Getting Ready for Grape Season

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4score

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With grape harvest just around the corner, it's a good time to plan and order your supplies. I placed our order last week and the vendor commented that it's very smart, especially this year, to order way ahead of the crowd. He said there will likely be shortages of "your favorite items" if you wait. That being said, I have our yeast strains on order along with nutrients, enzymes, SO2, bacteria and measurement supplies. Still need an oak chain for a neutral barrel we plan to use. Got our 2021 new American Oak Barrel from Cooperages 1912. Still may need a new pH meter. I believe we have enough Tartaric Acid from last year if needed. Again, finding most things I need from Lodi Wine Labs. The prices there appear lower than many other places and their service is great. Their web page is a little "sensitive" when trying to find things. If you don't search for the item using the right spelling or characters (-), it may not hit. Their SO2 is listed as "Winy (Potassium Metabisulfite - KMBS". CH-16 won't get you a result, but CH16 will. I recommend calling them for the things you can't seem to find.

Planning a lighter season, with only a barrel (each) of Cab and Barbera, but we usually pick up an unplanned project or two along the way!

Cheers!
 

CDrew

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Thinking about vintage 2021 as well. Thanks for the reminder. Planning 3 wines this year, A syrah, a Primitivo and a sauvignon blanc. 15 gallons of each. If there is an opportunity for a Rose, I'd like to do that again as well, but the overall thought is to dial back production a bit.
 

winemaker81

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My 2021 plan was 1 or 2 Rhone-style blends, 15+ gallons of each. However, my local buying group may not work out this fall, so I'm investigating other options, which will change the plan.

One options is shippers in the DC area, although that's a 6 hour drive for me. It's still a better option than the vineyard I purchased from when I lived in NY, as that's an 11 hour drive ....

I contacted the NC and VA grape grower associations, asking if they had lists of vineyards that sell to home winemakers. NC has not responded, but VA offered to post a notice on their members message board. I'll do this is the local buy falls through.

Going with local grapes will probably be a complete change of plans. I'll have to see what Vinifera is available, and am strongly considering doing a Vinifera blend in 1 barrel and a hybrid blend in the other. I haven't made a hybrid in over 20 years (last one was Carmine), and I like the idea. Even if my normal group buy works out, I may post to see if I can get hybrid juice such as Seyval, Vignoles (Ravat 51), and Vidal.

Option 3 is to buy kits to fill the barrels. I have a Finer Wines Barbera on order, which I purchased to get the lifetime discount. If that works well I'm considering ordering 6 kits (varieties TBD) to fill a pair of 54 liter barrels.
 

Cynewulf

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My 2021 plan was 1 or 2 Rhone-style blends, 15+ gallons of each. However, my local buying group may not work out this fall, so I'm investigating other options, which will change the plan.

One options is shippers in the DC area, although that's a 6 hour drive for me. It's still a better option than the vineyard I purchased from when I lived in NY, as that's an 11 hour drive ....

I contacted the NC and VA grape grower associations, asking if they had lists of vineyards that sell to home winemakers. NC has not responded, but VA offered to post a notice on their members message board. I'll do this is the local buy falls through.

Going with local grapes will probably be a complete change of plans. I'll have to see what Vinifera is available, and am strongly considering doing a Vinifera blend in 1 barrel and a hybrid blend in the other. I haven't made a hybrid in over 20 years (last one was Carmine), and I like the idea. Even if my normal group buy works out, I may post to see if I can get hybrid juice such as Seyval, Vignoles (Ravat 51), and Vidal.

Option 3 is to buy kits to fill the barrels. I have a Finer Wines Barbera on order, which I purchased to get the lifetime discount. If that works well I'm considering ordering 6 kits (varieties TBD) to fill a pair of 54 liter barrels.
Have you checked the Virginia Vineyards Association exchange: Grapes for sale ? I keep an eye on them for grapes in case disease wipes everything out from my home vineyard. I’ve written a few that posted grapes for sale and some were willing to sell me home winemaker quantities at the same price ($1.00-$1.20/lb). If you’re looking for 500-600 lbs I reckon they’d be willing to talk.
 

winemaker81

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Have you checked the Virginia Vineyards Association exchange: Grapes for sale ? I keep an eye on them for grapes in case disease wipes everything out from my home vineyard. I’ve written a few that posted grapes for sale and some were willing to sell me home winemaker quantities at the same price ($1.00-$1.20/lb). If you’re looking for 500-600 lbs I reckon they’d be willing to talk.
Cool! Thanks!


EDIT: I have seen that page, but assumed it was focused on commercial growers. My mistake. It makes sense to contract the growers -- the worst they can do is ignore me or say "no".
 
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Cynewulf

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Cool! Thanks!


EDIT: I have seen that page, but assumed it was focused on commercial growers. My mistake. It makes sense to contract the growers -- the worst they can do is ignore me or say "no".
FWIW, I don’t think anyone I’ve reached out to has ignored me. I’ve had mostly yeses or maybes if they’re holding out to sell their whole lot rather than piece it out of they can. One even followed up with me again this year asking if I was looking for grapes.
 

Booty Juice

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FWIW, I don’t think anyone I’ve reached out to has ignored me. I’ve had mostly yeses or maybes if they’re holding out to sell their whole lot rather than piece it out of they can. One even followed up with me again this year asking if I was looking for grapes.
I would underscore this experience. I've blindly approached scores of owners or vineyard managers from the Willamette Valley, Napa /Sonoma, El Dorado / Amador, Paso /SLO / SB - as well as Italy / Slovenia - the willingness to talk and share is pretty much universal. I mean, they love wine as much (more) as we do!
 

Boatboy24

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My 2021 plan was 1 or 2 Rhone-style blends, 15+ gallons of each. However, my local buying group may not work out this fall, so I'm investigating other options, which will change the plan.

One options is shippers in the DC area, although that's a 6 hour drive for me. It's still a better option than the vineyard I purchased from when I lived in NY, as that's an 11 hour drive ....

I contacted the NC and VA grape grower associations, asking if they had lists of vineyards that sell to home winemakers. NC has not responded, but VA offered to post a notice on their members message board. I'll do this is the local buy falls through.

Going with local grapes will probably be a complete change of plans. I'll have to see what Vinifera is available, and am strongly considering doing a Vinifera blend in 1 barrel and a hybrid blend in the other. I haven't made a hybrid in over 20 years (last one was Carmine), and I like the idea. Even if my normal group buy works out, I may post to see if I can get hybrid juice such as Seyval, Vignoles (Ravat 51), and Vidal.

Option 3 is to buy kits to fill the barrels. I have a Finer Wines Barbera on order, which I purchased to get the lifetime discount. If that works well I'm considering ordering 6 kits (varieties TBD) to fill a pair of 54 liter barrels.
If you are willing to make that 6 hour drive, Washington Winemaker's pickup is only about 45 minutes from me and @mainshipfred .
 

winemaker81

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If you are willing to make that 6 hour drive, Washington Winemaker's pickup is only about 45 minutes from me and @mainshipfred .
Fred told me about this one. My brother lives in Ashburn, about 20 minutes from Fred's shop, and I'd use him as a rest stop, so this distance isn't as bad as it may sound on paper.
 

Boatboy24

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I need to hunker down and get to work here in the next few weeks. The WW pricing came out early, and I need to get my order in (the timing of receipt of your order determines how early in the day you can pick up). I also have 6 gallons of 2018 to bottle, along with 26 gallons of 2019 ready to go. Also need to get the 2nd half of 2020 through barrel rotation. I've been a lazy winemaker since Covid hit.
 

Boatboy24

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Sent my order in yesterday. I'm doing 3 single varietals: Malbec, Pinot Noir and Grenache - none of which Lodi is known for, but I'll get what I can get. Already have plenty of Old Vine Zin, so didn't want to make more.
 

Kraffty

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@boatbay24 I'm assuming we end up with grapes from the same or similar source. Our Lodi Zin, Syrah and Pinot from last year are fine but all are light in color. Syrah probably the darkest and best from last year. I'll hopefully send our order this weekend. Pickup in Phoenix set for Sept 12, also Lodi grapes. I have 30 gals. of 4 diff 2020's to bottle labor day weekend with the neighbors helping out. They're throwing in and picking and making their first wines this year under my tutelage (silly folks). I'm going a bit smaller and different this year, varietal Cabernet Sauv. and Grenach Rose from grapes and a Chardonnay from juice bucket. Getting excited again.
 

DizzyIzzy

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I have a home vineyard of Concord grapes which looks like it is going to produce a good crop. (I have never made wine from grapes before) Any recommendations for killing off the wild yeasts occurring naturally on the grapes, OR if that will not even be necessary? Will appreciate any thoughts on the subject...............................DizzyIzzy
 

wood1954

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i put out my homemade wasp traps the other day, need to go thru the vineyard and start pulling any split or rotten grapes before they attract any wasps or ants, i noticed some really tiny ants like a millimeter in length feeding on a rotten berry so need to put out ant poison as well. The fake owl will go out soon. Otherwise i have all my winemaking chems, just waiting for harvest.
 

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