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lacnlac

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In a weeks time I will be purchasing 300lbs of Merlot grapes from a vineyard. The owner of the vineyard is going to crush and de-stem the grapes for me. I plan on using a cultured yeast for fermentation. Is it absolutely necessary to use campden tablets, and is potassium/sodium metabisulphite the same thing. How much do I need to add to my 300lbs of grapes.
 

smurfe

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I would consult with the person you are getting the grapes from. It sounds like they make wine and should be able to give you that info. You add sulfites based on the current free SO2. Just remember that free SO2 and Total SO2 are two different beasts. The gallons of juice you get from those grapes will determine the amounts as well. Remember to that Sodium metabisulfite is stronger than potassium metabisulfite. Either can be used though. Most use the Potassium though. Hopefully one of the grape wine makers here that make large batches will chime in.
 

Wade E

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Campden tablets and K-meta are the same thing, either K-meta or Na meta can be Campden. I would notven think of useing campden for a big batch like this though as the tablets are much more expensive then the powder and the powder is much easier to use. 300 lbs of grapes will yield you approx 30 gallons of wine unless you are doung second run wines which will give you more but lesser quality. typical dosage is 1/4 tsp of k-meta per gallon so you would use approximately 7 tsps of k-meta for this batch but do check with the guy. I would not ferent these using natural yeast myself and sulfite to let my yeast of chois=ce do its thing. Where are you getting these grapes and what kind of grapes are these as that could change your wine yield.
 

lacnlac

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The grapes come from a professionally maintained vineyard in the Columbia Valley of Washington State. Most of the grapes are sold to wineries, but the owner comes from a background of home winemaking himself, so he likes to help the little guy out. He told me that he checks the brix, TA, and I believe also the SO2 (although I could be wrong on the SO2) before picking. The grapes are Merlot but I'm not sure if that answers your question about the kind. I have been making kit wine for about two years now, but this is my first shot at making it from grapes. So all this acid, PH, and SO2 stuff is kinda confusing. Just wanna make sure I get the knowlege I need before I start. Any advise would be helpful. Thank You
 

Wade E

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S02 is not checked as thats something we add and there is none present in grapes. What he would be cgecking is Brix, TA, and PH. The PH and the Brix are the most important things when making wine. You always adjust these the best you can and that usually gets you right in the ballpak with TA but not always. Raising the TA lowers your PH and vice versa. Looks like you will have som e great grapes to work with over there. Please post the #'s that he gives you. Do you have 6-5 gallon carboys pr 5-6 gallon carboys to deal with all thsi juice and all the buckets or few Rubbermaid food grade trash cans(they are usually white)?
 

St Allie

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Wow, 300lbs/150kilos of grapes?.

..and I struggled with 120 kilos of apples. Having access to a press would have been heaven.

can you let us know the volume of juice you get from the grapes?

Allie
 

lacnlac

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I do have 3- 6 gallon carboys and plan on purchasing two more. I am also planning on purchasing two rubbermaid 32 gallon trash can. Thanks for the food grade tip. I am also in the process of purchasing a press. I tell ya start up can be expensive. I will most certainly post the numbers and any feed back would be greatly appreciated.
 
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lacnlac

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I would be happy to post my yeild. I was told by the grower that 2000 lbs would yeild 150 gallons of finished wine. So using that I claculated roughly 25 gallons finished. (my math could be way off)
 

St Allie

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25 gallons worth of merlot? (150 bottles)

Do you mind me asking how much the grapes and the pressing will cost you?

all I can say is yum!

Allie
 

Wade E

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Thats about right depending on how hard you (they) crush. The harder the crush the more juice but you start to get too much tannins also so 8-10 gallons per per 100 lbs is a decent ratio.
 

St Allie

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You think you could get too much tannin in a merlot from overcrushing Wade?

I would say yes for a shiraz or a pinot.

You don't think a merlot can take a bit more tannin?

It's to taste I suppose. I like a heavier oaked taste to a red.

Allie
 

Wade E

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Too much tannin from sitting on the skins, probably not but stems and seeds are the culprit during crushing and that answer is yes easily. Imade a second run wine and while you pressing take frequent tastes and youll be able to start tasting the difference.
 

St Allie

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Just completely off the wall question here,

If you over crushed a merlot grape and ended up with too much tannin.

a/ could you cellar the wine more to fix it?

b/ could you turn out a wine that was more cabernet sav to drink?

Allie
 

Wade E

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You would have to blend it or dilute these kind of tannins as they are very astringent unlike tannins from skins. Skin tannins are desirable just like a fruit but when you crack open pits in leave to many stems on the fruit these also add tannins but a very different flavor. Its the reason why we use white oak to oak our wines instead of red oak which also has tannins but the profile it would add is undesirable!
 

lacnlac

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25 gallons worth of merlot? (150 bottles)

Do you mind me asking how much the grapes and the pressing will cost you?

all I can say is yum!

Allie
The grapes are costing me 90 cents a pound and he is not charging for the crushing. The grower is very nice and helpful. I will say that I had a difficult time finding primaries that are 20 plus gallons. There are none sold in this area, so I had to have them shipped from Seattle. Does anyone know if it would be ok to use just regular plastic trash cans? Food grade are expensive and like I said difficult to find.
 

lacnlac

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You would have to blend it or dilute these kind of tannins as they are very astringent unlike tannins from skins. Skin tannins are desirable just like a fruit but when you crack open pits in leave to many stems on the fruit these also add tannins but a very different flavor. Its the reason why we use white oak to oak our wines instead of red oak which also has tannins but the profile it would add is undesirable!
How long do I want to ferment the wine on the skins? Do I wait till fermentation is complete to press? I suppose the longer I leave it the more tannins I get out of it.
 

dderemiah

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I think most of the Rubbermaid cans are polyethelene (look for the triangle with a "2" in it) which is food grade. You can get them at most hardware stores.
 

Tom

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Not true. The # in the triangle is for recycling only. You want to see HDPE on the bottom
 

Skyhawk

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I use the "basic gray" color "Brute" Rubbermaid cans, since they're 44 gallons. I have two of them filled with crushed grapes fermenting as I type. You can get them at Walmart, Home Depot, etc.

Speaking of which, someone please remind me to punch down the cap a little later... :b
 

dderemiah

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Home depot says they carry the Rubbermaid Brute and Roughneck cans. I know the Brute ones are HDPE. I can't find any definitive answer on the Roughneck cans.
 

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