Homemade Grape Juice

There's nothing better than homemade grape juice. Use our step-by-step photo instructions to make your own small-batch grape juice from scratch.

Concord grapes hanging from grapevine
Elise Bauer

Late September and early October is Concord grape season in California's central valley.

Every time I walk under our grape arbor in this season, just the smell of those ripe grapes conjures up memories of childhood—wolfing down a PB & J, slurping a rapidly melting frozen grape juice bar (mom was way more into those than neon popsicles), or greedily munching on a grape flavored jelly bean, Lifesaver, or any of those turn-your-mouth-purple candies that we loved.

We used to make grape juice from Welch's frozen concentrate; sometimes the lid didn't come off so easily and splat there went a purple goopy mess all over our shirts.

Grape Juice in Glass
Elise Bauer

If you have never had fresh, homemade grape juice, I assure you, you are missing out; it's nothing like anything you can buy in a store! It's more like nectar than store bought juice, thick and smooth.

Homemade Grape Juice Is Best Enjoyed Fresh

We like to dilute ours a bit with sparkling water. Over the years we've learned that our homemade grape juice doesn't really freeze well; it just doesn't taste nearly as special upon defrosting. So when it's in season, we drink it up.

Grapes on vine
Elise Bauer

Use Concords or Other Grapes

This recipe uses Concord grapes which, according to my friends in Concord, Massachusetts, still grow wild around those parts. I'm pretty sure you could use this grape juice recipe with any kind of sweet grape you like.

Homemade Grape Juice

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Juice straining 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings 4 to 8 servings
Yield 1 to 2 quarts

You can use this recipe for any amount of grapes. A pound of grapes will yield about 1 cup of juice.

If you are using ripe concord grapes, no added sugar is necessary, the juice is more than sweet enough. But if you are using a more tart grape, you may want to add sugar. I would just taste the juice and add more sugar to taste if needed.


  • 4 to 8 pounds fresh picked grapes (we use Concord grapes)

Special Equipment

  • Fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth


  1. Pick the grapes:

    Get a large basket, wear long sleeves and a hat, bring clippers, and fill up the basket with grape bunches.

    Keep in mind that 1 pound of grapes will yield a little less than 1 cup of juice.

    How to make grape juice with grapes on a vine.
    Elise Bauer
  2. Rinse and stem the grapes:

    Put the grapes in a basin filled with water. Then rinse the individual grapes, picking them away from the stem, collecting the grapes in a large bowl, and discarding the green unripe and old shriveled grapes.

    Concord grapes soaking in a bowl.
    Elise Bauer
    A person holding concord grapes.
    Elise Bauer
  3. Mash the grapes:

    With a potato masher, mash away at the grapes so the juice begins to flow. If you have picked a lot of grapes, you may need to work in batches. We have found it easiest to mash about 4 pounds of grapes at a time.

    How to make grape juice.
    Elise Bauer
    Showing how to make grape juice.
    Elise Bauer
  4. Cook the grapes:

    Put the mashed grapes into a large stockpot. Slowly heat the grapes and juice to a simmer on medium heat and then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally so that the grapes don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Halfway through cooking mash some more, breaking up as many of the remaining grapes as possible.

    Making grape juice on the stove.
    Elise Bauer
  5. Prepare a sieve or cheesecloth:

    Get another large pot, place a large fine mesh sieve over it. Alternatively you can cover it with two layers of cheesecloth, secured with a rubber band. Make sure pot is sitting on a plate to catch any juice that may run over.

  6. Strain the cooked grapes:

    Ladle the grape mixture over the fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to strain. Let sit for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator to strain completely.

    Straining grapes to make a grape drink.
    Elise Bauer
    Straining concord grapes to make a grape drink.
    Elise Bauer
  7. Finishing:

    Remove sieve or cheesecloth. Note that sediment will have formed on the bottom of the container. Rinse out the sieve or cheesecloth and strain the juice again, to filter out some of the sediment. Pour or ladle juice into containers. Enjoy your juice!

    Simple Tip!

    Note that the grape mash can be composted.

    After about 1 week in the fridge I find that the juice starts to ferment, not in a bad way, it just adds some natural carbonation. If you let it sit around too long it could eventually turn to vinegar. This is why we try to make just as much as we would use up in 1 week. When we have made more than that we have frozen it, but the defrosted juice isn't nearly as good as the fresh juice. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
129 Calories
1g Fat
32g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 129
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 11%
Dietary Fiber 9g 32%
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 15mg 74%
Calcium 84mg 6%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 460mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.