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Best way to get west coast grapes in TN

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Aaron McClain

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I have made wine from kits and they've turned out very nicely but I love the full control of making wine from grapes. I'm able to source grapes locally here in Tennessee but as you would probably assume we don't have the greatest variety nor highest quality grapes (very wet and very hot) I know it's getting towards the end of harvest season but I'd love to get my hands on some California grapes. Particularly petite verdot, but anything big and red will do. I'd be willing to buy as little as 40 pounds and as many as a 140.

Could anybody point me in the right direction?
 

NorCal

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I have Petit Verdot at 25 brix that is sold to local wineries, sitting on the vines within 100 yards of my house. Really nice fruit. I could get you what you want for $1 per pound, plus packaging and logistics cost. Here is the catch, you would need to figure out the packaging and logistics.
 

Aaron McClain

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I'll do it!

Packaging shouldn't be that big of an issue but shipping probably will be. They will either have to be (I assume) shipped overnight or refrigerated both of which will cost a fortune but I'm willing to do it. Does anyone have any info on this? I know there are wineries all over the country that use California grapes so there must be a standard procedure.
 

CDrew

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I think the problem will be most deal in much larger quantities-thousands of pounds at a time in a refrigerated truck.

And shipping coolers of grapes by overnight air will be hideously expensive. A 50 pound box of fish shipped from Alaska to the West coast is $350 (as a reference). So 4 of those to Tennessee with grapes instead of fish would be unreasonable. Cheaper to buy great wine that's already made by a pro.

How about you plan for a fall '19 trip to the West Coast? Bring a friend and a full size van that you could load up with 4-6 Brutes full of must. Drive straight through back with AC on high. You could start your winemaking on the drive back and be half done with your primary fermentation when you get home. All in a mobile, temperature controlled winery. I'm only half kidding. "Roadtrip Red" "I-40 Meritage" "Texas is boring Tempranillo" something like that.
 

NorCal

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Yea, packaging and logistics are difficult. A large priority flat rate box ($19 shipping), will hold a little over 3 gallons of destemmed/crushed, SO2 must. It would need a $10 thick camping water container. Right there you are at $54 / $7 per bottle, just for the grapes. I could refrigerate (not freeze, because of sweating) and it would take 2-3 days to get to you.
 

Aaron McClain

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Yea, packaging and logistics are difficult. A large priority flat rate box ($19 shipping), will hold a little over 3 gallons of destemmed/crushed, SO2 must. It would need a $10 thick camping water container. Right there you are at $54 / $7 per bottle, just for the grapes. I could refrigerate (not freeze, because of sweating) and it would take 2-3 days to get to you.
I'm not opposed to that price. I'd want to do at least a 5-gallon batch so I'd need 3 of those boxes if possible. If they've been hit with S02 I imagine they'd survive the journey fairly well. It seems more economical than the other option.
 

Aaron McClain

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This makes a ton of sense but the prices are quite high. $156 per 5 gallon pail of grapes = 3 gallons of wine maybe and then we are talking $10/btl not even including shipping. Regardless, I want to make a 100% petite verdot. They are very rare and the one I've had was the most intense(in a good way) wine I've ever had so I'm willing to go through whatever measures it takes. I super appreciate the recommendation though. Maybe I should just move to California. My sister lives in NoCal...
 

Aaron McClain

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Maybe just plan a road trip for next year. Where are you in TN? These guys are in St. Louis. If you live in Memphis that is 300miles one way. Several of us have driven 700 miles one way for fresh grapes before!

https://wineandbeermaking.com/seasonal-grapes-juice/
I am in Knoxville which is unfortunately at thr complete other end of the state :-( it's a long way to STL from here.
 

jburtner

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I’ve done Musto and Brehm to Nashville. I’ve got seven gallons of PV from chile bulk aging now (this past spring). Pinot Noir on order for fall. I’ll coordinate for a road trip or splitting shipping some coming season.

Cheers!
-j
 

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