Fresh Grapes From Fine Vine Wines

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Johnd

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My 2017 plan is to make one batch of wine this Fall, a blend with Cab as the predominant component, Merlot and Petite Syrah making up the balance. One new 30 gallon French oak barrel for aging. My normal supply choice is frozen must, which increases my per bottle cost for freezing and shipping, and I'm considering another option, the fresh grapes from FVW.

It's a 7 or 8 hour drive each way, but pretty much knocks my per bottle cost (for must) from $10 to $5 per bottle. Travel cost is immaterial, company truck and gas. I know I can make a fun trip out of it for Melanie, an evening out in Dallas, get grapes and drive back next day. All of that makes perfectly good sense to me.

So here's the question I can't answer, what is this product like from a quality standpoint? Anybody made wine from it in the past? How'd it turn out?
 

Boatboy24

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Haven't used their fresh grapes, but George runs a pretty good operation and seems to have been very successful. I'd have a hard time believing he isn't getting at least a decent quality product. Do you know where the grapes are grown?
 

Johnd

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Haven't used their fresh grapes, but George runs a pretty good operation and seems to have been very successful. I'd have a hard time believing he isn't getting at least a decent quality product. Do you know where the grapes are grown?
No, I don't know the source of the grapes. I definitely agree with you about George / FVW, got my start in winemaking with tons of equipment and lots of great advice from him, still buy lots of stuff there.
 

grapeman

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Ibglowin has used George's grapes so he can probably answer your concerns pretty well.
 

ibglowin

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I seem to recall mentioning my trek there back in 2011 recently with you. Not sure which thread it was now. I know there is a thread on it here with pics. Got close to 800lbs. Got George to C/D them so dropped all that bulk. Loaded up the truck and was home by nightfall. What was fun is that they have every varietal you could want to make an amazing Bordeaux blend.
 

Johnd

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I seem to recall mentioning my trek there back in 2011 recently with you. Not sure which thread it was now. I know there is a thread on it here with pics. Got close to 800lbs. Got George to C/D them so dropped all that bulk. Loaded up the truck and was home by nightfall. What was fun is that they have every varietal you could want to make an amazing Bordeaux blend.
I recalled the travel convo, but not any grape discussions, which doesn't mean we didn't talk about it.........but you've obviously done well with / liked the product.
 

ibglowin

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The trip turned into an episode of Gilligan's Island. What was supposed to be a "3 hour cruise"....... Ended up in not one (as planned) but 3 nights in a hotel. 2 nights in a swanky high rise hotel that took dogs. We had our Golden Retriever "Jack" with us. Then one night in a Hampton or similar. All because the truck did not show up as scheduled. If you recall 2011 was the worst grape harvest ever on the West coast. It was cold and rainy and they still had fruit hanging in Lodi, in mid to late October. Lodi is usually ready to go by the end of August or first few weeks of September it is so hot there. Anyways we were set to supposedly pickup early Saturday morning, and the truck was supposed to arrive Friday night and it never did. I believe it ended up being the trucking company trying to make too many deliveries to too many places on one truck. IIRC the grapes finally showed up on Sunday morning (~1:00AM) when they were supposed to arrive on Friday. George was so mad he swore he would never mess with fresh grapes ever again. He must have switched trucking companies or something because he has still offered fresh grapes every year since.

Here are some pics I found. First pic is of Mrs IB with Jack at a nearby lake, killing time, waiting on the truck...... Pic of me and George, waiting for the truck..... The time stamp on the truck arrival was 12:52AM on Sunday morning, October 30, 2011. There was just enough room in the truck for Me, Mrs IB and Jack. Looking back it was a fun trip (LOL) that we combined with a visit with family in San Antonio for 3 days so not just a dead head trip to DFW to pick up grapes. Jack had a ball in the fancy hotel getting his cookie at the front desk every time we went back to the hotel. He was on his best behavior the whole time. He was our road warrior Golden. Miss him like crazy still to this day. Definitely my "heart dog".

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More Grapes 2.jpg

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Johnd

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Lordy, that's way too much adventure for me. Grapes are supposed to arrive the end of September / early October, so I'll already be missing opening weekend of bowhunting season, late grapes would really sink my ship........
 

NorCal

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We are getting Chardonnay from the Lodi AVA on August 19th. I looked back on my records and we got the same grapes from the same vineyard last year on August 20th. I had heard that this year the grapes were running 1-2 weeks behind last year, but it wasn't in this case.

All the other grapes in our area (Sierra AVA) all came in at once last year in the 3rd week in August.
 

TXWineDuo

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@Johnd
In 2015 we purchased 3 lugs of Cab and 3 of Syrah from George for our small endeavor of fresh grapes and the fruit seemed very good!!
So for 2017 we placed our order for 4 lugs Old Vine Zinfandel, 3 lugs Cab Franc 2 lugs Petite Verdot so we might see y'all there.
How are you planing to keep the grapes cool on your way home? When you say the company truck are you referring to the air conditioned "job boss" trailer too? :D

If y'all make it in Friday, after work we can meet in Grapevine so y'all can taste some Texas Wines at Bingham Family Vineyards tasting room (we're members) and stroll down main street to other tasting rooms.

TXWineDuo
 

Johnd

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@Johnd
In 2015 we purchased 3 lugs of Cab and 3 of Syrah from George for our small endeavor of fresh grapes and the fruit seemed very good!!
So for 2017 we placed our order for 4 lugs Old Vine Zinfandel, 3 lugs Cab Franc 2 lugs Petite Verdot so we might see y'all there.
How are you planing to keep the grapes cool on your way home? When you say the company truck are you referring to the air conditioned "job boss" trailer too? :D

If y'all make it in Friday, after work we can meet in Grapevine so y'all can taste some Texas Wines at Bingham Family Vineyards tasting room (we're members) and stroll down main street to other tasting rooms.

TXWineDuo
My current transport plan is in the back of our SUV, so it'll be air conditioned. The grapes will start off cold, so they'll be pretty cool still after crushing / destemming into Brutes, and will go into the vehicle. Found a couple of places along my route that handle dry ice, so I'll be stopping at one of them to pick some up and will put a properly sized chunk in each Brute for the ride home. The cans will be wrapped to help with condensation / temps, but will also be sitting in the plastic cargo tray just in case. I expect to be able to get them home relatively chilly, do my blending and adjusting, and get the yeast on board.

When we arrive really depends upon when the grapes are scheduled to arrive. We'll be driving in the afternoon / evening before they arrive so we can be there first thing in the morning to crush / destem and get on the road home. When we know what the arrival schedule is, maybe we could plan to meet, strolling and drinking wine is fits my plans perfectly!!
 

Johnd

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Grapes reportedly are still on schedule for pickup in Dallas on September 29th. As of today, other than grapes, all of my supplies are in hand, including this handsome 30 gallon vessel, which arrived at lunchtime. French oak with medium long toast, providing a nice long ride for the fall grapes.

IMG_0911.jpg
 

Boatboy24

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Grapes reportedly are still on schedule for pickup in Dallas on September 29th. As of today, other than grapes, all of my supplies are in hand, including this handsome 30 gallon vessel, which arrived at lunchtime. French oak with medium long toast, providing a nice long ride for the fall grapes.
Damn, that's sexy!! :HB
 

stickman

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Yea, that's really nice. You're going to have a lot of friends when the wine comes out of that barrel!
 

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