Chilean juice pail tweaks

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tradowsk

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I may be getting one or more 6-gallon juice pails of chilean syrah or malbec next month, and I wanted some thoughts on what if any tweaks I may need to do to these to get good quality wine. The grapes are shipped from Chile to a local winery which then presses them and sells the juice at $77 per pail for reds.

What yeast would you recommend? I usually use BM4x4 but my LHBS has a pretty good selection.
Do you add additional tannin? Pre- and/or post-ferment?
What are the target acid levels?
Any additional things to add to make a better final product?
I have some oak spirals I was planning to use and maybe some glycerin if it's a little thin.
 

cmason1957

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If the local winery really is doing the press, I might ask if you could get some of the grape skins that they pressed the juice from to add to a bigger bucket (since they take up space). Many folks add a lug of grapes to a juice bucket. I would also add some sacrificial tannins to the mix pre-ferment to help set the color. Maybe some later, if you think they are needed. Acid levels, same as anything else around 3.6 for a PH and to taste for TA. Be prepared to inoculate with Malolactic Bacteria and let that run it's course. Oak for sure, both Syrah and Malbec can stand up to a good healthy oaking. BM4x4 is probably good enough, but I might consider SYR or AMH yeast for the Syrah. Oh and go get yourself a copy of morewinemaking red wine PDF, I'm sure I am missing some things off the top of my head.
 

mainshipfred

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There is more to it then just pressing the grapes, at least for reds. The juice has to be fermented on the skins to extract the tannins, color and everything else. When you buy processed juice buckets it is just that, processed juice and they never tell you what method was used. It could be they are selling buckets of crushed grapes which to me would make more sense and $77.00 per bucket is a good price. Other then that everyting Craig mentioned is a good idea.
 

tradowsk

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Thanks for the advice! I sent an email to the winery for more details, but they use a "nearby press pad" and offer the juice to home winemakers. They also use the same juice to make their own wines. Idk if I can get a bucket of skins to ferment with, we shall see.

But I'll definitely look into MLF. I haven't done it before since I do either fruit wines or kits, so this will be a new experience.
 

hdgypsyman

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I have pre-ordered two pails of South American Cabernet Juice from Midwest Supplies that will be here in April. I'd like to add grape skins to the ferment, but I am having trouble finding any compatible (Cab) grape skin packs. Does anyone have a good source?
 

mainshipfred

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I have pre-ordered two pails of South American Cabernet Juice from Midwest Supplies that will be here in April. I'd like to add grape skins to the ferment, but I am having trouble finding any compatible (Cab) grape skin packs. Does anyone have a good source?
They might be hard to find. I think pre packaged skins are pretty generic. Maybe someone in your area has a source for fresh spring grapes.
 

Chuck E

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I have pre-ordered two pails of South American Cabernet Juice from Midwest Supplies that will be here in April. I'd like to add grape skins to the ferment, but I am having trouble finding any compatible (Cab) grape skin packs. Does anyone have a good source?
Mosti Mondiale usually carries grape skins. I'm not sure if they are Cabernet grape skins.
 

hdgypsyman

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Do you have a working link to the Mosti Mondiale website? The ones from a google search seem to be broken......
 

mainshipfred

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Do you have a working link to the Mosti Mondiale website? The ones from a google search seem to be broken......
It's my understanding you have to call them. Their website sucks
 

BMarNJ

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I am new to wine making and also just ordered a pail of chilean cabernet. My supplier also gets chilean grapes, so I ordered 18lbs of those as well. I was going to ferment in the pail, but with the lug of crushed grapes, I wont have room now. Will a 10 gallon ferment bucket be my next best choice?
Any advice on this method of grapes and juice would be much appreciated. I expect to start at the end of April, but am gathering info and supplies now. Thanks to all for all the great posts I have found.
 

Chuck E

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I am new to wine making and also just ordered a pail of chilean cabernet. My supplier also gets chilean grapes, so I ordered 18lbs of those as well. I was going to ferment in the pail, but with the lug of crushed grapes, I wont have room now. Will a 10 gallon ferment bucket be my next best choice?
Any advice on this method of grapes and juice would be much appreciated. I expect to start at the end of April, but am gathering info and supplies now. Thanks to all for all the great posts I have found.
I use RubberMaid Brute 10 gallon containers for this. They are NSF approved food grade plastic.
 

baron4406

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I have an email from the Mosti-Montinale folks, you are right it took me almost a year to actually order the grape pack. their website was so horrible! Finally about a year later I got an email out of the blue from then saying they fixed all the problems. So I ordered one and got it fast. BTW they said the packs are 99% Cabernet and 1% Merlot. Pretty bizarre combo. I'm done with juice buckets they are so watered down and tasteless I don't even bother with them. So if you go that route keep in mind your going have to manipulate the heck out of it to get any taste
 

CabEnthusiast

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I have an email from the Mosti-Montinale folks, you are right it took me almost a year to actually order the grape pack. their website was so horrible! Finally about a year later I got an email out of the blue from then saying they fixed all the problems. So I ordered one and got it fast. BTW they said the packs are 99% Cabernet and 1% Merlot. Pretty bizarre combo. I'm done with juice buckets they are so watered down and tasteless I don't even bother with them. So if you go that route keep in mind your going have to manipulate the heck out of it to get any taste
They are not actually watered down at all, the loss of flavor could be the grapes they used were just poor quality or the lack fo skins. But overall they dont add anything to the juice.
 

baron4406

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I did 3 or 4 juice buckets twice a year for about 5 years. This is close to 30 or 40 juice buckets. I finally gave up on them as not one had any flavor or character in it. People even seemed to prefer the wine I made from cheap wine kits. The only juice bucket that seemed to have any kind of taste to it from from Walker's and it was an oddball grape (Noriet) and even that one I added 3 lugs of Cabernet grapes to it.
 

peterseng

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I ordered a bucket of Pinot Noir juice from my LHBS... and THEN stumbled upon this thread. I emailed the LBHS owner to ask if he had any thoughts on how to make the juice into a better wine or if I could get skins as well, and this is how he described the way the juice is processed "grapes crushed, pressed, balanced, (maybe varietal concentrate added if needed) then cold stabilized then put into buckets". He seems to think that no tweaking would be needed in order to make a decent wine (equal to a $12 to $15 bottle according to him). Just figured I'd jump in here and see if any of you have any knowledge of juice processing or any thoughts regarding anything I should do to improve my final product.

I am already planning an MLF (my first time doing that) and also planning to age the wine on oak before bottling.
 

cmason1957

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I ordered a bucket of Pinot Noir juice from my LHBS... and THEN stumbled upon this thread. I emailed the LBHS owner to ask if he had any thoughts on how to make the juice into a better wine or if I could get skins as well, and this is how he described the way the juice is processed "grapes crushed, pressed, balanced, (maybe varietal concentrate added if needed) then cold stabilized then put into buckets". He seems to think that no tweaking would be needed in order to make a decent wine (equal to a $12 to $15 bottle according to him). Just figured I'd jump in here and see if any of you have any knowledge of juice processing or any thoughts regarding anything I should do to improve my final product.

I am already planning an MLF (my first time doing that) and also planning to age the wine on oak before bottling.
For a Pinot Noir, the LHBS owner may well be right. When I think Pinot Noir, I think a lighter, less full-bodied, maybe even fruity wine. He does describe the way the juice is processed correctly, but almost all red wine benefit from the extra chemistry (or maybe it's magic) that takes place while being fermented on the skins. Without skins, I would probably add some oak chips or pre-ferment tannins to the juice bucket to help with color retention. Yeast suggestions (which you didn't ask for, but what the heck), I might go with BM45 or RP15. Here's the words from the morewinemaking manual, which you will want to read, and read, and read:

Pinot Noir:
• AMH: Enhances clove and nutmeg spicy elements, complex with good red fruit flavours and aromas. Colour friendly, some mouthfeel and structure, as well.
• RC212: Ripe berry, bright fruit and spice. More structure than mouthfeel, with good colour retention.• BM45: Big mouthfeel and jam along with some earthy and spicy elements. Good colour stability and helps to minimize vegetative characters.
• RP15 (VQ15): Emphasizes red fruit, along with spice. In addition, colour stability, increased mouthfeel and agreeable tannins are also contributed.
• ICV-GRE: Brings fresh red fruit foreword along with good mouthfeel. Also effective for reducing herbaceous and vegetal notes in under-ripe fruit. Useful as a blending component.
• W15: Normally for German whites, when used in a Pinot W15 will give bright fruit focusing on berry notes as well as contribute mouthfeel.
 
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