Wine Chronicles: Now Making Grapefruit


We love grapefruit: the flavor, the fragrance, the nutritional benefits. It’s simply sublime. I make a lot of fresh grapefruit-flavored cultured beverages, like water kefir and kombucha, so when I spotted a recipe in my go-to winemaking book (Raymond Massaccesi’s “Winemaker’s Recipe Handbook”) for fresh grapefruit wine, I knew I’d be making some. And I did.

While I generally followed the recipe as it’s written, I made a couple of modifications, based on my experience making orange wine. Basically, this recipe calls for the use of grapefruit segments and some peel; I reamed the grapefruit to extract the juice (7 cups!), instead, since I believe this will increase the amount of juice (and flavor) in the must. If you use segments, you’re supposed to squeeze the juice out. I just poured the fresh juice, pulp pieces, and chopped peel into a mesh bag – the juice ran through the mesh into the primary fermenter, leaving the solids in the bag. I then added all the other ingredients (sugar, water, tannin, and Campden tablet) and left it; after 24 hours, I pitched the champagne yeast.


The mixture bubbled happily in the primary fermenter for about 5 days (stirred daily), then I moved it to into a glass jug to continue its ferment. I’ll rack it into a clean carboy again in a few weeks.

The must looks very much like grapefruit juice at this point…and very cloudy. As with other citrus juice ferments, it should clear by itself with time and racking it off the sediment. I expect this one to ferment dry and to need backsweeten it prior to bottling, but we’ll play it by ear and see how it tastes when sampled.

After reaming all the grapefruit, I was left with a mountain of rinds that still contained some pulp and juice. What to do with them? I started a wild ferment by adding syrup (sugar water), and it was bubbling very actively almost immediately (so actively that I had to move it into different, larger containers because it had, in its enthusiasm, overflowed the jars). Interested in how this no-food-waste ferment came out? Update to come!

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