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byathread
07-11-2005, 03:56 PM
Hey folks,

It looks like there's a big chance I may be moving to the heart of Colorado's wine country in a couple of months. I have never made wine before and not really interested in purchasing lots of extra equipment. I would be interested in purchasing a small quantity of fresh-pressed grapes (5-10 gal) for wine and pyment. Care to share your experience with purchasing pressed grapes from the vineyard? I suppose the juice is sulphited? Prices?

Western Colorado is also a prime fruit-growing region with apples, pears, peaches, cherries and apricots being popular. Also interested in getting fresh-pressed cider as well. Can you give me an idea of prices?

Hopefully I can expect some great orchard honeys as well, and if nothing else, the move ought to benefit my meadmaking!

Thanks in advance,
Kirk

Oskaar
07-11-2005, 04:44 PM
If you're getting juice straight from the vinyard you'll need to speak to the vendor and find out if they have been sulfited. Many will sulfite the grapes as they're picked and put into the truck. The weight of the grapes will actually crush the grapes in the truck pretty well, with just a bit more effort to get the ones on top.

If you can, arrange with the vintner to get un-sulfited juice, if not then ask him for a sulfite PPM estimate so you can have that for your information. It's also important to know what the brix of the grapes were at picking time so you know how far a fermentation has come along when you get the actual juice. At many places you'll get juice that is already "boiling" with wild yeasts (either from the Vineyard or the Cellar according to who tells you what) so you can either sulfite again and innoculate with a big starter of your own yeast, or, you can give it a couple of days to slow down, and then innoculate with a big starter of your own yeast.

As far as additional equipment, I would recommend a brix refractometer < $100 to watch your progress, and then do some reading on Oak to find out what kind you want to use if any at all. With wine it's always a good idea to have several carboys for racking. Some of the wild yeasts are very energetic and build up gross lees. Since I don't know exactly what the composition of those yeasts are, I like to rack quickly during primary if I'm noticing a quick buildup of lees.

See my post on the "Wild Yeast" article from a couple of days back.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

byathread
07-12-2005, 03:42 PM
Hope that helps,

Oskaar


Of course! As always, your advice and recommendations are as well recieved as they are freely given. Thanks.

Anybody have any ideas on price?
How about prices for cider?

I plan on making some calls later this week.

Cheers,
Kirk

toolboxdiver
07-12-2005, 04:06 PM
I can't speak for the region your moving too but here in Pa fresh pressed cider is between $2.50 and $3.00 a gallon, the wineries in the fingerlakes region of NY state sell fresh pressed grape juice depending on the grapes from $4.00 a gallon to some specialties that are $18.00 a gallon. I guess the price will be close in the area your moving to in Colorado ... hope this helps

Oskaar
07-12-2005, 04:07 PM
I've seen it as low as $6 a gallon to as much as $20 or more a gallon. I've paid as much as $880 for a little over a ton of grapes so the location, quality, brix and manner of pickup/delivery all factor into the whole price schema.

BTW if you think that $880 is steep for a ton of grapes you can put it in perspective by visualizing a case of $50 bottles of wine going for $600 (+ tax) Hmmm, 12 bottles for $600 or 100 gallons for $880 . . .

If you're buying from premium vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, Amador, Lodi, Paso Robles, etc the the prices can be even more steep than that depending on who you talk to. I've gotten grapes/juice from a lot of different places, my favorite is Lodi and Paso Robles for Zinfandel which is what I make.

Here's a couple of helpful links:

http://www.zinfandel.org/about_zap/associates/index.asp

http://www.winebusiness.com/GrapesBulkWine/GrapesBulkWine.cfm

cheers,

Oskaar

Norskersword
07-12-2005, 06:14 PM
This is great information and I was planning to pick up some grapes myself. I have the luxery of living surrounded by the best wine regions in the country.

Thanks Oscaar for the info.

Commander Toasty
07-13-2005, 07:53 PM
Around here right now (it's the season) we are seeing a lot of grapes going at $2000 per ton. Of course these are premium Napa/Sonoma grapes. Thing is most vineyards don't sell quantity less than one ton. Which leaves us in the hands of a couple of the larger brew supply houses. They contact everyone on the mail list and place an order, then we crush together and enjoy a much better price, in the range ultimately of about twenty bucks a gallon juice, destemmed. But these are not the same premium grapes! They are good, plenty good, but not the $2000/ton grapes. Nice thing here is we have such a selection. I can have any grape I want, but have to be Johnnie on the spot when the call goes out.

Since most people don't have a press, it makes sense to go with the group and coordinate with the local supply house, working with others. You'll have fun and go home with what you want - just juice. I'm sure you'll find the same in Colorado. Although it might be ice wine...

Oskaar
07-13-2005, 08:59 PM
Yup,

Having a press makes a big difference. I've bought with coops as well and had very good success with the grapes we've bought, at a very good price. You're right about the quality of the grapes though, the top quality are very difficult to get unless you're buying at least a couple of tons and that's if they will sell to you, and give you a break on the price.

Cheers,

Oskaar

byathread
07-13-2005, 10:20 PM
Thanks for all the great information everyone!
This is definitely helpful to put things in perspective. I've already located the "local-est" homebrew shop and homebrew club. I'm sure they will be a great source of localized info.

Kirk