Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Can I ferment table grapes into wine? How?
First, it's important to note that table grapes and wine grapes are not bred or grown for the same purposes. Table grapes are sturdier, bigger and crunchier, with thinner skins and often without seeds. Wine grapes are more fragile, with thicker skins, bigger seeds and more juice. Most important, wine grapes have more sugar than table grapes.
Sugar is the fuel for fermentation, the process by which yeast consumes sugar and converts it to alcohol and carbon dioxide. If you crushed a bunch of table grapes, I doubt that a fermentation would spontaneously commence; you would probably need to add sugar, as well as yeast. Even then, the resulting wine wouldn’t have the flavor or structure of wine made from wine grapes.