Beginning Equipment

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HymnandHerd

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we bought out a winery that was closing and initially started with eight 70 gallon flex tanks. Since then, we kept our ear to the ground and bought out 2 other winery's assets and increased our tanks to two 200 liter stainless VC, 12 300 liter stainless VC, two 500 liter stainless VC and just purchased six 600 liter tanks from a winery that was upgrading their tanks. We still have three 60 gallon poly drums that we are using as fermenters. in 2016 (our first full year of production) we sold just over 215 cases, in 2017 we sold just over 600 cases, in 2018 we sold 870 cases.

We are now beginning to purchase a 30 acre farm to put in a tasting room. I would like to hit 1000 cases this year.
Thanks for replying. How long have you been commercial? I purchased two 300 Liter stainless this past weekend from a guy who accrued them from a winery. I've also been speaking to a few wineries that are closing. They want to try to sell all equipment to one buyer but have offered me first chance at items if they cant sell everything together.
 

HymnandHerd

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Thanks for replying. How long have you been commercial? I purchased two 300 Liter stainless this past weekend from a guy who accrued them from a winery. I've also been speaking to a few wineries that are closing. They want to try to sell all equipment to one buyer but have offered me first chance at items if they cant sell everything together.
Sorry I just saw the rest of the thread
 

Hokapsig

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we are on our 4th year. Its a lot to learn. Having a good wine to sell is very important, but just as important is HOW you sell the wine. We learned that an all grapey tasting line up won't sell (all the wines compete with each other). Vary your line up. We now do many different fruit wines and blends. Different is good. Don't be afraid to go over the top. Put yourself out there. Try different presentations, try different wines. Do farmer's markets - they are a great place to test out your wines and don't cost a lot to do.
 

Ignoble Grape

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I just opened last fall, using carboys and buckets (3 7 gallon and a 20 gallon). Granted my expected production is incredibly small. I anticipate I'll do 60 cases in 2019 depending on yield.

My winery is about 100 square feet and I'm cash flowing everything. The money is gone now so I'll only be upgrading equipment if I make the money to get it. I imagine I'll be using Carboys for a while. I routinely prowl craigslist. When I'm ready to make some bigger buys I anticipate I'll be calling around to places upgrading/closing.
Hi, I know this is the winery board, so I assume I know the answer to this, but have to ask: did you go through all of the official licensing for your business, or is this under the table? I get the boot-strapping, and I'm really inspired, I just can't imagine all the red tape for 60 cases...

Background: I'm dreaming up my 5 year plan...
 

KevinL

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Hi, I know this is the winery board, so I assume I know the answer to this, but have to ask: did you go through all of the official licensing for your business, or is this under the table? I get the boot-strapping, and I'm really inspired, I just can't imagine all the red tape for 60 cases...

Background: I'm dreaming up my 5 year plan...
I got all the licenses. Federal, State and Local. Now it's just maintenance, so renewing licensing and keeping my TTB and ILCC paperwork up to date is my red tape burden. I suppose I had more time than sense (Depending on who you ask, I have little to spare of either). If I had taken the time that I spent getting licensed and picked up a shift or two at McDonald's I would have made way more money per hour. But money wasn't the only reason I took the plunge.

This year My production should be quite a bit higher, and I'm hoping we'll be closer to the 90 case mark this year, and then well over 100 for the next one. In part thanks to my low overhead(and the fact that I am not counting my labor), I was able to turn a profit last year.
 
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Have all federal & state licenses also. We sold 1200 bottles last year through a restaurant in the same building. Our 'winery' is about 400 sq ft. including storage. We use buckets and carboys, scheduling & workflow is critical. Cannot imagine trying bigger vessels, we would have to move to grow! 90% of our bottles have been recycled, de-labelling is the worst job! we use a weatherproof laser label that lasts about 5 cycles before needing new (about 90 % of the bottles come back from the restaurant). Just splashed out on an 'allinone' vacuum pump for racking and bottling, that should save a bit of time and will pay for itself fairly quickly. Have 10 carboys clearing, 10 buckets fermenting, 600 bottles stored, waiting to be sterilised and filled again, 400 bottles on racks, and am planning the next batches. We will start marketing/sales stuff through social media one day, and one day will get paid, this project just made it into the black. Yes McD's pays better, but its not yours....
 
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I don't believe a commercial winery operation is allowed to recycle bottles.
from research, I cannot find anywhere that dictates that. There are several companies who take used wine bottles, delabel and clean them, and re-supply them to wineries.
Reusing wine bottles uses 5% of the carbon footprint of a new bottle. They may not be that much cheaper, have not researched that yet, but can see needing more bottles soon. who knows, maybe I'll start my own bottle reuse company, over 70% of used wine bottles go to the landfill, its a real waste.
 

jgmillr1

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from research, I cannot find anywhere that dictates that. There are several companies who take used wine bottles, delabel and clean them, and re-supply them to wineries.
Reusing wine bottles uses 5% of the carbon footprint of a new bottle. They may not be that much cheaper, have not researched that yet, but can see needing more bottles soon. who knows, maybe I'll start my own bottle reuse company, over 70% of used wine bottles go to the landfill, its a real waste.

Glad to hear there are companies out there that are doing this. Main concern is ensuring the used bottles are cleaned and sanitized, which is equipment wineries don't usually stock. The health Dept would definitely be concerned otherwise.

From a winery's perspective on getting cleaned, sanitized bottles from a legit company, I'd still have concerns about matching bottles in the cases and any structural defects. Much better piece of mind just to buy new bottles for me.
 

jgmillr1

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We use buckets and carboys
This pretty much sums it up and makes it unsurprising that they are reusing bottles.

LOL, see the thread here on closing the gap between commercial and amateur wine. This place is helping close the gap going the other way!
 

Steve Wargo

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I've helped out at a local vineyard, they don't reuse wine bottles or the boxes. They take the bottles and boxes to the local dump. The owner stated that it's a health safety issue and state ordinance doesn't allow it. Plus they don't want to risk anything going wrong. Their very own #vineyarddog Timber and Frontenac Blanc harvest volunteers made @Wineenthusiast Magazine’s Feb/March 2020 issue when their vineyard was featured in one of their articles! They grow Cold Climate grapes like Marquette, Frontenac Red and White, Petit Pearl, and a couple of other varieties. https://www.facebook.com/youngbloodvineyard/?tn-str=k*F
 

Rice_Guy

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There are a few organic milk producers who use recycled glass, ?? ? rules tend to be uniform from food to food ? ? ? humm ?
I don't believe a commercial winery operation is allowed to recycle bottles.
Reasons why the uncle stopped doing milk in glass
1) plastics and paperboard became cheap in the late 50’s
2) cost of labor, the method fit better when they had delivery routes
3) breakage of glass

In dairy cleaning isn’t an issue, and milk has a larger health risk than wine. In wine bottles I have recycled the top 2 issues are labels and dried gunk when they’re not rinsed.
 

GreginND

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I'm a little late to the party. My advice is always to plan for 4 times bigger than you are thinking.

We started with 2x200L and 2x300L steel tanks and produced about 50 cases. The second year we were up to 500 cases with several more 300L tanks, several 600L tanks. By year three, over 1,000 cases produced and now we have 1 2000L tank, 7 1000L tanks, 5 600L tanks, 5 300L tanks, 3 200L tanks, 4 70 gal flex tanks, and several other poly tanks for temporary use ranging from 100 gallons to 210 gallons. We ferment things with pulp in half ton totes generally and I have 7 of those. Careful what you wish for.
 

mainshipfred

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kevinL

Some may call this sacrilege I use 4 gal PET water carboys. I have about 40 of them. Easier on my back and free. I do about 200 gal per year now.
It's amazing you are able to use only 4 gallon carboys. I have to use all sizes to have them topped up properly.
 

Ignoble Grape

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I'm a little late to the party. My advice is always to plan for 4 times bigger than you are thinking.

We started with 2x200L and 2x300L steel tanks and produced about 50 cases. The second year we were up to 500 cases with several more 300L tanks, several 600L tanks. By year three, over 1,000 cases produced and now we have 1 2000L tank, 7 1000L tanks, 5 600L tanks, 5 300L tanks, 3 200L tanks, 4 70 gal flex tanks, and several other poly tanks for temporary use ranging from 100 gallons to 210 gallons. We ferment things with pulp in half ton totes generally and I have 7 of those. Careful what you wish for.
Logistical Question: I'm considering getting a variable 50 gl., stainless steel fermenter for the coming season because I'm going to be at that capacity. I like my glass carboys, but they're becoming a tripping hazard. I realized, however, that if you need to rack off gross lees, you need to rack INTO something. When you have these large tanks, what do your rack into when you're working with your wine? Carboys? Your primary fermenter? An empty stainless steel tank? (That seems like a waste of tank space if you're only using it for transfer a few days a year). I'm trying to figure this one out. You seem to have lots of experience with the different sizes, so I'm curious. :)
 

WINEBAYOU

DeWayne Hill
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Since you're stepping up your volume I highly recommend you get yourself an All-In-One Wine Pump and use it to rack into glass carboys. You'll be degassing as you rack and you'll free up your tank for starting your next batch.
 
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