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SCUPPERNONG GRAPE WINE (19th Century Recipe)

3-4 gallons Scuppernong Grapes
3 lbs sugar

  • Remove grapes from stems and wash.
  • Mash them as best you can and press hard.
  • Let juice and hulls stand 48 hours.
  • Drain well to extract all juice.
  • To one gallon of juice add three pounds sugar and stir well.
  • Transfer to fermenting jar and tie linen over jar.
  • Let stand several weeks, ladle into bottles and apply corks.
  • Let it lie a month or two before drinking.

  • [Adapted from a Mary Elizabeth Sproull Lanier recipe, circa 1880]

    I'd love to taste this wine! Made with pure scuppernong juice and fermented with the wild yeast attached to the grapes, it has to taste the way scuppernong wine was intended to taste, although I imagine the alcohol content would only range in the 6-8% neighborhood. I think I'd use more modern fermentation equipment, adjust the sugar for dryness, and add a little sauterne or champagne wine yeast. I'd also rack it every three weeks for at least nine weeks and be sure the fermentation had ceased before bottling. I can almost taste it....MMMmmmmm!


    4-6 gallons Scuppernong Grapes
    4-8 lbs sugar

  • Gather ripe grapes. Remove from stems and wash.
  • Put washed grapes in clean tub and use a seasoned but clean fence post to mash grapes by dropping upright post into tub.
  • Do not pound grapes or you'll break seeds and ruin the juice.
  • Cover the tub with clean flannel for three days, stirring the mashed grapes with wooden paddle 2-3 times a day.
  • Put mashed grapes in a clean flour sack and lay this on a clean scrubboard angled about 45 degrees.
  • Press palms on sack to press out juice, working from top to bottom several times.
  • Depending on your strength, you should get 1 1/2 to 3 gallons of juice.
  • Add sugar slowly, stirring with paddle to dissolve it.
  • After each stirring, test an egg in the juice. When it floats to the top, stop adding sugar.
  • Put into jugs and plug holes firmly with tightly rolled cloth strips so nothing can get in.
  • There should be 2 inches between top of juice and cloth stopper. If you have any extra juice, save in a soda bottle, also stoppered with cloth, for later.
  • Juice will ferment 2-4 weeks. When fermenting stops, wait another two weeks and pour through clean flannel into clean jugs.
  • Use water or strained saved juice to fill jugs.
  • Cork tightly and set in cool dark place.
  • Should be ready by Thanksgiving.

  • [Adapted from a Georgia folk recipe by Ed Heyward of Macon, GA]

    This recipe comes from a state where Scuppernongs are not originally native, although they have been grown there as cultivars for over a century. Birds have certainly spread the seed and wild Scuppernongs are now found in Georgia. However, this recipe would probably work for any sweet, white native grape. Comments: This is another all-juice, natural yeast wine. The concern for cleanliness is commendable. As in the previous recipe, more modern techniques should yield a better wine. These include use of an airlock, a hydrometer to measure total sugar content and finished dryness, several rackings, addition of proven wine yeast, and an expanded fermentation and aging.
    Have fun and good luck!

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