Our local supermarket has grapes on sale, with and without seeds. Can I crush these to make wine?
State: New York
Yes, you can make wine with eating grapes, but realize they are not intended for making wine.
They have been bred for eating. This means that the sweetness and acidity are both lower than what you’d expect from an actual wine grape. The flesh is thicker and firmer with an eating grape than that of a wine making grape. People like the grape to snap when they bite into it. This firmness also makes the eating grape better equipped for transporting across the country.
None of this helps the winemaker. Firmer means more effort is need to crush and/or press the grape. Firmer also means that there will be less juice per pound of grape with an eating grape than with a wine grape. All these things mean making wine with eating grapes is more work.
Also, the breeding has also been done at the expense of the grapes inherent flavor. While the sweetness, acidity and firmness of the eating grape are optimal for popping in your mouth, if you ferment the sweetness away, the flavor that is left behind is not all that flavorful. Not much consideration is given to this aspect of the eating grape when being bred eating.
Having said this, I don’t want to discourage you from giving it a try. Making wine with eating grapes grapes is fine if you want to have some fun learning about the wine making process. This process is exactly the same either way. It’s just that you should not expect too much as a final result. The wine will be very drinkable, but lack flavor and character.
You can find more info on this matter in the blog post: Table Grapes Vs. Wine Grapes. You can also find a Thompson grape wine recipe on our website. Thompson grapes are a classic eating grape, so this wine recipe should work fine for any eating grape you come across.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.