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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Can I ferment table grapes into wine? How?

—Evan, Ireland

Dear Evan,

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.

—Dr. Vinny

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