Frozen pails of must...are they worth it?

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crushday

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I am strongly considering buying a couple of frozen must pails to compare to various high end wine kits. Looking at a popular frozen must site, each pail costs between $250-400. Shipping would be added to the cost.

Each pail of red grape produces 3.5 gallons of wine, on average. To match the quantity of a wine kit, I'd need two buckets with some finished wine to spare. Considering the cost, I'd be looking at $13-22 a bottle for the wine, not including any shipping. The finished cost of a wine kit is right around the $5-6 mark.

I would start the frozen must, likely a Cab, at the same time with high end kits from WE, RJS, CC and MM.

I'm willing to try this, but looking for honest feedback related to the quality of the finished wine of a frozen must bucket. Is it worth it?
 

cmason1957

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Frozen must should always produce a higher quality end result than a wine kit. But how much better, that's harder to say. I suppose in theory it will be just like starting with crushed grapes, that have had a long cold soak. But it will take more work than a kit. Acid adjustment, mlf, to name two. I always look at the price of the frozen and decide it can't be that much better. But I'm a cheapskate.
 

crushday

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@jsbeckton - thanks for pointing me to the other thread. Although I read lots of great information on that thread, my question really isn't about the differences between fresh grapes vs. frozen. Rather, if the cost of the frozen must has any appreciable effect on the palate compared to high end wine kits.
 

jsbeckton

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@jsbeckton - thanks for pointing me to the other thread. Although I read lots of great information on that thread, my question really isn't about the differences between fresh grapes vs. frozen. Rather, if the cost of the frozen must has any appreciable effect on the palate compared to high end wine kits.
I think the latter half of that thread has some questions if the high cost is due to convenience or superior quality. I haven’t seen anything to lead me to conclude it’s not primarily convenience but I have never actually tried it. Seems there is a fairly limited experience with those buckets on this forum.
 

CDrew

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I think it was @stickman who put up pictures of his Brehm buckets of must, and it was as beautiful as any fresh grape must I have ever seem. The freezing might even help extract some of the color and flavor from the grapeskins.

Here's one: https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/2017-cab-blends.62595/

I would *guess* Brehm frozen must makes a far superior wine to any kit. There would be no concern about odd isomers of organic acids, cooked flavors and/or other added chemicals, and you as the wine maker would have far more control for better or worse.

But your avatar says Pacific Northwest. Just get grapes next year in the Washington wine country. I'll bet you find inexpensive sources that exist there, just like they do here in Norcal.
 

mainshipfred

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I think it was @stickman who put up pictures of his Brehm buckets of must, and it was as beautiful as any fresh grape must I have ever seem. The freezing might even help extract some of the color and flavor from the grapeskins.

Here's one: https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/2017-cab-blends.62595/

I would *guess* Brehm frozen must makes a far superior wine to any kit. There would be no concern about odd isomers of organic acids, cooked flavors and/or other added chemicals, and you as the wine maker would have far more control for better or worse.

But your avatar says Pacific Northwest. Just get grapes next year in the Washington wine country. I'll bet you find inexpensive sources that exist there, just like they do here in Norcal.
I agree, there are a lot of good grape growing regions. The problem is unless you build some kind of relationship with the vineyard or winery they typically don't like to sell to home winemakers.
 

Ajmassa

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I agree, there are a lot of good grape growing regions. The problem is unless you build some kind of relationship with the vineyard or winery they typically don't like to sell to home winemakers.
That other thread was about the benefit of knowing you are buying top quality. Started after selecting supposedly quality grapes that came in less than expected.

Comparing to high end kits is different.
The $5-$6 bottle high end kit vs
The $15-$20 bottle frozen must

Estimating market value- highest end Kit ceiling around $20? Maybe $30 max?
But High end must ceiling theoretically could be 100pts with price of who knows.
*Keeping value ratio equal for the sake of the convo- What are you reaching for 1st:
the $25 wine for $5
Or
The $100 wine for $20?
How bout $50 wine for $20?
 

stickman

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Value is always a question, I guess you have to start by asking yourself what wine would you buy at the store and what would you be willing to pay. I found a few articles (WBM) about wineries using the Caldwell grapes, and they give a little bit of information about their wine making techniques, the resulting wines are not cheap. It still doesn't mean that the grapes or wine deliver value for everyone, my sister can afford more, but rarely spends more than $10/bottle.

Caldwell Wine.png

Dunn Wine.png
Bougetz Eminence Wine.png
 

Ajmassa

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I found a few articles (WBM) about wineries using the Caldwell grapes, and they give a little bit of information about their wine making techniques, the resulting wines are not cheap.
Caldwell is one of the most interesting vineyard/winery’s I’ve read about. They seem much more forthcoming than most, and have quite the history. John Caldwell is a wildman. The “vine smuggler” lol. And gives a hell of an interview. HIGHLY recommend this “The Inside Winemaking Podcast”.
*Disclaimer- more F-bombs than a Scorsese film.


https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-inside-winemaking-podcast-with-jim-duane/id906249753?i=1000392573491
 

stickman

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Yea, I had listened to that interview before, it is funny. Some people in my family vacationed and stayed at Caldwell's and did the private tasting, heard it was very enjoyable.
 

mainshipfred

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I was about to buy 2 pails of a Cab Franc from Brehm. The initial cost of $164.00 per pail plus shipping of $96.00 taking it to $424.00 for at the most 7 gallons of wine. It's just something I can't justify even though I really want a 2019 Cab Franc.
 

crushday

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I was about to buy 2 pails of a Cab Franc from Brehm. The initial cost of $164.00 per pail plus shipping of $96.00 taking it to $424.00 for at the most 7 gallons of wine. It's just something I can't justify even though I really want a 2019 Cab Franc.
Looks like Collinwood Grape Company has 2019 California Cab Franc frozen juice in 6 gallon buckets for $68. Not frozen must, but pressed juice. It's on their retail order form in the "Premium Reserve" column. This might be an option for you...
 

Rice_Guy

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, , , yes frozen buckets are worth it . . . but $13 to $20/bottle. . . WOW. ! !
. . . . each pail costs between $250-400. . . . . Is it worth it?
@manshipfred
Northern Brewer and the local wine toys store will sell a fall crop pre ordered bucket for about $90
There are two Chicago region clubs that will sell a pre ordered fall or spring buckets for about $50.
The local fruit market/banana company is at clean the freezer out season so I am planning on going to visit to check if there are any left over buckets that could be bargained down to $25-30.
, , ,guess I don’t appreciate the need to start wine in January enough.
 

Johnd

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I was about to buy 2 pails of a Cab Franc from Brehm. The initial cost of $164.00 per pail plus shipping of $96.00 taking it to $424.00 for at the most 7 gallons of wine. It's just something I can't justify even though I really want a 2019 Cab Franc.
It’s on the pricey side, and shipping only accentuates the problem, particularly when compared to fresh grapes. I got that amount CF grapes this year for 120 bucks. That said, I made wine at or near that price point for years, only considering the cost per bottle, and 12 bucks a bottle isn’t bad if you compare it to the commercial market and put a little value on the enjoyment you get from the activity. Plus, the Brehm fruit is probably better than most.....
 

mainshipfred

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@crushday and @Rice_Guy, thank you, it's just juice buckets just don't interest me anymore. I've made OK wines with them but nothing compared to using grapes but I do appreciate your recommendations.

@Johnd, I have debated the argument of the value of your time and to me it has no value with a hobby or other interests. You are correct in the value is the enjoyment of the process and hopefully a fine finished wine. I agree Brehm is probably quality product and the extended cold soak can't do anything but help. I just can't bring myself to pay that much.
 

Johnd

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@Johnd, I have debated the argument of the value of your time and to me it has no value with a hobby or other interests. You are correct in the value is the enjoyment of the process and hopefully a fine finished wine. I agree Brehm is probably quality product and the extended cold soak can't do anything but help. I just can't bring myself to pay that much.
Understand precisely where you’re coming from, same rationale I use now that I CAN get fresh CA grapes yearly, and at a great price point. There aren’t options for grapes in S LA like other places in the country, before I had developed a supply chain opportunity, though pricey, it was a good option. It’d be hard for me to do now.
 

mainshipfred

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Understand precisely where you’re coming from, same rationale I use now that I CAN get fresh CA grapes yearly, and at a great price point. There aren’t options for grapes in S LA like other places in the country, before I had developed a supply chain opportunity, though pricey, it was a good option. It’d be hard for me to do now.
I am fortunate to live in a fairly decent wine region and through networking am able to get freshly picked grapes from several vineyards. The other advantage to the networking is similar to you and I am able to get quality fruit from other areas through my contacts, not to mention the local wine making group and local wine grape companies.
 

Chuck E

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Understand precisely where you’re coming from, same rationale I use now that I CAN get fresh CA grapes yearly, and at a great price point. There aren’t options for grapes in S LA like other places in the country, before I had developed a supply chain opportunity, though pricey, it was a good option. It’d be hard for me to do now.
I wonder if you can elaborate on the supply chain development process? Maybe we could work on that in our different geographic areas.
 
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