Midwestern wine grapes


Greetings, this year I made wine for the first time (with juice) and it appears to have gone well (so far), thanks in part to the kind responses to a post here. I have a dozen year's experience at brewing beer.
Next year I would like to go with crushed, destemmed grapes (the proper way). I live in Michigan, which does have a few wineries selling grapes. There are also area stores where I can get California grapes. I got a press from a friend. I have been thinking about making Michigan/California mixes since
a) the California grapes appear, on average, to produce too strong wines for my tastes. Michigan grapes, on the other hand, make too acid wines. I can't remember liking a Michigan bottle, ever
b) historically I have liked blended wines
c) Michigan wines will certainly have much higher resveratrol content, and possibly more other flavor-inducing compunds
Basically, I would like advice on the following
1) how do people in the area (or other cold areas of the country) get their crushed grapes from the South? Frozen? Is it expensive?
2) do you have a local seller who will destem them for you
3) anything else I need to consider or try
Thanks for any response.
Reply to
simy1

Check out your local winemaking store near you. They may have a stemmer/crusher you can rent - OR there may be a local club that you could join that may have one also.
Do you subscribe to "Winemaker" magazine? If you do, go to some past issues and you might find a source for California grapes that are shipped to a location near you.
You are smart to try a blend. I share your taste - CA grapes are TOO high brix and the resultant wine is too jammy and alcoholic for my taste. Blending with your local grapes would help a lot.
Reply to
Paul E. Lehmann

greetings! glad your 1st batch was successful... was it a kit or a pail of juice?
1) Here in the Boston area, we ( my partners in vine) go into the wholesale produce center to brokers who sideline in wine grapes, juices & equipment. 3 or 4 brokers handle the less expensive ( insert your qualitative judgment here,) Lodi/Central Valley grapes & 5 gal pails of varietal juices. 1 guy deals in more upscale grapes from further north. The largest homebrew supplier sells (her opinion) great grapes from Napa ( autumn) & Chilean grapes (spring) both on a preorder/pig in a poke basis. She also has fresh frozen Italian juices. There's quite a few home vintners here, so we have options... maybe you do too? A 35# lug of grapes: $22-$45 depending... I don't buy juice but I think its in the $55 a pail range for CV, and $$$illy for the imported .
2) We don't have guys who offer that service, but I do know that in other states folks offer "enhanced processing options." at point of sale.
3a) Craig's List/ ebay/ etc? Crusher/destemmers aren't cheap but worth the investment if you're a toy-guy in this for the long haul. Maybe there's a rental opportunity out there. We bought most of our toys from an old timer who was retiring from the grapes & switching to juices; he's become a mentor & friend.
3b) Join other forums; post for sharing/rentals.
3c) Pls don't laugh too hard: try going to small produce markets whose staff are Italian, Portuguese, Spanish - winedrinking cultures! I've made some good friends & got pointed in good directions by conversing with these local guys. "They know this guy who wants to get rid of..."
Start asking questions...google local groups. I'd bet that a local homebrew group has a closet vintner or 2 you can pump for info.
HTH pardon my rambling but I'm home sick, it snowed again last night and Nyquil stingers give one a loquacious glow... regards, bob
Reply to
bobdrob

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I destemmed ~ 200 pounds of grapes by hand for years, it's boring biut not that bad. Depending on how much you want to do that is an option. You can rub them across a milk crate too but I never tried that, i just bought a used crusher.
If you blend that high acid Mich with low acid Central Valley fruit you may have a winner. The local stuff might be high acid loweer brix and the CA stuff would be the opposite. I would blend after measuring though.
Joe
Reply to
Joe Sallustio

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I suppose I could destem myself, then. My family will drink no more than 100 bottles a year. Add 20 bottles for friends. And yes, you guys have convinced me of the need to measure, measure, measure. If I do stumble on a good wine, it would be good to have the relevant numbers (mix %, types, brix, TA, pH) in a logbook.
Since I have a large freezer, I will probably freeze the local grapes too (after crushing and destemming) for best flavor extraction.
Reply to
simy1

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I will echo the sentiments of the others here. After some looking, i found 3-4 folks in the Cleveland area that import California varietals every season. I buy into the load for about 500lbs. I pay about $.90/ lb for the grapes and I use their crusher destemmer. Most places allowed me to use their crusher / destemmer.
I also pick about 500lb of Chancellor grapes. Yes, a high acid wine that had to bring down with a bit of CaCO3. It is a bit full and foxy, but bland.. I will probably blend with my Cab.
Reply to
Wayne Harris

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