Sourcing grapes In larger than hobby amount, but less than pro amount

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Adam Beck

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So I’m hoping to step things up a notch this year and get moving on a larger batch of wine. I’d like to get 1/2 ton, (or 1 ton if that’s not even possible) of good quality fresh grapes, but I’m not sure how to go about it. I live near wine country in California, I tried cold emailing a couple vineyards but got no response.

Has anyone had success with this scale? Seems like I can get smaller amounts easily from suppliers online, or there’s like winebusiness.com if I wanted to get like 5 tons or more, but I don’t know what there is for the in between.

thanks!
 

franc1969

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Depending on where you are located- here's one option. If you are looking for the 1/2 ton or 1 ton quantities, you can arrange picking times with him- or take what you can get during his other times. This is definitely pick-your-own, though.
https://www.calwinebroker.com/
I am nowhere close enough to do this, wish i could find something nearby.
 

Johnd

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So I’m hoping to step things up a notch this year and get moving on a larger batch of wine. I’d like to get 1/2 ton, (or 1 ton if that’s not even possible) of good quality fresh grapes, but I’m not sure how to go about it. I live near wine country in California, I tried cold emailing a couple vineyards but got no response.

Has anyone had success with this scale? Seems like I can get smaller amounts easily from suppliers online, or there’s like winebusiness.com if I wanted to get like 5 tons or more, but I don’t know what there is for the in between.

thanks!
Try calling F. Colavita & Son. Here’s their website, you should have little trouble getting grapes in California.....

https://www.cawinegrapes.com/
 

Adam Beck

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I actually used Cal Wine Broker last year for 100lbs of Cab Franc. I would use him again some time, just because there aren’t a lot of other options, but to be honest I had a couple issues. #1 is that he had a handful of varieties listed on his site as being “pesticide free”. I to do chose Cab Franc because it was one of those. When I got there and asked about it he said no they were not pesticide free at all. #2 is that the grapes weren’t that great. Maybe other varieties are better, every pick is a different vineyard, so it’s hard to know what level of quality the rest would have been.

All in all it wasn’t terrible but I’d just prefer to go a different route if possible. His prices are good, but if I’m gonna just do 100 lbs again I’d go with Oak Barrel Winecraft instead, as I’ve heard great things about their grape quality.
 

CDrew

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I have gotten grapes twice from Michael (calwinebroker.) It is a bit of an adventure and you're never know who will show up, or what the grapes will exactly be like. But He does have some excellent contacts and at least the Petite Sirah I got through him was good at the pick and is rounding into a drinkable wine now. It really helps to have help when you pick with Michael so you can get it done quickly and help loading up is good. It struck me that he likes to have the day over by 10am.

Also, join you local homewinemaking club. They have contacts and group buys all fall.
 

Americanhooch

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I actually used Cal Wine Broker last year for 100lbs of Cab Franc. I would use him again some time, just because there aren’t a lot of other options, but to be honest I had a couple issues. #1 is that he had a handful of varieties listed on his site as being “pesticide free”. I to do chose Cab Franc because it was one of those. When I got there and asked about it he said no they were not pesticide free at all. #2 is that the grapes weren’t that great. Maybe other varieties are better, every pick is a different vineyard, so it’s hard to know what level of quality the rest would have been.

All in all it wasn’t terrible but I’d just prefer to go a different route if possible. His prices are good, but if I’m gonna just do 100 lbs again I’d go with Oak Barrel Winecraft instead, as I’ve heard great things about their grape quality.
I bought from Oak Barrel Winecraft this year and so far, so good. Looks like they list pricing for quantities up to 900lbs on their site, so might be worth a try to see if they'll throw in an extra 100lbs to make it a clean 1/2 ton ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

Chris Johnson

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NorCal

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So I’m hoping to step things up a notch this year and get moving on a larger batch of wine. I’d like to get 1/2 ton, (or 1 ton if that’s not even possible) of good quality fresh grapes, but I’m not sure how to go about it. I live near wine country in California, I tried cold emailing a couple vineyards but got no response.

Has anyone had success with this scale? Seems like I can get smaller amounts easily from suppliers online, or there’s like winebusiness.com if I wanted to get like 5 tons or more, but I don’t know what there is for the in between.

thanks!
It is a challenge. It’s all about relationships.
If you have a macro bin and willing to come up to Loomis, I could hook you up with a half ton of Cab Franc. I manage the harvest for a 20 acre vineyard up here.
 

Adam Beck

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I've ended up in talks with a Mendocino vineyard to get 1/2 ton of 80-year old-vine Carignan. It's a late harvester, so I guess I have the next 8-9 months to figure out the logistics, lol. I'm curious, for those of you with macro bins, do you have a truck they fit in, or do you rent something? I have a Honda CRV and judging from their dimensions I don't think one would fit.
 

Ignoble Grape

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I've ended up in talks with a Mendocino vineyard to get 1/2 ton of 80-year old-vine Carignan. It's a late harvester, so I guess I have the next 8-9 months to figure out the logistics, lol. I'm curious, for those of you with macro bins, do you have a truck they fit in, or do you rent something? I have a Honda CRV and judging from their dimensions I don't think one would fit.
The one time I worked with someone who got 1-ton, he used a truck with open-trailer, bins were on the trailer. When they got to the house, everyone pitched in with pitchforks to move the grapes from the macro bins on the trailer to garbage cans, to crusher, to macro bin for ferment. I think he paid extra to have the vineyard drop off the grapes - super early in the morning right after harvest. Once it was unloaded, the came and picked up.
I actually used Cal Wine Broker last year for 100lbs of Cab Franc. I would use him again some time, just because there aren’t a lot of other options, but to be honest I had a couple issues. #1 is that he had a handful of varieties listed on his site as being “pesticide free”. I to do chose Cab Franc because it was one of those. When I got there and asked about it he said no they were not pesticide free at all. #2 is that the grapes weren’t that great. Maybe other varieties are better, every pick is a different vineyard, so it’s hard to know what level of quality the rest would have been.

All in all it wasn’t terrible but I’d just prefer to go a different route if possible. His prices are good, but if I’m gonna just do 100 lbs again I’d go with Oak Barrel Winecraft instead, as I’ve heard great things about their grape quality.
Good info - I've been watching his mailing list for some time. It's a treck for me, so hadn't followed-through.
 

Ignoble Grape

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Another option that I might try this year if I can't find white grapes is California Concentrate. Email them to get on their mailing list:

info@californiaconcentrate.com
http://www.californiaconcentrate.com/

They have weekend juice sales. Essentially whatever has just been harvested and pressed.

From the email:

We do have our weekend juice sales that happens 4 weekends during harvest – see attached flyer. The Red or White Blend at $3.60/Gallon is only during the weekend sale. After the 4 weekends, we do still have our prefilled 6 Gallon Pails that you can purchase during Monday – Friday, 8AM – 4PM – see list. It is cash only. If you’d like, I can add you to our emailing list to receive flyer when we have our sale next year. Please let me know if you have any questions.
 

cmason1957

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I've ended up in talks with a Mendocino vineyard to get 1/2 ton of 80-year old-vine Carignan. It's a late harvester, so I guess I have the next 8-9 months to figure out the logistics, lol. I'm curious, for those of you with macro bins, do you have a truck they fit in, or do you rent something? I have a Honda CRV and judging from their dimensions I don't think one would fit.
I have a CRV also, and even if the bin could fit, that extra 1000 lbs (plus some for the macro bin) might be an issue for a CRV. I don't like to add over about 600-700 extra pounds to mine. I always take trash cans out to where I am getting the grapes and last year at 600 lbs, 6 trash cans, I was out of room.
 

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