Making White Wine from Red Wine Grapes

We have two different batches of a Cabernet Sauvignon fermenting and aging at home; however, they are not the usual Cabernet Sauvignon. We are experimenting making a white Cabernet Sauvignon. One batch is from Cabernet Sauvignon that I picked up at Pearmund Cellars in Virginia. I collected a couple gallons of juice after the grapes were destemmed. They had about a half hour of skin contact. That wine has fermented and has been racked once since the fermentation. It is presently a reddish orange color. It needs to be racked again and then left alone for awhile.

More recently I acquired some Cabernet Sauvignon juice from Thanksgiving Farm winery in Maryland. The juice had little skin contact and it had a salmon color. It fermented for a week during which time the specific gravity dropped from 1.090 to 1.010. I decided to rack it into carboys even though it still had some fermenting to do. I have about three gallons of the Thanksgiving Farm white Cabernet Sauvignon and a little over one gallon of the Pearmund Cellars white Cabernet Sauvignon.

The idea of making a white wine from red wine grapes started a few years ago when we visited wineries in Temecula, California. We came across several wineries that made a white Merlot. A year later we had a white Pinot Noir at a Virginia winery. This summer we had a white Cabernet Franc at Thanksgiving Farm winery in Maryland and a couple wineries in the Niagara region of Ontario. We also had a white Cabernet Sauvignon in Ontario. It was interesting to note these white wines had a different tasting profile than red wines made from these grapes. Curiosity leads to wine.


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