Chilean season ahead

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zadvocate

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I know it isnt even January but I enjoy planning.


So I have been contemplating the upcoming Chilean harvest. I have been thinking about doing a Merlot, Syrah, Cab or even Pinot. My question is whether I should do just straight grapes or a bucket and a lug? I have never made wine from a bucket with a lug added. Just looking for what others have done and whether they would do it again. So fruit or juice and some fruit?

Thanks.
 

Johnd

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I know it isnt even January but I enjoy planning.


So I have been contemplating the upcoming Chilean harvest. I have been thinking about doing a Merlot, Syrah, Cab or even Pinot. My question is whether I should do just straight grapes or a bucket and a lug? I have never made wine from a bucket with a lug added. Just looking for what others have done and whether they would do it again. So fruit or juice and some fruit?

Thanks.
I did a bunch last year and purchased grapes from Musto / M&M. They received my grapes (purchased by the lug), crushed and destemmed them into 5 gallon buckets, froze them and shipped them to me. That process worked out great, no problems. It is more costly than getting your grapes fresh and crushing / destemming yourself, but I'm just to far away for that option to be possible.

As far as the raw materials, I did cabernet sauvignon and Malbec, in both cases I felt like the grapes were picked a little soon, low pH's, high TA's, Brix on the lowish side, and more green seeds than I'd like to have seen.

The cab was tasting ok when it went into barrels a few months ago, but I haven't sampled it since it went in. The Malbec is still in glass and hasn't been sampled in a while, but was ok at last tasting as well.

My personal opinion is that if you want a full bodied wine with all of the varietal characteristics of the types you select, buy grapes and ferment them on the skins, I just feel like you lose something when the grapes are pressed and the skins / stems / seeds are left behind. My personal opinion, fwiw.
 

JohnT

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If you like lighter wines, then a bucket/lug combo might work for you.

Like JohnD, I greatly prefer 100% fresh grapes. Gives me all the color and body I like in a wine.
 

ceeaton

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I like the bucket w/lug or lug o' grapes. I'm cash strapped (four kids, two diabetics, one with celiac) and that is a nice way to make a good wine for a reasonable amount of money. Maybe the body is lacking, but I haven't noticed it, just depends on how high you set your expectations I guess.

So for example a Syrah, 6 gallon bucket was $53 last year, lug of grapes (18 lbs) was $28. So for $81 I get a batch that is 6 gallons + plenty for topping, I just can't pass that up. Of course I'll add some Lallzyme, Opti-red, yeast nutrients, tannins, etc, so for less than $100 I get a batch that has far surpassed a kit of a higher price in my limited experience.
 

zadvocate

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I definitely will be added the Lallzyme, opti, ft rouge etc..... I was concerned about it being lighter in color. Your right about cost. I figured I would need about 7 lugs for what I want to do and that would cost between 175-200. Essentially double. The good thing is my wife got me a gift card for my local supplier, for Christmas, so that should cover it.
 

marino

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I like the bucket w/lug or lug o' grapes. I'm cash strapped (four kids, two diabetics, one with celiac) and that is a nice way to make a good wine for a reasonable amount of money. Maybe the body is lacking, but I haven't noticed it, just depends on how high you set your expectations I guess.

So for example a Syrah, 6 gallon bucket was $53 last year, lug of grapes (18 lbs) was $28. So for $81 I get a batch that is 6 gallons + plenty for topping, I just can't pass that up. Of course I'll add some Lallzyme, Opti-red, yeast nutrients, tannins, etc, so for less than $100 I get a batch that has far surpassed a kit of a higher price in my limited experience.

Wow! Where are you getting juice buckets for $53? I can't get them for less than $100. One lug where I buy it costs me at least $40...

I live in MASSACHUSETTS. Anyone got any leads?
 

ceeaton

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Wow! Where are you getting juice buckets for $53? I can't get them for less than $100. One lug where I buy it costs me at least $40...

I live in MASSACHUSETTS. Anyone got any leads?
It would be a bit of a drive for you, but a few of us get them here:

https://harfordvineyard.com/chilean-juices/

@Boatboy24 even has a small testimonial blurb on some of the pages, and I agree with everything he says in the blurb. Good raw materials for sure.
 

dcbrown73

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I want to try wine from fresh grapes, can someone please explain to me a bucket with a lug vs buying grapes have have them crushed de-stemmed into a bucket and fermenting that?

Also, JohnD noted the seeds. I'm guessing you extracted the seeds? If crushed into a bucket that sounds like a painfully manually process.

I suppose I really need to look into the MLF process too. I think I want to do a cab/merlot or even cab/merlot/syrah blend. I really have no idea, but I want to do it!
 

ceeaton

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I want to try wine from fresh grapes, can someone please explain to me a bucket with a lug vs buying grapes have have them crushed de-stemmed into a bucket and fermenting that?

Also, JohnD noted the seeds. I'm guessing you extracted the seeds? If crushed into a bucket that sounds like a painfully manually process.

I suppose I really need to look into the MLF process too. I think I want to do a cab/merlot or even cab/merlot/syrah blend. I really have no idea, but I want to do it!
When we are talking a juice bucket and a lug, it is exactly that. A 6 gallon bucket of juice that we add a lug of crushed grapes (usually in a paint strainer bag of some sort). You can either pay to have the lug de-stemmed and crushed or do it by hand). We ferment and push the grapes in the bag down periodically much like you would press the cap on all crushed grape batches. You are trying to keep the crushed grapes in the bag moist so the yeast can work on their sugars and the skins can hopefully give up some color and tannins. It will add some body and aroma to the juice that comes in the bucket, which at times some complain don't have very much body (I've seen thin and insipid as descriptors before). To press you just squeeze the bag and either throw it away, or keep it, freeze it and add it to a kit to enhance it.

For all grapes, you won't start with any juice except the juice that is produced when you de-stem and crush the grapes. Usually we have the place we get them from do it (they charge I think $25 where we go for any amount you buy from them). They crush them and add them to a bucket you supply (some use a 20 gallon or so brute trash can), you pay for them and take them home. Once home some add Kmeta, wait 12 hours, add an enzyme like Lallazyme EX to help extract some color, then wait another 12 hours, test you acids etc, adjust, pitch yeast (if the temperature has warmed up enough). Then a couple of times a day you punch down the cap that will form to keep all the grapes evenly moist. As fermentation progresses you will get more and more juice extracted from the grapes. Usually when the batch gets below 1.010 (some let it go until the cap doesn't form very well, say 1.000 or below) you need to siphon off the "free run juice", then press the remaining grapes skin matter to extract all the juice.

Those are the basic differences. No worries with the seeds unless they are really green in color or if you crush too hard and break them up, they'll add some bitterness and astringency to the finished wine.

Plenty of threads on here with MLF, which at times teeters on being an art form to get to finish.
 
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dcbrown73

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Oh, so you can't get them in 6/10 gallon buckets? That pretty much ends it for me since I'm currently in an apartment.

It has to be manageable sizes. I saw MUSTO does 18lbs lugs. Since they say 90lbs for six gallons, I figured (3) cab/sauv, (1) merlot, and (1) cab franc as a blend. But if I'm looking at them providing a 20 gallons brute, I can't do that. Hell, I have no way of getting that home!
 

Johnd

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Oh, so you can't get them in 6/10 gallon buckets? That pretty much ends it for me since I'm currently in an apartment.

It has to be manageable sizes. I saw MUSTO does 18lbs lugs. Since they say 90lbs for six gallons, I figured (3) cab/sauv, (1) merlot, and (1) cab franc as a blend. But if I'm looking at them providing a 20 gallons brute, I can't do that. Hell, I have no way of getting that home!
Several places sell frozen must as well, in 5 gallon buckets. You could easily bring home a 5 gallon bucket of frozen must, thaw it, put it in your 7.9 gallon fermenter and make wine. That would produce a little over three gallons of wine. Do two buckets, get 6 gallons and use your carboys for secondary.

If you're doing multiple 5 gallon pails, you can ferment separately and blend later. You could comfortably fit 3 buckets into a 20 gallon Brute. You supply the Brute, dump the must in when it thaws.

Most must suppliers can blend your stuff as well. You could order 3 lugs of cab, 1 Merlot, and 1 CF, have them crushed, destemmed, and frozen into 5 gallon pails and sent to you. Thaw, dump in your Brute 20 and roll on.
 

Boatboy24

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Oh, so you can't get them in 6/10 gallon buckets? That pretty much ends it for me since I'm currently in an apartment.

It has to be manageable sizes. I saw MUSTO does 18lbs lugs. Since they say 90lbs for six gallons, I figured (3) cab/sauv, (1) merlot, and (1) cab franc as a blend. But if I'm looking at them providing a 20 gallons brute, I can't do that. Hell, I have no way of getting that home!
I bring empty 5 or 6 gallon buckets up to my supplier. They crush and destem the grapes there and I bring that home in my buckets. Easy peasy. Once I get home, I transfer them into 20gal Brutes. Yes, you need somewhere to store those Brutes. But otherwise, not much to worry about.
 

ceeaton

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Oh, so you can't get them in 6/10 gallon buckets? That pretty much ends it for me since I'm currently in an apartment.

It has to be manageable sizes. I saw MUSTO does 18lbs lugs. Since they say 90lbs for six gallons, I figured (3) cab/sauv, (1) merlot, and (1) cab franc as a blend. But if I'm looking at them providing a 20 gallons brute, I can't do that. Hell, I have no way of getting that home!
I have used 5 and 6 gallon buckets like Jim has, but decided the 20 gallon brute traveled well in my Corolla. If I can fit a brute in my kitchen, you can. I live in a small rancher (40 ft long vs. normal 42 feet) with four kids. Now I do have a basement, but I tend to do primary fermentation upstairs where it is a bit warmer for reds. Tight squeeze some days, but it is worth it.

BTW, if you do a few seasons of juice buckets you have plenty of buckets to spare.
 

drainsurgeon

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I would really like to try a batch from fresh or frozen juice. I live in northern MN and emailed a half dozen winery's in the central and southern part of the state this fall. Two responded with "huh? what are juice buckets??" Evidently they are not large enough to sell excess produce and use all their grapes for their own variety of wine. Is it possible to get frozen buckets shipped? Also, in the spring (mid April) I travel from central TX back to MN for the summer. Stopping along the way to make a purchase would work but I'm thinking that there is not much available that time of year. Maybe I need to move to a coastal area. :ft
 

Johnd

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I would really like to try a batch from fresh or frozen juice. I live in northern MN and emailed a half dozen winery's in the central and southern part of the state this fall. Two responded with "huh? what are juice buckets??" Evidently they are not large enough to sell excess produce and use all their grapes for their own variety of wine. Is it possible to get frozen buckets shipped? Also, in the spring (mid April) I travel from central TX back to MN for the summer. Stopping along the way to make a purchase would work but I'm thinking that there is not much available that time of year. Maybe I need to move to a coastal area. :ft
The three places I've found that have frozen must and are set up to ship it are Brehm Vineyards, Musto Wine (M&M), and Grapemasters. I've ordered and received frozen must from the first two several times, and will be receiving my first order from Grapemasters first week of 2017 (Spanish Tempranillo and Merlot). Of the three, Brehm has by far the largest selection of frozen must, two locations they ship from, and various size options (5 gallons, drums, and totes).
 

brewbush

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I recommend winegrapesdirect for frozen must

Significantly cheaper then brehms especially with their shipping which I think is too high. They charge for shipping and an additional price for their frozen pail box.
 

Johnd

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I recommend winegrapesdirect for frozen must

Significantly cheaper then brehms especially with their shipping which I think is too high. They charge for shipping and an additional price for their frozen pail box.
I don't know of winegrapesdirect, thanks for posting, gonna put them on my list! Yes Brehm is a little pricier, but they normally have a really good selection and good quality stuff.
 

marino

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Yeah, ive been thinking of winegrapesdirect, but was really interested in trying a $53 bucket, which is considerably less than WGD
 

chefken

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Another option for grapes is Collinwood Grape Company. They simply froze a couple of juice pails and crushed, destemed grapes and froze those also. No fuss no mess. Easy
 

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