Pinot Noir

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Raptor99

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I have never made grape wine. But I do enjoy Pinot Noir, and yesterday I saw numerous local source for Pinot Noir grapes. Today I discovered the 2022 Oregon Vineyard and Winery report: Five takeaways from the 2022 Oregon vineyard and winery report Oregon has more wineries than any other state besides California. 60% of the total acreage of vineyards here are growing Pinot Noir (that comes to 26,611 acres of Pinot Noir). Many of those vineyards are in the northern Willamette Valley, which is where I live. Apparently they grow very will here.

I don't think I will have the time to try it this year, but if I buy some local Pinot Noir grapes next year, is there a way to make grape wine without a press? I can see if I can find a local vineyard that can press the grapes for me.

Another question: When you press the grapes, do you then add back the skins to make red wine? For smaller batches, do you put them in a brew bag like we often do for country wine fruit?
 
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Fellow Willamette Valley resident here - I made/am making Pinot Noir this year for my first grape wine, drove up from Eugene to a small vineyard in Carlton to pick up the grapes. For red grape winemaking the process is to crush/destem the fruit, and ferment with the skins and seeds for the duration of primary, then press, rack off the course lees that settle out after 24-48 hr, and add malolactic bacteria. You will have a hard time without a press, but you can almost certainly rent one from a homebrew store in the Portland area. I rented one this year from Home Fermenter in Eugene and the vineyard had a crusher-destemmer to use on-site so I could take just the must home in a 20 gal Brute.
 
@Raptor99, your post honestly surprised me, as you have no understanding of grape winemaking. Which surprised me again, as I realized I was looking at you through the lens of a generalist who has fermented a wide variety of things. Which in turn caused me to think of the grape winemakers who have absolutely no idea what goes into country winemaking. 🤣

Generally speaking, having our world view shaken up by someone else's totally different world view is a good thing.

@anthocyanin provided a good overview. I am finishing an "In Detail" post on grape winemaking that will give you more of a blow-by-blow account of grape winemaking.

https://wine.bkfazekas.com/2022-grape-wines-in-detail/
You don't absolutely need a press, but you're going to be throwing away a lot of wine left in the pomace. Last fall I took the pomace from my grape wines, after a "medium" pressing, and added to FWK Tavola Merlot kits. I grossed 9 and 8 US gallons, respectively, from 6 gallon kits. This means I had a total of 5 gallons of wine left in the pomace. After settling that was about 4 US gallons.

https://wine.bkfazekas.com/2022-fwk-kit-grape-pomace-in-detail/
While you can make a bucket press, @anthocyanin's idea of renting a press is a good idea. I have no idea how close you are to each other, but if you can get together and/or meet with other winemakers, it's good for you. This is a new experience and having experienced friends is always a good time.

I'd volunteer to help you, but a 3,000 mile drive just isn't in the cards.
 
I have never made grape wine. But I do enjoy Pinot Noir, and yesterday I saw numerous local source for Pinot Noir grapes. Today I discovered the 2022 Oregon Vineyard and Winery report: Five takeaways from the 2022 Oregon vineyard and winery report Oregon has more wineries than any other state besides California. 60% of the total acreage of vineyards here are growing Pinot Noir (that comes to 26,611 acres of Pinot Noir). Many of those vineyards are in the northern Willamette Valley, which is where I live. Apparently they grow very will here.

I don't think I will have the time to try it this year, but if I buy some local Pinot Noir grapes next year, is there a way to make grape wine without a press? I can see if I can find a local vineyard that can press the grapes for me.

Another question: When you press the grapes, do you then add back the skins to make red wine? For smaller batches, do you put them in a brew bag like we often do for country wine fruit?
You can destem them, punch them down and ferment them whole. When they finish fermenting ~SG 1.000 you can squeeze them dry with panty hose or nylon sieves from Amazon. I'd use RC 212 yeast.
 
You can destem them, punch them down and ferment them whole. When they finish fermenting ~SG 1.000 you can squeeze them dry with panty hose or nylon sieves from Amazon. I'd use RC 212 yeast.
If you use RC-212, add 50% more yeast nutrient than the package specifies. RC-212 is a great yeast, but it's high nutrient requirement, so to avoid H2S, go heavy on nutrient.
 
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.
You can destem them, punch them down and ferment them whole. When they finish fermenting ~SG 1.000 you can squeeze them dry with panty hose or nylon sieves from Amazon.
Peaches have a lot of pulp, so this year I put in a ceiling hook to suspend the mesh bag over the primary bucket, then occasionally squeezed the bag. My yield was 80% juice by weight. Since peaches have a lot of fiber, that is a pretty good result. I could try that method with grapes.

For red grape winemaking the process is to crush/destem the fruit, and ferment with the skins and seeds for the duration of primary, then press, rack off the course lees that settle out after 24-48 hr
I found a vineyard about an hour away with u-pick for $1/lb. (100 lb. minimum). The ad says "Includes free use of stemmer/crusher and press." So you see why I asked about the process. If they are pressed at the vineyard, then do I need to press again after primary fermentation?

If I wanted to try a test batch, how many pounds of grapes would I need for a 3-gallon batch?
 
I found a vineyard about an hour away with u-pick for $1/lb. (100 lb. minimum). The ad says "Includes free use of stemmer/crusher and press." So you see why I asked about the process. If they are pressed at the vineyard, then do I need to press again after primary fermentation?

If I wanted to try a test batch, how many pounds of grapes would I need for a 3-gallon batch?

50 lb would be a rough estimate needed per 3 gallons, if you have a decent press yield and don't lose a lot of volume in rackings. If you are making red wine you do not want to press at the vineyard, just crush/destem. Pressing comes after primary fermentation. If you line your fermenter with a strainer bag, maybe you can do your ceiling hook technique to squeeze and separate the pomace at the end of primary, but remember that with grapes you have a lot more solids than most fruit wine musts where you use added water. I had roughly 15 gallons of must to start and had maybe 6 gallons of solids after pressing.

If you don't want to deal with grape solids you could make a Pinot rosé if you crush and press at the vineyard and just bring the juice home. Though it's late in the season for rosé so if you go that option you may want to add acidulated water to bring your starting brix down and also may need to add some tartaric acid regardless to balance the must to an acidity level appropriate for rosé. Though Willamette Pinot tends to retain more acidity than California Pinot so you may still be good there.
 
I found a vineyard about an hour away with u-pick for $1/lb. (100 lb. minimum). The ad says "Includes free use of stemmer/crusher and press." So you see why I asked about the process. If they are pressed at the vineyard, then do I need to press again after primary fermentation?
Red grapes are fermented on the skins. Crush the grapes, inoculate, ferment, then press.

If I wanted to try a test batch, how many pounds of grapes would I need for a 3-gallon batch?
90 pounds (2.5x 36 lb lugs) is typical to produce a 5 US gallon carboy of finished wine. 54 lbs of grapes should produce 3 gallons, but I'd go a bit more, as not all yields are on spec.
 
I found a vineyard about an hour away with u-pick for $1/lb. (100 lb. minimum). The ad says "Includes free use of stemmer/crusher and press." So you see why I asked about the process. If they are pressed at the vineyard, then do I need to press again after primary fermentation?

If I wanted to try a test batch, how many pounds of grapes would I need for a 3-gallon batch?

So you are in Oregon and can get Pinot Noir for $1 per pound. Cool. Go big. Get a minimum of 100 pounds and make 5-6 gallons of wine. Or get 300 pounds and make 15 gallons of wine. The more you make the easier it is to a degree. I think 350 pounds at a time is the sweet spot.


But yes, you crush and stem first. Then ferment, then press at the end to get the wine off the grape skins. Not rocket science. It's been done like this for thousands of years.
 
Note that punch downs for red wine are typically done twice/day (or even 3x) and need to be done consistently throughout primary. The skins trap CO2 and float up to the top, forming a "cap". It needs to get broken up and mixed back in a) to get good extraction from the skins and b) prevent bacterial growth. Once you press the wine, it takes much less attention.

My small PN batches usually take about a week for primary, so it's not a huge commitment but does need to get done.
 

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