Moustos (Greek Grape Must)

Greek grapes
Rachele Rossi / Getty Images
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings

Moustos, aka grape must, is made using the juice squeezed from fresh grapes. In Greece, large quantities during the September grape harvest and it's a great project for kids. It freezes well and can be used throughout the year.

Moustos is used to make petimezi, a grape syrup that's used like maple, grape must pudding (moustalevria), and various other Greek sweets.


  • 10 to 11 pounds green or red September grapes (in bunches, with stems)
  • 1/3 cup wood ash (or 1/8 cup crushed eggshells)

Steps to Make It

  1. If using wood ash, sprinkle the grapes with the wood ash before starting. Work in manageable batches.

  2. In a large tub, squeeze the grapes by hand (or use a grape press if available) to get as much juice as possible.

  3. Pour the grapes through a strainer, collecting the juice in a large bowl or stainless pot.

  4. Discard the skins, stems, seeds, and any pulp. If using eggshells, add them to the pot now.

  5. Bring the juice to a boil and skim off the foam that rises to the top. Boil for 5 minutes.

  6. Leave the pot on the burner, turn off the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

  7. Slowly pour the cooled must into containers or a bowl, being careful not to pour out the silt. The cooled grape must can be used immediately or frozen.


  • This recipe calls for making 11 pounds of grapes at a time. However, if you have a large pot (lobster pot type), you can make more.
  • To get the kids involved, instead of squeezing the grapes by hand or with a press, you can use your feet—I Love Lucy-style! After sprinkling the grapes with wood ash, place them in a woven "burlap"-type plastic bag. Tie the bag securely and place in a large tub. Cover your feet with plastic bags (wear shoes) and stomp the grapes. Strain the juice into a pot for cooking as directed.

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