Crushing and cleaning grapes yourself vs. Crushing-destemming at grape purchase

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pcorbell91

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Hello,

I am relatively new to home winemaking and was curious what this community thought about employing the crushing-destemming services of the grape providers vs. crushing and cleaning the grapes at home. My only concern is that there are a lot of leaves and debris/insects in the grape lugs that make their way into the must.

Do members of this community crush at home? If so, how to you prevent the stems from making their way into the must?
Also, do you wash grapes before crushing at home? I intend to use a yeast like an EC-1118 and not a wild yeast.

Thanks and look forward to hearing your replies!
Phil
 

salcoco

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you answered the question your self. if you are concerned about other than grapes entering the must crush at home. washing the grapes again is personal choice. you will be washing off wild yeast but that does not seem a concern go ahead crush at home and wash the grapes
 

pcorbell91

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you answered the question your self. if you are concerned about other than grapes entering the must crush at home. washing the grapes again is personal choice. you will be washing off wild yeast but that does not seem a concern go ahead crush at home and wash the grapes
Thanks salcoco,
I guess I'm not all that familiar with other winemakers practices and wanted to get a sense of what the community does!
 

salcoco

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what you suggest is not unwarranted many people do it. besides it is your grapes what you propose will make the wine better and certainly ease you concerns. go for it.
 

balatonwine

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Do members of this community crush at home? If so, how to you prevent the stems from making their way into the must?
If one is processing a very small amount, and so it is not economical to have a crusher-destemmer, then one can simply run one's hand through the must and remove stems and leaves.

Also, do you wash grapes before crushing at home?
Some do indeed wash grapes. Mostly to remove visible debris. But the water you use may also introduce different microbes to your grapes which you will not see and may not want. If you get municipality water, then the water is probably very clean, versus say from a well, but the outlet on your faucet probably isn't that clean and probably has an active microbial ecosystem you may want to avoid applying directly to your grapes. 😉


debris/insects
Just as a side note, they are indeed your grapes, and you can process them as you wish. But, FWIIW, there is a surprising amount of debris, insect parts, and other.... things.... in food you buy daily. 🤢

 

Snafflebit

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I manually pick out the stems and jacks that I see after destemming. There really is no other way to do it, in a home setting.
Sometimes commercial lugs will have a lot of sulfur on the grapes. I would wash those grapes, but otherwise I suggest never washing grapes.
 

NorCal

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I mostly purchase my grapes in bulk, sort out any bad clusters and MOG (matter other than grapes) prior to going into the crusher, then remove as much green matter that gets through the destemmer. I have also enjoyed the convenience of being able to use an on-site crusher, saving the time of set-up / clean-up of the destemmer. In either case, I would want to see the condition of the fruit prior to crush, because once it is crushed it is hard to guage the quality of the fruit you started with.
 

DizzyIzzy

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Hello,

I am relatively new to home winemaking and was curious what this community thought about employing the crushing-destemming services of the grape providers vs. crushing and cleaning the grapes at home. My only concern is that there are a lot of leaves and debris/insects in the grape lugs that make their way into the must.

Do members of this community crush at home? If so, how to you prevent the stems from making their way into the must?
Also, do you wash grapes before crushing at home? I intend to use a yeast like an EC-1118 and not a wild yeast.

Thanks and look forward to hearing your replies!
Phil
Just this past week I had my first try at using 46 lbs. of my own Concord grapes from a very old vine I planted about 20 years ago. The process I used was to wash the grapes in cold water, remove the stems and place grapes in a fine mesh bag. I have been squeezing the bag daily pinching every single one of those darn grapes and turning it into mush. It is a beautiful dark purple color and is foaming and fermenting beautifully. I, too, used EC-1118 yeast. Good luck with your venture. I am hoping that my wine turns out to be as wonderfully tasting as it smells...................................................DizzyIzzy
 

Neb Farmer

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In the past I have had my grapes crushed/destemmed and later pressed at my suppliers site, which was great that they did offer that service, but it was always a concern to transport gallons of must/liquid back home. It is much easier to transport lugs of grapes than buckets/brutes of juice, so eventually I purchased a crusher/destemmer and a bladder press for myself , which mean't that I had the equipment available at home, at my time convience ( no appointment required! ) and ready when my grapes were ready. Yes, it cost a little money to do this, but it has made harvest and pressing time so much easier! I am extremely happy and have no regrets at all in doing so.

If I were only making a gallon or two, I would probably destem by hand and crush/press in a cheescloth bag, inside of a plastic bucket fermenter.
 

pcorbell91

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I appreciate all the replies for this community, I will not be washing my grapes to prevent introduction of external microbes and in fear of diluting the brix of the must. I will also have the supplier crush and destem the lugs, as I will be doing approximately 15 cases and the labour of picking out the stems would be quite tiresome.
 

Obbnw

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I grow my own and pick 50 to 100lbs at a time and destem by hand. It's kind of relaxing sitting out back destemming.

It is sticky though and 100 lbs by yourself does get tedious.

I do get to be as carefully as I want and do pick out the bugs.

This year I sprayed down the vines before I picked to wash off most of the spiders and bugs.

Seemed to work.

Wasn't worried about bacteria etc since I've been watering them all summer...
 

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