Transporting grapes

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Jan 19, 2017
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I am looking at trying my hand at making wine from grapes. The source is about 2 1/2 hours away. Is there anything I need to know about transporting them? I know they are kept refrigerated there. Do I need to worry about temps on the way home? How soon do i need to destem and crush. Also the Chilean grapes are in 18lb boxes. Does anyone know what the dimensions are? Thanks
You just want to keep them cool. They are a perishable product. I have brought home 800lbs in the back of my Expedition and they are still cold when I get home from over 5 hours away. You don't have to crush the same day as long as you can keep them cool/cold overnight.
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2.5 hours is no problem. They'll stay pretty cold. If you do not have a crusher/destemer, see if your supplier can do that for you. Otherwise, it is a long, painful process.

I buy fresh grapes, and the supplier does the crush/destem when I pick up (for a fee). I show up with sanitized buckets (with lids, of course). The crushed grapes go into the buckets. When I get home, I dump into the fermenter(s). 6 18lb lugs will become roughly 10-12 gallons of must. I have both 5 and 6 gallon buckets and plan on two for each batch that size. My trip home is about 90 minutes - when I get home the must is still very cold and takes overnight to warm up completely.
The better shape the grapes are in, and the cooler it is, the longer you can wait. Understand that bacteria will start growing immediately. Its population may never get significant, but why take a chance? Minimize the time and the temp before inoculating, unless you can keep the fruit in the 40's for some true cold soaking.

To keep them cool how about freezing a few plastic gallon bottles, sanitize them and put them in or around the grapes and wrap with a blanket. 2 /12 hours shouldn't be a problem this time of year - assuming you are in the northern Hemisphere and not having a heat wave.
Here's a picture of a lug of last Springs grapes, maybe 18 in x 3 ft max or smaller? Betcha I could get 15 lugs in the trunk of my Corolla pretty easily, which isn't real large.

Are those wrapped in plastic , or is that a fabric/ fiber type paper?
Are those wrapped in plastic , or is that a fabric/ fiber type paper?

It is a thin plastic, almost cellophane like. What you don't see were the pads which contain SO2 that were on top, which I removed before taking the image. That is why I hypothesized to @Boatboy24 that the SO2 in those pads plus what he normally adds to his crushed grape must might have been a factor in his issues with MLF and his Spring Chilean batches. I never added any SO2 once I saw that the "pads" had that added to them and also didn't have any issues with my MLF (other than I didn't stir it enough initially).
I did talk to the supplier and they will crush destem at no charge. Thanks for all the replies!

When I destem at my supplier, I put in a dose of meta. I just destem into the brute and stir it in. I do pickup as early in the day as I can so it doesn't warm up too much on the drive home. If it is cool, you can take your time.