Going big on first grape wine attempt

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Junior Member
Feb 26, 2013
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I have dabbled with fermentation for a long time, in the 80's I was making a little beer, I have done some wine from berries, made some skeeter pee, hard cider...... I certainly dont call myself a wine maker.

4 years ago I planted a little 320 plant vineyard. This is my first harvest. I would have liked to have just sold all the grapes to a winery but I didnt pursue a buyer very hard as I didnt know if I was going to ever get a grape to ripen and not rot or be taken out by bugs or disease. As it turns out my green thumb did well and I harvested a few grapes this year. The vineyard was pretty healthy all summer, I did have a potassium deficiency show on the leaves, I think I can remedy that pretty easy next year. First picking was more than I would have guessed.

I didnt get a pic when I had 8 barrels ready for the crusher destemmer on Sunday, I borrowed a crusher destemmer from the neighbor. Mostly pinot gris, but I had 2.5 barrels of pinot noir. I would have had a lot more Noirs but the birds must have eaten 2 barrels in 2 days. Going to be ready for them when they show up next year. :gb I dont have a scale capable of weighing the grapes, but I am guessing I had about a ton of grapes when we started. Those slightly cut down 55 gallon food grade barrels I am guessing weighed about 250 lbs each when filled.

I had a long time highly skilled beer making buddy come by as he wanted to take a shot at making wine for the first time. We ran the grapes thru the crusher destemmer pretty quick. He took 30 gallons of juice home and left me the rest. I have almost 30 gallons of pinot gris in the primary. I did sell 6 gallons to a guy which will help pay for the spray next year.

Since taking that last pic on day one, I have racked the wine off the sediments in the bottom and it is bubbling away right now.

I have about 22 gallons of pinot noir in a must in the primary

I didnt get all the grapes picked before our crush day on Sunday, and I picked them Tuesday after work and got two more barrels of grapes. I ran them thru the crusher last night and ended up with another 20 gallons of pinot gris which I may just put in gallon jugs and freeze for grape juice to drink. After running them thru the crusher, I ran them thru my cider press. This morning I had a fair amount of sediments in the bottom, I will get it racked off soon.

Dont really know what I am doing, but I am doing it. Got some instructions and we are following the process. Seems pretty easy for the most part. I plan to pitch my yeast on the noir tomorrow. They have been sitting in the barrel with a big bag of ice in the must this week as I go thru the cold soak stage.

I am more into grape growing than wine making, I havent had a taste of wine in at least 2 or 3 years, it just isnt something I drink but figure it will make good trading stock or favor repaying when I get it bottled, .....if it turns out. I learned a lot this year with my first harvest, I didnt quite get a brix of 22, I left to much fruit on the vine and should have dropped a little more off my young plants. I have a reference point for next year on what I can and cant do.

Wish me luck in the wine making end of this venture


Senior Member
Aug 16, 2015
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Looks good a little vinyard with 320 vines wow!!!!!! I have a nano vinyard in comparison with 26 vines. I hope to get 7-9 cases of wine when in full production. You may have A LOT of trading stock in your future