I am making red wine for the first time using 3 buckets of red grapes grown on my allotment and using your website as a guide. I would like the wine to be dry and if possible, lowish in alcohol, so I would like to keep the sugar content down. But I am a bit confused by the process and my hydrometer readings and need to ask your advice.
This is what I have done:
With clean feet, I mashed approx 15kg red grapes divided between 2 plastic boxes, the grapes contained within muslin/net bags.
Each has produced about 1 gallon liquid. I removed the stalks, left the bag of grape skins in, and added 300g sugar to each box plus a scant teaspoon of bordeaux yeast (approx 5 g). I put the lids on and placed the boxes in my warm hallway.
The specific gravity reading was somewhere in the blue section of my Stevenson Reeves hydrometer - which is labelled 'start wine', so i took this to mean it was about right to start. On the three scales the blue section runs between : 45-90 , 7.2 - 14.5 and 120 - 245.
24 hours later, one box had bubbles the other not. I added 5g more yeast to the dormant one and pushed down the must in each. Bubbles started within a few hours.
48 hours later I have taken a specific gravity reading of 50/ 8/ 135 (ie near the top of the blue section) and a thermometer reading of 26 degrees.
What I'm not sure of is if I am meant to be adding more sugar, which I am reluctant to do in case I end up with horribly sweet wine. In 3 days time, should the hydrometer reading be in the yellow section - ie around 1.000/10?
I am also trying to get away without campden tablets as sulphur compounds give me allergic reactions, (sneezing/ loss of sense smell) - am I being foolish?
Huge thanks in advance for your help,