Once again I found myself at my inlaws house and their grapes were ripe. They offered to help me pick if I wanted them for wine again so I figured, why not. I wasn't expecting to do this again and it was later in the season that the previous year. I feel like last year I picked the grapes a little early and this year a little late. We also did not seem to have as much rain this season. the grapes were smaller and sweeter.
Here are some tips I have come up with for picking. Try to make sure you de stem the grapes and rinse them right away. they will get moldy after a while if you let them sit and you won't be albe to use as many of them as you wanted. Pick, rinse and mash the grapes all in the same day if you can (this is a lot of work). I waited and did not end up being able ot use as may of the grapes as I hoped. Also check them frequently if you can to make sure you pick them at the right time.
I picked mine and sorted thorough and ended up with almost 2 gallons of grapes (after mashing them). Prior to this it was more. I don't have a press, I mash them by hand in my primary fermenter. This year to make up the extra I used frozen red grape juice concentrate (2 containers mixed) rather than sugar water. I came out a little over 3 gallons which reduced to a little under 3 gallons when I racked off the grapes and sediment. I also added 4 lb of sugar, stirred very well and ended up with a starting gravity of 1.100.
After mashing, I added 1 campden tablet (crushed) per gallon. Then I took some of the must out, added some yeast nutrient, and took my yeast that had been soaking in warm water and pitched it in. I mixed this up a little over 24 hours and then at the 24 hour mark I pitched that start into the fermenter. For 1 week I shook it up at least once a day to keep the yeast suspended and the grapes from forming a cap. Than I racked it. I've seen this before when I use champagne yeast, it is so carbonated that it has trouble with the siphon. It works but it's really slow and I have to re-start it a few times.
You can see a little of what I mean there.