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grape pails from midwest supplies

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I just pulled the trigger on a frozen grape pail from midwest supplies, it is a Syrah. I wanted to get some experience making wine from grapes, and I thought this might be a good way to start. The website says 2 pails will be enough for 6+ gallons of wine, so I bought one since I generally do 3 gallon batches.

Anyone ever did one of these and have any tips or things to watch out for?

I went ahead and bought the additive pack for 8 bucks extra since it contains the MLF packet which is $7.95 by itself. Yeast, oak, finings, all in there as well.
 

Racer

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Those frozen grapes from midwest are Brehm's. Midwest bought all the inventory of the company(name escapes me right now) that was trying to sell you their expensive winemaking machine. They sourced all their grapes they wanted you to buy from them from Brehm's. When they went bust midwest found out about their grape inventory and bought it all at a good price. Should make some really good wine from it, the quality should be there.
 

Wade E

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That is the best brand out there so you have a great product there. I have tasted it a few times and it produces a very very good wine!!!!!!!!
 

deboard

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I think Racer is correct, there is a bit of text on the webpage that says that. Specifically I bought the 2008 Anadelle Estate Syrah since Syrah/Shiraz is one of my favorites. Didn't hurt that it was the cheapest as well!

Well now I'm pretty excited about it, can't wait to get it started!
 

surlees

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I did their Rancho Sarco Cab. Sauv. & their Windsor Oaks Sauv. Blanc. Both are now aging in carboys. I did MLF on the C.S. and will barrel age as soon as my barrel is free. So far, so good!
 

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Just curious surlees, how do these things show up? Are they completely frozen? How long did it take to thaw for you? Is the pail they come in suitable as a primary or do they need to be transferred?
 

Minnesotamaker

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The inventory came from a company called WinePod that is no longer in business. I got 1 bucket of Syrah and it yielded 3 gallons. It's still in the carboy bulk aging. I did my thawing in the winter, so I don't remember the thawing timeline and my thawing temp would have been lower at the time. One thing I recall, be sure to mix the thawed grapes well, because sometimes, sugars and/acids can precipitate out during the freezing process.
 

surlees

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Just curious surlees, how do these things show up? Are they completely frozen? How long did it take to thaw for you? Is the pail they come in suitable as a primary or do they need to be transferred?
It was April 1 when I received my shipment, so the weather was still cool there and here where I live. They were frozen when shipped and shipped early in the week so that they wouldn't have to sit over a weekend. I got them in 2-3 days and they were still 1/2 frozen. I had them thawed in one day.

This time of year my guess is they would be thawed, but still cold. I was very satified with the quality and plan to order 2 more pails of the Rancho Sarco and another pail of Windsor Oaks in a couple of weeks.

The pail can be used to ferment, but it's a bit tall and narrow compared to my fermenter so I chose to not use them to ferment in.

Fred
 

deboard

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Thanks for all the replies. I actually got a call from them today saying it was shipping, so shouldn't be too long 'til I get it.
 

Wineau

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I just finished MLF on this wine and now I am doing a cold stabilization. It was much more fun (and work) than a kit but it seems promising. I expect it to be a year before it really shines.

NOTE: The Annandale Syrah is a 4 gallon pail. You are more likely to end up with about 5 gallons of finished wine. (It is shipped in a 5 gallon pail though.) I still used my regular 6.5 gal pail for primary fermentation.
Some of the frozen grapes Midwest has are 5 gallon pails and 2 of those make about 6 gals. The grapes were originally sold by WinePod.

Another Note: They do have some stems in them. I even found a dead bee on the top of my pail. I thought that was pretty cool. I felt really close to the vineyard!
 

Wade E

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Some stems actually add ot the tannin level but just use a little I know some people who actually purposely put some in.
 

seopiper

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If it are frozen, can be that it are not good anymore?
I just tasted a home made red wine from a friend, two types and taste really good. Will have to ask how he do it though.
 

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OK, got the pail and got it thawed to room temp, pitched the yeast tonight. The "Ingredient Pack" comes with potassium sorbate, but I'm pretty sure you don't mix MLF and potassium sorbate, so I'll leave that out. Maybe they put that in in case you bypass the MLF step.
 

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So far this is one of the easiest wines I've made. The bucket it came in is the same size as my primary anyways, so I am just fermenting in the bucket. The instructions say not to sulfite since it has been frozen, and basically only calls for yeast nutrient and yeast. The brix and acid % is listed on the bucket (22 and 0.7%). I did go ahead and add pectic enzyme beforehand, even though it did not call for it.

It's bubbling away today, I punched the cap down this morning and when I got home. Smells great too.
 

Racer

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I don't think that it would hurt anything by adding the pectic enzyme but since the must was frozen I'm sure it would have broken down nicely for you without adding it too. Please do keep the updates coming. I'm not able to start any new wines for awhile so its nice to follow others progress on wines while I'm too busy to have some fun with new fermentations too.
 

Wade E

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Glad you added the enzymes as it also aids in color extraction not to metion preventing a pectin haze which is usually not a problem with grape wine but you never know.
 

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I'm guessing I'll be regretting saying this is the easiest wine I've made so far when I go to press. I'll be doing it the manual way with straining bags I guess.
 

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Oh yeah, the easiness on the front end is more than made up for by the first racking out of the primary. I kept getting the siphon clogged up (even with an autosiphon), and then I had to scoop all the grapes into a nylon bag and press it by hand. Longest. Racking. Ever. Made a bit of a mess, but luckily I don't think I stained any grout. If there is any my wife will find it for me though.

Ended up with about 2 3/4 gallons of liquid, which I'm sure will reduce to 2 1/2 or so when it settles out some. Composter got a lot of good used grapes though, I don't have the room to start anything else to use them again.

So, since this is my first time racking a wine with the grapes/fruit floating in it (not in a bag). What would have worked better? I think I racked a day late, it said to rack at 1.000. But it was way hard to get a good SG reading with all the particles in the wine.

So for future reference, what's a good method to test SG on a grape wine?

And: What's the best way to rack it off primary!? (I didn't accidentally discover it)
 

Rock

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Next time try using a colinder (speghetti strainer) this helps with smaller bathes.press inside a 6 gallon bucket make sure you use rubber gloves and make sure you get a seperate colinder only for this purpose.just because you might not ever get it clean the way it was and the wife gets pissed off.:)
 

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