Moving Lots of Must

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Greg Corey

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I'm trying to think through this year's wine production already and getting my purchasing/planning out of the way.

Historically, I de-stem and crush in my backyard. In the past I've had small enough batches that I could just shuttle containers of must downstairs to my "cellar". I like doing all of my fermenting and aging down there because it never varies from 65ºF year round so it's really easy to control temperatures.

However, this year I should be looking at a maximum single varietal weight of ~225lbs of grapes. I don't want to have to make that many trips. I do have a window into my basement and I'm wondering about siphoning the must through a large enough hose to get it down into my fermenter (future rackings tbd as I am pump free at the moment).

I've also thought about a chute of some sort that I could just scoop the must onto and have it plop into my basement fermenter. From there I have wheels so it's not a problem to move around.

Considering I also have to rack, the All In One pump might be best but I don't think it could handle the must transfer. Any thoughts/experience with this setup?
 
I'd worry about sanitation with a chute.. I'm. not sure your physical strength but I'd carry 20 liters a time. would only be about 6 trips. if you had a helper wouldn't be too bad.

siphoning would be difficult with skins would definitely get stuck. the type of pump used for must transfer with skins is very different.
 
I crush mine at the vineyard whet I pick it up into normal fermentation buckets. Cash those down to the basement, pour into 20 gallon buckets and cement those. Moving must take a must pump. The all in one wine pump. (which I have) is great for liquids, but probably not for must.

Now Steve @vacuumpumpman might have an idea of how to make it work.
 
So what you are all saying is “just suck it up and lift” :) I did come up with one idea. As I crush, move the grapes to a brute bin and then slap a lid on and use a dolly to get down the stairs. Sometimes it takes staring the bad idea to get a little clarity. Thanks as usual!
 
* since you are going downward you could easily vacuum the liquid. For this I would look at sucking off the bottom of a bucket/ Brute with a pipe inside a screen or perforated pipe. For moving skins you need a continuous liquid flow. In factories we have positive displacement pumps so yes it could be done but no you wouldn’t have the equipment. Cleaning wouldn’t be too bad. You could switch to a winery or beer cleaner. For liquid only 1/2” polyethylene should be enough and cost effective.
* A gravity system would have to be put together like a waste line sloped at 1/8 to 1/4 inch per foot. Waste lines use liquid to carry the solids. You would get plugged if you run low liquid. As noted cleaning would be hard. I could see pulling the pipes apart and spraying then reassembling. ,,, drain pipe sounds like more effort than it’s worth for 300 pounds.
* 5 gallon buckets aren’t too bad. If you have a teenage neighbor it is about as simple as it gets.
* anything that goes down needs to come back out. My guess is you plan on carrying outside. ,,, skins from 225 pounds isn’t that much.
 
I has the same problem. I made a chute with 4 inch PVC pipe some elbows and a large funnel. elbow used bottom and top to get things vertical. chute was at a 45 degree angle down the cellar steps. fermenter at the bottom. used a bucket of santizer down the chute at begining worked great. used it for juice and must.
 
I has the same problem. I made a chute with 4 inch PVC pipe some elbows and a large funnel. elbow used bottom and top to get things vertical. chute was at a 45 degree angle down the cellar steps. fermenter at the bottom. used a bucket of santizer down the chute at begining worked great. used it for juice and must.
I can see how to his would work great. I am going to build a platform lift that will stay horizontal as it runs up and down the stairs. I’ll power it with a cable hoist. It’s only seven steps down, so about half a standard staircase.
 
Interesting stuff! Also mind you, I’ll have 3 more varieties in 100+lb range. They will be harvested different days most likely but still a lot of work. Maybe a chute or similar would be fun for the tinkerer in me but I’m sure I could get by with manual labor and a couple nephews. Is PVC considered food safe for temporary contact?
 
Every year i carry over 1,000 lbs of grapes down the stairs into my basement. I thought about getting a stair climbing dolly, but have not yet made the investment. I do crush and press inside, so no back and forth. Im 44 and fairly healthy. But, i did have a fall one time carrying 2 case of water. Ruptured a bursa in my knee. It’s definitely a concern the older that i get. I see myself continuing this hobby well into retirement, so eventually I’ll need to purchase one.
 

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