As promised yesterday, this indeed is the story of Brody’s 2016 Doggone Dry and Brody’s 2016 KYck Ass under our own label, Classy Canine Wines.
It all started on Pinterest when I discovered a pin titled, “Can I Use Welch’s Grape Juice To Make Wine?”
It doesn’t take much to inspire me to experiment. And with Welch’s Grape Juice on special at CostCo, there was no stopping me! Besides, if it worked, we could easily obtain Concord juice whenever we wanted it.
We adapted the recipe from the original just a bit:
- 384 ounces Welch’s grape juice
- 2 pounds sugar
- 2-1/4 teaspoons acid blend
- 3 teaspoons yeast energizer
- 1 package Montrachet yeast
We fermented the juice all the way to dry, ultimately using cold storage to be sure to arrest any of the residual yeast. Following that, we clarified and racked the wine. And then we bottled. That’s right, we bottled it dry!
Our yield was nine 750 ml bottles of Brody’s 2016 Doggone Dry!
We had first been exposed to dry Concord at tastings in Northeast Ohio in the fall of 2015 when we traveled to pick up fresh juice. Dry Concord is a very different experience than what people normally associate with Concord wine. While the nose is definitely Concord, the palate provides a completely different experience. As one who not a fan of traditional Concord, I was very much taken aback by how much I enjoyed the dry version. I went from, “No way, no how do I want to make Concord,” to “We’ve got to give this a try!”
Our 2015 Dry Concord was made from fresh juice that we obtained from the winery on that trip. So how did our 2016 Welch’s Concord measure up?
It came out very close! Yes, you CAN make wine from Welch’s Grape Juice!
I must honestly confess, if I had an option, I would still prefer to work with fresh juice, but Welch’s does offer a very viable alternative.
After bottling, we still had one more gallon left of our Dry Concord on which to continue experimentation.
We asked Evan Williams for assistance. Aging wine in used bourbon barrels has become a thing so we hoped to simulate the effect. An actual barrel would be impractical for our small batches so we purchased charred oak infusion spirals and rather than soaking them in water, we soaked one in Evan Williams 2007 Single Barrel Bourbon. The spiral was then placed into the gallon carboy and the wine was aged for six more weeks.
It only takes six weeks to extract all that can be gained from the spirals. After six long weeks, we sampled our “bourbon barrel” wine with great anticipation.
Unfortunately, we were disappointed that there wasn’t more essense of the bourbon flavor that we had hoped for. So now what to do?
As a small non-commercial home wine maker, we have much more latitude with our creations as we are not subjected to state laws and regulations.
We went back to Evan Williams and simply poured some in! We continued to sample and adjust our wine until we felt we had it just right. At last it was time to bottle!
Our yield was nine 375 ml bottles of Brody’s 2016 KYck Ass!
We used the smaller bottles because this fortified wine is rather potent. We had done a 2015 version in a similar fashion. Side by side, the 2016 had a lot more bourbon in it. Once again, if given the option, I would prefer to use the fresh juice, but our Welch’s version still came out very nicely in the end.
Be careful though with this one! It WILL definitely KYck your ass!