How to make a perfect Frontenac (or Foch or DeChaunac) wine!
frontenac grapesSome years like in 2014 that are cooler than others many eastern grapes have higher acidity.  With white wines it is easier to deal with since many are sweetened a bit.  Here are some basic instructions for making a nice 5 gallon batch of red wine.
Basic Red Winemaking Instructions
For Higher Adidity Grapes
  • Crush & De-Stem Grapes - 2 bushel (80 lb is a good starting point, it will make 5 - 6 gal and give you some extra for topping off)
  • (Optional) Measure the acidity of the must - It is a good idea to give you a starting point. Many people enjoy the FINAL acidity of wine at about .6 to .8   Inexpensive acid testing kits can be purchased from any winemaking store.
  • (Option 1) Dilute higher acidity grapes 5 to 10% - For a 5 gallon batch of wine add a half gallon of sugar water. (2 pounds, 6 ounces of sugar per gallon for a 12% - sg 1.090 wine)   (good article on use of hydrometer...)
  • (Option 2) Add a minimal amount of acid reducing chemical such as Potassium Bicarbonate directly to the must - according to their instructions. (About 3 tsp of Potassium Bicarbonate will reduce acid in a 5 gallon batch about .1% - this is a very conservative starting point - they recomend not trying to reduce more than .3 to .4% with this method) You can use both options here if you wish - dilution and chemical reduction.
  • Adjust Sugar if desired - Here is a good time to use your hydrometer and check the specific gravity - 1.090 is 12% - adjust it to whatever you wish.
  • Crush & add Cambden Tablets (Optional - some people are allergic to sulphite, but they really protect the wine) - I usually use about 1 to 1.5 tablets/gallon.  6 to 10 tablets would be a good amount - I usually use a small bottle with a few ounces of water and crush and disolve them and then add to the must.
  • Next Day add dry yeast or yeast starter - If you do not use cambden tablets, add the yeast at the time of crushing.  Waiting until the next day allows the sulphites to reduce the wild yeast to a minimum and your cultured wine yeast should take over now.
  • Push down the cap once or twice a day.  After a day or so the berries will start to ferment and float to the top - pushing this "Cap" down into the must by hand or with a tool will ensure that the grapes are covered by fermenting wine.
  • Let ferment 1 to 2 weeks and press - Good time to check the specific gravity with your hydrometer again.  Make sure you leave a 6 inch head space on the top of the carboys or they may ferment over and make a mess (EVEN WORSE - LOSE SOME WINE!)
  • (Optional) Add Malo Lactic culture when using higher acidity grapes such as Frontenac (This may also be added later)
  • After 6 months, test acidity if desired and rack the wine.
  • (Option) Sweeten very slightly to round out or balance out any remaining acidity - Use stabilizer (Potassium Sorbate - 1/2 tsp.gallon)  and cambden tablets (1 tablet/gallon) if adding sugar.  Sometimes I sweeten to specific gravity of about 1.005 or so - a very small amount.
 This is how I plan to make my Frontenac this Fall - Bill Schnute
Other Very Good On Line Resources:
+++ (Very Best Site to start with for winemaking info)