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JamesGrape

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next month I want to order equipment to make larger quantities of wine from grapes - larger than my current carboy quantities. I hope to get some feedback from peeps who have traveled this road before me.

Background:

I’m going to initially set up this stuff in a large heated garage in an area with a cold winter climate (a vacation home), with winter temps below zero F and summer temps approach 90 F. One short-term challenge I have is that the location is a 2-hour flight from my current residence, so I don’t plan to use barrels or flex tanks yet due the need for more active SO2 management with that kind of strorage. On the plus side - I always like to go there and having more legit reasons to make trips there is not a bad thing. I just need to balance other responsibilities (son in high school - etc.). I also need to use storage options that allow me to move things around. I can vary the winter heat in the garage but I can’t cool it in the summer - so I probably need to move things into a basement before summer where I can lower the temp with a/c. My son graduates a year from now - so I think of this fall as a test run for wine making there, and next year I think I can spend as much time there as I wish. I have 150+ “friends” there, so can I burn through pretty large quantities of drinkable wine if I wish. I’m thinking to set up for 1 ton of grapes (150 gallons), even if I order a smaller quantity.

Here is what I think I need to order to get through fermentation to storage (not worried about bottling yet).

Equipment order:

Crusher-destemmer

5 44-gallon Brute fermenters filled to 30 gallons of must - let’s me move them around and use different yeasts. And to ferment different varietals if I wish.

Punch down tool.

Bladder Press - 40 liter (or 90?).

2 variable volume stainless tanks - 400 liter each.

Dollies for the brutes and tanks. I’ll probably fabricate a dolly for the crusher distemmer.

I don’t plan to use a transfer pump yet, I’ll just use scoops and buckets until I figure out the logistics of this garage/basement mid-micro setup.

Chest freezer for general use and to save skins while not invading the wife’s kitchen. Yeats, etc can go into Tupperware and into her fridge.

I already have or will get the typical items for testing, ingredients/additives/adjuncts, sanitizing, folding tables, etc.

I expect this undertaking to be a lot of physical work for one guy. But I’m one of those guys who can work 7 days a week as long as I only work 1/2 days. 12 hours is half a day, right?

Are there any glaring ommissions in the above? Many thanks.
 

JohnT

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You need to keep in mind the weight you are dealing with.

A full 400 liter tank will weight well in excess of 400 pounds. This is a lot of fluid, a lot of weight, and a think SS wall. In other words, I would not advise moving them when full.

In light of that, two 400 liter tanks without a transfer pump?? You must be in great physical condition!

I would double up on the brutes and only fill them half way. 30 gallons of must will probably weight close to 200 pounds. I would definitely cut that in half if you plan to move them.

Why not consider simply putting everything in the basement? Warm in the winter and cool in the summer!
 

JamesGrape

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Thanks JohnT.

I appreciate the warning about the weight. The reason for working in the garage is for access to wash-down and sanitizing set ups - and keeping the fermentation aromas and spillage in the garage - and marital harmony :). My wife likes the wine-making and works with me when she can, but she likes her house even more.

I could start with the ss tanks downstairs (after sanitizing them in the garage) and leave the fermentation and press in the garage. Then I could move brutes of maneagable weights downstairs at press, and xfer to the tanks. If I can roll things around I have a relatively easy way to get even heavy items downstairs.

I can bring samples up to the garage for testing. Then if just have some clean shiny tanks in the house that we taste from, while everything else is cleaned up and put away in the garage - I’ll have a happy wife and a happy life :)
 

stickman

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I'm with @JohnT, I don't know what arrangement you have, but moving those tanks around, even empty, is likely to cause damage to something, the tanks, your walls, your back.....
I do the primary ferment and pressing in the garage, then the racking from the gross lees goes from the garage to the tanks in the basement. I've got a 1" polyethylene line that allows transfer via gravity. I can also just use pails to transfer to the basement depending on batch size.
 

JamesGrape

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Thanks stickman. I won’t move the tanks unless they are empty. I need to get comfortable with the idea of a transfer thru a hose - either gravity or pump. For me it might take 150’ feet of hose due to a long horizontal distance.
 

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