Fresh Chilean juice just arrived, on a U-Haul and banged up...

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

TemperanceOwl

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
207
Reaction score
72
I ordered 6 lugs of Chilean Carmenere, crushed, destemmed and frozen into two pails, and one 6 gallon pail of frozen Chilean Cab/Merlot juice blend from a supplier in Ohio. The plan was to ferment the grapes to 1.000 SG or so, rack the Carmenere wine off into glass, and then put the Cab/Merlot juice over the skins and seeds and start its fermentation to give it some complexity and body.

The 3 pails arrived Friday, in rough shape. They had been shipped inside plastic bags in cardboard boxes, but only one box was still with them, and it was torn and appeared to have road rash. The two grape buckets were in good shape, and I went ahead and got them started Friday night... they were already thawed out, and it only took a couple of hours for them to come up to 65F.

The juice bucket, though was bashed in and is in the shape of Toblerone candy (triangular). The lid is still on and it doesn't appear to have leaked, but has obviously been through something. I haven't opened it to check the temperature, but it was completely melted when it arrived... come to think of it, it wasn't even noticeably cold to the touch.

My guess is that the FedEx truck was in a wreck and my stuff was tossed around, and maybe even skidded down the highway causing the damage, and that's why it arrived on a U-Haul and in such bad shape.

Would you use it or be afraid of it?

There's no way I can open the lid to check the conditions inside without spilling a lot of it, so I went ahead yesterday and filed a claim with FedEx, but then learned that only the sender can settle the claim. So I contacted the merchant and gave him the claim number, and asked him to only bill me for the 2 grape pails and their shipping, and for him to collect the rest from FedEx.

He responded by suggesting that I open the 2" cap in the lid and siphon it into another bucket and go ahead and use it, but I'm just not sure how I feel about that idea, not knowing what the juice has been through.

What do you think? Insist on FedEx making it good, or go ahead and use it later this week when the Carmenere comes off the skins like I'd planned? Thanks!!IMG_4419.jpg
IMG_4427.jpg IMG_4424.jpgIMG_4425.jpgIMG_4427.jpg
 

TemperanceOwl

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
207
Reaction score
72
Oh, the juice has been in the fridge since it arrived, probably 35-40 F.
 

Johnd

Large Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,026
Reaction score
5,659
Location
S Louisiana
Go ahead and give it a shot, if it wasn’t busted open and didn’t leak, it should be fine. As much as that side is pushed in, sure seems like something should’ve squirted out of there........
 

jburtner

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
554
Reaction score
343
I’d go ahead and open the case with fed ex and look to not pay for it. There was obvious significant mishandling. That being said I’d also use it as planned if viable.

-jb
 

TemperanceOwl

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
207
Reaction score
72
Thanks, Johnd and Jburtner. Your two answers are exactly the ones I've been waffling between! :)
 

Jal5

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2017
Messages
409
Reaction score
178
As misshaped as that pail is now I cannot believe that quite a bit hasn't leaked out. I would try the claim with fed ex since it was certainly mishandled and still try to use the juice.
 

CK55

Banned
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
710
Reaction score
154
Holy crap that is hard to do to a bucket. I wouldnt doubt it was in a crash lol.
 

stickman

Veteran Winemaker
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
1,449
Reaction score
1,240
When you freeze the juice in a sealed pail, the ice expansion can force air out of the pail, then as the juice thaws, the contraction back to the original volume sometimes causes the pail to collapse. That's a sign of a good seal, as air could not get back into the pail. As long as nothing leaked out it should be ok. I assume that's 5 gallons of juice in a 6 gallon pail.
 
Last edited:

pillswoj

Canadian Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
452
Reaction score
237
Stickman has the correct answer, there is no amount of mishandling that would do that to a pail without it bursting open.
 

Zintrigue

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2015
Messages
242
Reaction score
93
Location
California
When you freeze the juice in a sealed pail, the ice expansion can force air out of the pail, then as the juice thaws, the contraction back to the original volume sometimes causes the pail to collapse. That's a sign of a good seal, as air could not get back into the pail. As long as nothing leaked out it should be ok. I assume that's 5 gallons of juice in a 6 gallon pail.
This. It just looks like it got warm and went up and down in elevation, to me. I live on a mountain side, my water bottles all do this just going to the grocery store on cold mornings. I'm no scientist but I can't see why a pail wouldn't suffer the same fate when subjected to more extreme temps/elevations. Can you just toss some kmeta in it and wait a day to rule out the chance of spoilage? Either case, good luck to you, sounds like you had a great plan.
 

TemperanceOwl

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
207
Reaction score
72
Thanks, everyone. The freeze/thaw explanation might be it... but the one surviving cardboard shipping box had obvious road rash. :) The other three boxes didn't make it.
But, whatever the cause, I have started it and it smells good and is going gang-busters. I hope it turns out well.
 

jburtner

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
554
Reaction score
343
Yeah this is a strange tale. And it arrived in a uhaul? Cardboard boxes missing? Wine ok. Just bizarre...

Your fedex delivery driver was like the maytag repair man sorta. Certainly on a mission and you now have your juice and must.

There’s gotta be a cool name in there for this batch. Road Rash Red? Maybe something more inviting :)

Just think of these grapes journey that started in chile. I am amazed :) where will they end up across the globe in the coming years?

Destined for grape things.

Will be following the rest of their journey through ferment aging and into bottles sent far and wide and eventually globes of glass swirled swished and swallowed :)

Cheers!
-johann
 

TemperanceOwl

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
207
Reaction score
72
Yeah this is a strange tale. And it arrived in a uhaul? Cardboard boxes missing? Wine ok. Just bizarre...

Your fedex delivery driver was like the maytag repair man sorta. Certainly on a mission and you now have your juice and must.

There’s gotta be a cool name in there for this batch. Road Rash Red? Maybe something more inviting :)

Just think of these grapes journey that started in chile. I am amazed :) where will they end up across the globe in the coming years?

Destined for grape things.

Will be following the rest of their journey through ferment aging and into bottles sent far and wide and eventually globes of glass swirled swished and swallowed :)

Cheers!
-johann
Johann, I love your name "Road Rash Red"! That's great. I can see a cartoon image of a big burly red haired Harley looking guy on my label, with a few scrapes and bruises.

That is pretty cool to think of their journey. And they're finally here in my kitchen.

Got the Carmenere lightly pressed and transferred into a carboy yesterday, and the skins over into the juice. I just noticed this morning that there are quite a few un-crushed grapes in there. I wonder if I should squish them with a potato masher to get the rest of the goody out of them, or if that would promote bitterness at this point.

I co-fermented the grape batch with EC1118/RC212, and MLF bacteria CH16.
I started the juice batch Wednesday with EC1118/RC212, and intend for the MLF population in the skins to go to work in the juice. Unfortunately, the refractometer I'd borrowed from a friend lied to me and I thought the grapes were stuck at 1.030, but I tested with the hydrometer after transferring yesterday and it was already at 1.002. There is no airlock activity at all today. I hope it won't suffer from so much air exposure yesterday and with no KMeta (due to the MLF).

Nell
 

TemperanceOwl

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
207
Reaction score
72
My Chilean Carmenere has been under airlock and undergoing MLF for 2 full months now. I just tasted it and it is still VERY fizzy, and tart, with a sort of stem and seed flavor. :( I've seen other folks say MLF should take 4-6 weeks (6 gallons). I don't have testing equipment for MLF, and the lady at PIWine told me when I bought the culture to just taste it after a month or so and if I love it, go ahead and rack and sulfite. After 2 months, I still don't love it. Not sure what's going on.
Do y'all have any ideas? Since it's so fizzy could it still be undergoing MLF after 2 months? Should I go ahead and rack and sulfite just to protect it and hope aging helps? This is my first all grape experiment and so far I'm not very happy with how it's turning out.
 

CK55

Banned
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
710
Reaction score
154
My Chilean Carmenere has been under airlock and undergoing MLF for 2 full months now. I just tasted it and it is still VERY fizzy, and tart, with a sort of stem and seed flavor. :( I've seen other folks say MLF should take 4-6 weeks (6 gallons). I don't have testing equipment for MLF, and the lady at PIWine told me when I bought the culture to just taste it after a month or so and if I love it, go ahead and rack and sulfite. After 2 months, I still don't love it. Not sure what's going on.
Do y'all have any ideas? Since it's so fizzy could it still be undergoing MLF after 2 months? Should I go ahead and rack and sulfite just to protect it and hope aging helps? This is my first all grape experiment and so far I'm not very happy with how it's turning out.
Wine doesn't normally taste good untill it's had some aging time. It can go from awful to amazing.
 

TemperanceOwl

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
207
Reaction score
72
Wine doesn't normally taste good untill it's had some aging time. It can go from awful to amazing.
Well, that's true. I've just never had a wine kit taste this rough at this point. Maybe I just don't know what to expect with fresh grapes.
 

pgentile

Still learning
Joined
Apr 7, 2015
Messages
1,086
Reaction score
865
My Chilean Carmenere has been under airlock and undergoing MLF for 2 full months now. I just tasted it and it is still VERY fizzy, and tart, with a sort of stem and seed flavor. :( I've seen other folks say MLF should take 4-6 weeks (6 gallons). I don't have testing equipment for MLF, and the lady at PIWine told me when I bought the culture to just taste it after a month or so and if I love it, go ahead and rack and sulfite. After 2 months, I still don't love it. Not sure what's going on.
Do y'all have any ideas? Since it's so fizzy could it still be undergoing MLF after 2 months? Should I go ahead and rack and sulfite just to protect it and hope aging helps? This is my first all grape experiment and so far I'm not very happy with how it's turning out.
It's probably still going through MLF and it hasn't had time to degass from AF. Like CK55 said, give it some more time. Check in another 30 days.
 
2

Latest posts

Group Builder
Top