buying grapes

Hello:
I live in Northern California. I've made a couple of kit wines now (with lots of tips from this group, thank you!) and they're aging away - it'll be a while before they're ready to drink. I am wondering what is involved with going to the next step - making wine from grapes. Anybody in the local area that can give me some info on where to buy/what to arrange? Recommendations, tips, etc are all welcome. I'm sure there are a lot of options given I live so close to major wine grape growing regions, if anyone has any advice about going down this road, please feel free to share!
Theresa
Reply to
Theresa
Theresa, Why don't you look for a club in your area? They could be a source for a wide variety of information and fun. A google search or asking at a local home wine making store might help locate one.
Don
Reply to
Don S
One source is The Oak Barrel winemaking supply store in Berkeley. They have a dozen or so varietals from good sources. You have to reserve the grapes in mid-summer for pickup usually the day of picking.
Alternatively, try calling your favorite wineries and see whether they will sell some of their grapes. There's also quite a community of gleaners in Napa/Sonoma--people who pick over vineyards once the main harvest is done--but you'll want to have a refractometer available when you pick so you know what you're getting. I'd like to begin gleaning myself sometime, but I haven't looked into it yet.
Reply to
ernie
Have you considered raising your own grapes? I don't know if Concord is a wine making grape, but I have tasted some wine made from them and it was delicious.
You could plant them this spring and in 3 years have your own. You plant them around 10 ft apart, and once they are established, 3 or 4 plants should be plenty for wine and jelly.
Dwayne
Reply to
Dwayne
It depends on how much wine you want to make. If it's a couple of carboys of decent wine, then the suggestion of Oak Barrel is a good, easy one. If you want to make a barrel of potentially great wine (roughly 1/2 ton) then you've got a lot of options. I'd say that
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had the best classifieds. Starting in June/July there will many, many listings and if you're patient you can pick up tremendous fruit.
Reply to
Michael Brill
Michael; Do you have an idea, approximateley, what one would expect to pay for half a ton of quality California Cab or Merlot ?
I am currently buying M&R, Lodi, grapes from dealers in Vancouver, Canada - often low SG and hi acid.
Depending on price/quailty it might be worthwhile driving down ...
Thanks, Roger
Reply to
Analogueman

Roger, Grape prices strongly depend on quality and location of the vineyard. Good quality Napa Cabernet sells for about $4000 per ton. But, you will have trouble locating a vineyard willing to sell you a half ton. lum
Reply to
Lum
Lum, What do you think about the shipping of grapes and how it affects the wine. I know there's no possibility of getting Napa grapes up here in Eastern Canada but a distributor up here mentioned that in season he gets truck loads in from CA every two days. Considering that growers wait until the right moment and often pick throughout the night how would the grapes be affected by picking and shipping 3000 miles by truck?
Don
Reply to
Don S

Hi Don,
I have often worked with grapes that were picked, held in cold storage for several days and then shipped several hours in refrigerated truck. The fruit comes into the winery at 40 to 45 degrees, and I love working with cold grapes.
I have never worked with grapes shipped 3000 miles, but I think they would be just fine if they were kept cold.
lum
Reply to
Lum
Most winegrowers that have cold storage and are set up to sell their grapes via bin or lugs will sell you a minimum of one skid worth (42luggs/skid). I strongly suggest buying lugs instead of bins; the grapes get crushed in the bottom of the bins. Call any refrigerated transport company and they will pick up and deliver. We received grapes here in Florida from all over the west coast all the way up to Washington Sate this year. We roughly took in about 8 trailers worth. It started with a couple of friends wanting "real" grapes, to trying to make a few bucks on doing the project.
Next fall I will just do it with a couple of friends. We made good money but it was not worth all the hassle. I was really amazed on the high quality of the grapes shipped us. I don't think I found a single leaf in any of the lugs I did. Proving the point that the growers really did a super job on their end. The longest shipment was for some Pinot Noir out of Washington State that took 7 days to arrive.
SG Brix
Reply to
sgbrix
That would be the catch, I didn't get the feeling that they were shipped refridgerated but perhaps they were and just not kept cold once delivered. Can't hurt to try them. Seemed that enough grapes to make 23l was about the same cost as a high end kit.
Don
Reply to
Don S
I would expect that the grapes offered to you were shipped in refrigerated trailers. The ones that come to Calgary at a budget price are, and in early September I would think you'd definitely have to use a reefer to ship from CA to ON and end up with anything that anyone would buy... Even if it were possible, I doubt anyone in their right mind would risk losing their entire investment to spoilage just to save the marginal cost of using a reefer.
The local retailers here don't refrigerate once they arrive. They get way too much stock in to have room to refrigerate (too much to even put indoors) and it sells quickly enough anyhow. I got my grapes about 18 hours after they were unloaded, and after crushing they still needed to warm up a lot. It would've been about 72 hours after removal from the reefer that the must was finally warm enough to pitch the yeast into.
Cheers, Richard
Reply to
Richard Kovach

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