Easing into grapes

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crushday

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I was notified this week that the three Tempranillo kits (WE LE2019) I ordered are on their way. Nice. Since they don’t come with skins and, in an effort to ease into making wine from grapes, I ordered a frozen pail of Tempranillo grapes from Brehm.

My plan is to split the frozen must into thirds and add that to each of the kits, making sure that an equal proportion of the skins gets to each 7.9 gallon fermenter. I’m sure this idea will be both celebrated and challenged - mostly challenged.

For you grape guys, what do I use to crush the grapes in the bucket? And, feel free to tell me how dumb of an idea this is...
 

jsbeckton

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Don’t see any issues with this as a lot of people reuse pressed skins. Only concern might be throwing the kit acids off balance.

Never had a Brehm bucket but thought they were already crushed and destemmed?
 

CDrew

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It might be more interesting to do the frozen must all the way through, and compare to the kits in the end. But I see you are trying to elevate the kits, so that's fine too.

In any case, I can only see the grapes as improving your effort.

You don't need to press until the end of fermentation, and for just 1 bucket you could use a home made bucket press made from 3 buckets.

But why not throw it all in 1 30 gallon fermentor (like a Brute or similar) do primary fermentation and then split it up into carboys. That to me would be much easier, and 100% satisfactory and more realistic if you're on the way to all grape wine making.
 

crushday

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It might be more interesting to do the frozen must all the way through, and compare to the kits in the end. But I see you are trying to elevate the kits, so that's fine too.

In any case, I can only see the grapes as improving your effort.

You don't need to press until the end of fermentation, and for just 1 bucket you could use a home made bucket press made from 3 buckets.

But why not throw it all in 1 30 gallon fermentor (like a Brute or similar) do primary fermentation and then split it up into carboys. That to me would be much easier, and 100% satisfactory and more realistic if you're on the way to all grape wine making.
I’m liking this more and more. Although I don’t have a brute, I could get one. And, I do have a 1 gallon fruit press that I use currently to press the skin packs when I do make kits. Great idea...

Question: how do you rack from fermenter to carboy? I suppose via a pump?
 
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Boatboy24

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Those Brehm buckets aren't cheap and I'd be tempted to just ferment it on its own. But if you wanted to add to a kit, I'd recommend @CDrew 's approach. To simplify, you could go to your local big box store and grab some paint strainer bags. Ferment with the grapes in those bags. Then to 'press', all you need to do is take them out and squeeze them by hand.

Going from fermenter to carboy, I use a pump. If that isn't an option, just make sure you elevate the fermenter somehow so you can use gravity.
 

CDrew

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For me, fermenter to carboy is easy. After fermentation, everything goes in the press, the new wine is collected in a bucket and a giant funnel is used to get it into carboys and intellitanks. That very first racking off the press has so much oxygen already that you are not adding more with pouring it into a carboy. Plus, that exposure is said to be beneficial in initially softening the tannins of the new wine. Usually the wine is still fermenting a bit at that point too, and thus still producing CO2. Anyway, it works perfectly well and no pump needed.

I kind of show it in the pics starting on post 65 here:

https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/vintage-2019.70012/page-4

After the initial press/carboy thing, then I use vacuum racking from then on.

Good luck. With your degree of dedication, I see grape wine making being a big success for you.
 
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bluecrab

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I’ll piggyback off the suggestions above. You have an opportunity to compare Brehm to kits. Why not ferment the Brehm to completion and age the free-run separately. Then, take the unpressed skins and ferment the kits on them. I think that might give you the best of both worlds. Whatever you choose to do will be interesting. Keep us posted.
 

crushday

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I’ll piggyback off the suggestions above. You have an opportunity to compare Brehm to kits. Why not ferment the Brehm to completion and age the free-run separately. Then, take the unpressed skins and ferment the kits on them. I think that might give you the best of both worlds. Whatever you choose to do will be interesting. Keep us posted.
Man, I love this forum site. Thank you to everyone who has weighed in on this project. Here’s what I’m going to do. I like the comparative opportunity afforded to me and the bonus of using the grape skins for the kits after the frozen must is pressed after primary. However, my whole system is set up for 6 gallon minimums. One bucket isn’t going to give me enough finished wine to age in the carboys/barrels I have. To get a true comparison, I’ll want to age the same amount of time, first in glass and transfer to a barrel before bottling. So, I’ll buy a second frozen must pail when Brehm calls to give me my shipping quote.

Here are the numbers on the Tempranillo must:

Pail 18UVT (22.9 Brix, 5.9 TA, 3.43 pH, 211 YAN)

I’ll want to do a MLF after it’s pressed right? First timer here... What bacteria is recommended? When to add?

This will be super fun...
 
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crushday

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I’ll post back after I get everything started in January.
 

CDrew

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I’ll want to do a MLF after it’s pressed right? First timer here... What bacteria is recommended? When to add?

This will be super fun...
Consider doing a co-innoculated MLF. Lots of discussion here and lots of success reported. My co-inoculation method is to add the bacteria as soon as the must forms a cap the first time. I've used CH16 for 3 years and have not had any issues. VP41 is reported to do well too. I've never used it, but would given what's reported here.

You can also do a sequential MLF but that's more work, and takes longer.

Based on the Brix do you intend to chapitalize the must to Brix 24-25?

Interested to hear what you do.
 

Rice_Guy

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For you grape guys, what do I use to crush the grapes in the bucket? And, feel free to tell me how dumb of an idea this is...
On your first pail you could crush with a potato masher, run roughly a quart at a time in a flat bottom kettle or ice cream pail.
 

crushday

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It's a good idea. Here's what I'm planning right now, but first a listing of the inventory:

2 Brehm Tempranillo buckets
3 WE LE19 Tempranillo kits
Additive Pack for Brehm Frozen Fruit (Reds) - ordered from Morewinemaking.com
VRB yeast
Dry Malolactic Bacteria - Viniflora CH16
Lallzyme EX-V
Tannin Riche Extra (18 g)

I'm going to make all five at once but keep the LE19 and Brehm buckets separate. From one of the buckets, I'm going to scoop out a reasonable amount of the skins, press them with my fruit press and add the skins to the kit batch and add the pressed juice to the Brehm buckets.

I'll perform a 24 hour cold soak on the Brehm batch using the right amount of the EX-V, understanding that a little goes a long way. I'll be mashing the Brehm bucket a couple times during this period.

I'll use the additive pack from MoreWine in the Brehm batch, as per package instructions.

I'll pitch the VRB in both batches and 24 hours later pitch the CH16 as a co-inoculation on the Brehm only. Punch downs will be twice a day, according to my normal practice.

I will not be doing a EM on either batch but follow generally excepted wine making practices. Both will be bulk aged for a minimum of 12 months and barrel aged the same amount of time in 6 gallon barrels.

All of this will commence on Wednesday this week. A little nervous...
 

stickman

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The Brehm fruit is already crushed and destemmed, so no need to "mash" unless that's something specific to accomplishing your style. The thawing process takes around 2 to 3 days depending on the ambient temperature, though in your case it may depend also on the shipping process. To some extent, with the freezing and thawing process, you get a cold soak whether you want it or not.
 

cmason1957

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I'm not sure I would mix the kit juice in with the straight from grapes. Kits are already at the expected ta, pH for the style of the kit. That may well not be the style you want. That plus the age old admonition to not put a kit through mlf, the malic acid used to backhand the kit may or may not be synthesized by the Malolactic Bacteria.
 

Rocky

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Question: how do you rack from fermenter to carboy? I suppose via a pump?[/QUOTE]

This is something I have on all my fermenters and it is no problem to use.

https://labelpeelers.com/vintage-shop-1-2-inch-bottling-spigot/

I have it on 10, 20 and 32 gallon fermenters and all of my 7.9 gallon buckets. Easy to install with a spade bit hole in the fermenter, easy to clean and sanitize. I have my fermenters on a table about 3 feet off the floor, position the carboys under the spigot (may need a length of hose) and fill from there. If I have grape skins either loose or in a bag, I remove them before opening the spigot.
 

crushday

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1/10/2020, 7:45am It has begun. I opened up the buckets this morning to see how much was thawed. To my surprise they were 99% thawed. A little ice in the very center that mixed right in. I put the buckets in my fermenting room at 75 degrees 22 hours ago. They were shipped from Portland, Oregon only a 2 hour drive from my house. They were frozen solid when they arrived.

Getting the lids off was actually a challenge. I guess I need to lift weights if I'm going to be much more of this. I added Lallzyme EX-V as per the instructions. Tonight, or in 8-10 hours, I'll add the Opti-Red and FT Rouge tannin.

1/10/2020, 12:30pm I came home for lunch and dropped my tilt hydrometer in the must. It too think with the skins to measure the gravity but the temp is 47 degrees. I did take refractometer measurement and it measures 23.1 (brix). I held it up to light in my shop as it's raining to Biblical proportions today and didn't want too get wet.

1/10/2020, 7pm Added Opti-Red and Tannin FT Rouge, temp is 56 degrees. Tomorrow morning, if temp is 70+, I’ll add the yeast.
 
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CDrew

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If the must is still cold, you might wait 24 hours for the EX-V to do it's magic before you add the Tannin and risk precipitating the enzymes. Fermentation is going to take a bit of time to start if cold anyway.

I've got to look up the VRB yeast. Can't wait to hear how this goes. MoreWine says Spanish and perfect for Tempranillo!

Did you end up getting a fermenter Brute or something else?
 

crushday

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Did you end up getting a fermenter Brute or something else?
Thanks for the direction. Tonight I'm going to check the must temperature, do a hydrometer reading and ascertain next steps. Based on temp, maybe pitch the yeast (VRB).

To answer the question on the Brute. I couldn't find a food grade brute locally. So, my plan is to ferment each bucket separately and after the press add the juice to my conical fermentor(s) for secondary. Each fermentor will hold a maximum of 8 gallons of juice so I hope I can get by using just one. If not, I'll split.
 
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