs. Are there any tricks to making with with a muscadine variety versus the northern standards like concords? We've tried the fruit (yum!), but the vine is only on its 2nd year, so I have another year or two before I let it start producing grapes en masse.

I'm going to try to find some places to ask around locally, but since we have a forum I might as well ask here too :)

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 Post subject: Re: Florida Winemaking
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:36 am 
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You can make wine in hot climates, as long as it's not in the Sun or in an area that's boiling hot. You can also freeze your muscadines if you want to wait until the hot Summer months pass. I still have a gallon bag in my freezer from last year I need to use up. Here's a dude in Texas who made a video, and there are probably others you can search for. He also grows grapes. I would assume there is a variety that would grow in hot climates, since he's in Texas.

I've yet to try to make wine. I usually just make jelly :mrgreen:



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:52 am 
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Nice! Thank you, and yes jelly was the other option my family was sitting around talking about last night... may go that route the first year :)

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 Post subject: Re: Florida Winemaking
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:30 pm 
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Here's a good resource for jelly, and the site may be of use for other stuff too. http://www.pickyourown.org/muscadinejelly.htm

One word of caution in making jelly, is don't do a large batch at once. Make it in multiple small batches, or else it will not thicken properly. Also, I would suggest buying ONE OF THESE types of kits if you don't already own one. They are very helpful in time saving and mess limiting when making jelly, or canning in general.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:58 am 
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That website looks to have a lot of good information. Thanks again.

I already have the canning supplies from canning tomatoes twice a year :)

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:59 pm 
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Vladimirr wrote:
That website looks to have a lot of good information. Thanks again.

I already have the canning supplies from canning tomatoes twice a year :)


Yeah, we usually can tomatoes also, and actually ran out this past Winter. We managed to can some this year, but not nearly enough. Tomato season was not good around these parts this year. We've had way too much rain over the past 12 months. I need to go back to growing a garden, if I can ever get my property cleaned up.

There is no comparison to home canned goods vs store bought. It's work, but well worth it. ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:46 am 
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Due to some heavy late-season rain, our vine has a few clusters of scuppernongs, not enough to make jelly yet though. We're probably moving to a new house before the next growing season, so I'm focusing now on getting the vine to take root in a pot for the move. Unfortunately it'll probably be another few years until I get the quantity to make jelly or wine :(

My grandparents (in their mid-80s) picked 500lb of concords this last fall. There's about 50 gallons of wine started in their basement.

(And on the tomato front, we're just getting into tomato season here. I've got about 6 quarts worth of tomatoes ripening on the vine.)

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