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Table Grapes Vs. Wine Grapes

Posted on October 20, 2010 by Ed Kraus There have been 3 comment(s)


Wine Making Grapes V. Table GrapesHello Kraus,

Please explain to me what is the difference between wine grapes and eating grapes.

Thank you,
Mert B.__________

Dear Mert,

This is a great question and one that gets down to the basics of learning how to make your own wine.

There are many significant differences between wine making grapes and table grapes --eating grapes as you called them:

Table grapes are crunchy-er with a stronger skin and firmer pulp than wine grapes. This not only makes them more appealing to eat, but it also makes them hold up to the rigors of being transported long distances to your local market. As a consequence, table grapes tend to have less juice in relation to the amount of pulp.

Table grape juice is also not as sweet as the juice from wine grapes. A typical brix reading for table grapes is 17 to 19, whereas wine grapes are around 24 to 26 brix. Brix is a scale that represents the amount of sugar in a liquid as a percentage. It is the standard scale used by refractometers which are used to take these readings in the vineyard.

And as a final basic difference, the acidity level of these grapes tend to be slightly lower that the average wine grape. This is to increase the grapes impression of sweetness while on the market.

Having said all this, you can learn how to make your own wine using table grapes. You can run them through grape presses to get all the pulp out of the way. You can add extra sugar to bring the brix level up to that of a wine grape juice. And, you can adjust the acidity of the juice by adding Acid Blend to raise the acid level.

But all of this will not change the leading factor the makes a table grape NOT a wine grape... and that is flavor. While table grapes taste fine for popping into your mouth as a snack, once fermented, the flavor of the resulting wine is fairly uneventful and could also be described as non-existent.

While table grapes could be used for learning how to make your own wine -- as a practice run, so to speak -- do not expect this wine to bring any enthusiastic raves from family, friends and neighbors. While the wine will be drinkable and may even be pleasant, it will not be stellar.

Mert, I hope this is a clear enough answer to your question. It is a question that we get fairly often, so I plan on posting it on our wine making blog.  If you have anymore questions, just let us know. We want to do everything we can to help you become a successful home winemaker.

Happy Wine Making
Customer Service
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.


This post was posted in Wine Making Blog

3 Responses to Table Grapes Vs. Wine Grapes

  • richard brostek
    richard brostek says:

    very good information from Krause. thank you for being informative with us students of the chemistry of wine making . it is very interesting and helpful

    Posted on May 5, 2012 at 10:47 am

  • John Stoltz
    John Stoltz says:

    My Boss is adament that there is no difference between table grapes and winemaking grapes ! How do I convince him of what the fundamental differences are ?

    Posted on November 3, 2013 at 8:59 pm

  • Customer Service
    Customer Service says:

    John, you could show him the above blog post, but beyond that the only way I could think of would be to put some wine grapes and table grapes side-by-side in front of him.

    Posted on November 4, 2013 at 6:53 am