Blichmann WineEasy - anyone tried it?

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milbrosa

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I've been making kit wines for a few years, not that many overall, but I've had very good results from my efforts so far. One thing I'd like to do is to make wine from fresh grapes. There are a few things that have held me off from that so far. The major impediments have been lack of test equipment and knowledge to ensure proper acid balance and free SO2, and lack of a press and a destemmer/crusher. Of course, I know I can rent a press and a destemmer/crusher.

I just noticed that Blichmann has a new product designed to handle fermentation, pressing, and transfer of must. They call it the WineEasy. I haven't priced it, but I'd expect it to be priced like other Blichmann products (i.e., spendy).

The product and videos showing how to assemble and use it are on the Blichmann web site. I can't post the link becuse I don't have 5 posts yet, but if you google blichmann and wineeasy, you'll find it.

What do you all think of this? Is it overkill for home wine-making equipment?


Meanwhile, I've got three wine kits sitting in the corner that I need to get started on. I definitely don't need this Blichmann kit for that.
 

Runningwolf

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First off welcome to the forum. Funny you should ask about these as I was just researching them yesterday. My first thought is save your money as you'll be into it for well over 500.00.

We will be happy to guide you through every step of the way. I make a few gallons a year but do not own a press or crusher and don't plan on buying any. I buy fresh juice from wineries and skip that part of the wine making. All the rest though is up to me. The most important tool you need to start off is an $8.00 hydrometer. Most places you buy from will tell you what the ph and acid levels are and how to adjust for it. If they don't tell you how to adjust, just ask and we will.

As far as S02, put a 1/4 tsp in after fermentation and then another 1/4 every three months until bottling. Now this is not totally accurate but it is close enough to keep your wine safe. As you grow in the hobby and knowledge you can decide which instrument to buy next like a ph meter. If you buy wine kits a hydrometer is the only tool you'll have to have.
 

Wade E

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That is pretty sweet though, you have to agree there!! If I was rich I would get it! Blinchman is a top notch quality manufacturer and was big with beer brewing but looks like they want to start playing in our area now!
 

milbrosa

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Thanks for posting the link, Rocky.

Runningwolf, I would not be surprised if they weren't over $500. I have a Blichmann 14.5 gallon conical fermenter for my beer, and I love it, but I really want to keep the winemaking on a simpler scale, if I can. I have a couple of 20 gallon food-safe Brute trash cans that I store grain in for beer. I think one of them would make a reasonably useful fermenter for wine. I use a 10 gallon Brute trash can for wine kits.

I have a hydrometer, a refractometer, and I just bought a ph meter a few days ago. I haven't used it yet. It's a Milwaukee MW102. I bought it to measure my mash ph, but it should work for wine too. I should be able to test for and adjust acid levels.

Maybe I've been worrying about this too much, but I don't have any titration equipment for measuring free SO2 in the wines. I thought that was more imporant when making wine from whole grapes than when making kits, but I am perfectly happy to stick with 1/4 tsp additions at set intervals if that is sufficient.

I think getting good grapes will be the hard (costly) part of the equation for me. I live in the DFW area in Texas, not an area known for large scale high quality grape growing. But if I had some confidence that I could get good results, I wouldn't mind having the shipping costs from better grape-producing regions, I think.
 

milbrosa

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Forgot to mention. I do have 11 carboys. Two 5 gallon, eight 6 gallon, and one 6.5 gallon. One of the 6 gallon ones is a Better Bottle, the rest are glass.

So I think I have the equipment covered, except for crusher/destemmer and press.
 

Runningwolf

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and I just bought a ph meter a few days ago. I haven't used it yet. It's a Milwaukee MW102. I bought it to measure my mash ph, but it should work for wine too. I should be able to test for and adjust acid levels.

You're alot further along then I thought. As far as your ph meter goes, after a lot of soul searching and research, I bought the exact same one for Christmas.
 

milbrosa

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Cool. Yep, that was my Christmas present to myself too.

I have done about a dozen wine kits so far. I like using the kits, they are easy, and I'm sure I'll continue to use them. I was more than pleased with the results I got out of many of them. I am just looking to try my hand now at making wine from fresh grapes to see if I can do it. I think I can. I hope so, anyway.

That's why I was looking at the Blichmann WineEasy, but I don't want to spend that much after all. So I'll plan on getting on the list at my LHBS to order grapes (if they decide to do it) and rent their crusher/destemmer and later their press. I'd like to own my own equipment, but that isn't practical unless I find that I can make good wine and I enjoy the process. I'm pretty sure I can and I will, but you never know.
 

Wade E

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Now if that thing was a crusher destemmer also they would have the market cornered for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The all in one!!!!! Then they could just turn that thing into a variable capacity tank also it would be very very cool!!!!!
 

Runningwolf

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So I'll plan on getting on the list at my LHBS to order grapes (if they decide to do it) and rent their crusher/destemmer and later their press.

REALLY..if anyone buy California or local grapes at Presque Isle Wine Cellars they let you use the crusher/destemmer and bladder press for free.
 

Wade E

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I dont know about there Dan but where I get my grapes Id be waiting about 1 1/2 hours o get my grapes destemmed and crushed and if it was a white Id then have to go wait in another line for about the same time! They dont rent stuff their either so pressing later would be a 45 minute ride back there with all my must to go wait in a line again.
 

milbrosa

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I guess I'd be OK with waiting an hour and a half on a couple of different occasions if I had to. Not that I'm cheap, but my time is a bit cheaper than the cost of the equipment. I'd just bring a cigar and relax outside while waiting my turn.

My LHBS is Fine VIne Wines (The Wine Maker's Toy Store) in Carrollton Texas. I'll have to check with them to see if they will be ordering grapes. If not, I'll need to find someone else in the DFW area who will. I'm assuming that group buys are the way to go.

I want to order enough to yield 12 gallons finished wine for my first whole fresh grape batch. Red. Don't really care what grape variety for my first try so long as it'll make a good wine.
 

misology24

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Make certain you order well in advance of needing it. We were promised a 4-5 day shipment and it is now more than two weeks (ready to start fermenting in three days and moving to a backup plan). All units ship from Blichmann but there is no way to contact them directly to determine status. Two distributors have indicated they have trouble getting Blichmann to respond as well.
 

NorCal

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I picked one up used a year or so ago. Used it 3x, maybe 4,000 pounds of grapes total; cab franc, zin, syrah. Worked excellent on two, but ran into some issues with the zin. The bottom screen was constantly getting clogged. It was a problematic, extended ferment, so I suspect the grape skins were broken down to a point that they clogged the bottom screen. I worked through it, but it was a pain.
 

NorCal

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@Snafflebit (the wife has a horse, so I get the snafflebit name) bit gave this a like, so it resurfaced this 5 1/2 year old post. What a memory. I've since done many more ferments and pressings through the Blichmann Wineasy and have had only two pressings where it was an issue. The original one with the Zin where enzymes were used, with an extended ferment and the skins were mush, clogging the screen and a white wine pressing. My destemmer/crusher is set on the widest setting possible, as to be gentle on the crushing part. This works good for reds, but not so good for whites.

We did Viognoir, which had real small berries and a good percentage of the berries didn't get crushed. When we pressed the destemmed grapes the resulting yield was really bad. The press does not exert enough pressure to burst open the whole berries. We ended up running the pressed berries back through the crusher and pressed a second time in order to get a decent yield. The lesson learned was to adjust my destemmer for whites or use a different press.

I am going to use the Blichmann and try doing pump overs this year, to see if that softens the wine.
 
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I do not ride much these days but maybe someday I will get a pole barn and some horses of my own. I was looking at the wineeasy mainly for its skin press but this year I am going to do the mop bucket and strainer bag trick.
 

Benny Wa

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We have a small white grape vineyard of 150 vines. Since we dont ferment with the skins is the Blichman system not useful for our application? In other words is this mostly designed for red wine makers?
 

NorCal

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We have a small white grape vineyard of 150 vines. Since we dont ferment with the skins is the Blichman system not useful for our application? In other words is this mostly designed for red wine makers?
Having used a basket press, bladder press and the blichman, I would say the blichman is the least effective for whites. I’ve done it, but ended up pressing them twice and still did not have that great of a yield.
 

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