Washington Grapes?

Discussion on the ingredients for making wine.

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Washington Grapes?

Postby Stein » Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:52 pm

Hello.

As a homebrewer, I am thinking about taking the plunge into wine making, mainly reds. After reading a bunch, it appears to me that the best bet would be getting grapes instead of juice. I really don't want to put a bunch of months of time into something that I would be disappointed in (not that my tastes are that great).

Living in Washington, it appears that Yakima Valley has a ton of high quality grapes. But, how would a home winemaker get some?

In particular, I am wondering:

What time of year should I look to buy grapes?

Does anyone know of any grape growers friendly to home wine makers?

How much should I get (5-6 gallon batch)? What kind of volume am I talking about transporting - 10 gallon trashcan or bigger?

How long can I store them before I should use them?

What can I expect to pay?

Any other advice for a newb?

Thanks in advance!
Stein
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Postby Stein » Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:07 pm

As they say in Canada, chatty group, eh?
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Re: Washington Grapes?

Postby ChuGalug » Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:55 am

Stein wrote:Hello.

As a homebrewer, I am thinking about taking the plunge into wine making, mainly reds. After reading a bunch, it appears to me that the best bet would be getting grapes instead of juice. I really don't want to put a bunch of months of time into something that I would be disappointed in (not that my tastes are that great).

Living in Washington, it appears that Yakima Valley has a ton of high quality grapes. But, how would a home winemaker get some?

In particular, I am wondering:

What time of year should I look to buy grapes?

Does anyone know of any grape growers friendly to home wine makers?

How much should I get (5-6 gallon batch)? What kind of volume am I talking about transporting - 10 gallon trashcan or bigger?

How long can I store them before I should use them?

What can I expect to pay?

Any other advice for a newb?

Thanks in advance!


Hi Stein,
I didnt see this thread till yah gave it a bump.

I don't know much about making wine, but I think you could try contacting some of these growershttp://www.wineyakimavalley.org/growers/index.asp

This is a great time of the year to chat with these folks, and they would probably be happy to answer your questions, and point yah in the right direction, best to yah...John

P.S. the farmer should have the grapes in nice stackable lugs
ChuGalug
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Postby malcolm777b » Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:07 pm

Getting grapes in Yakima Valley should be pretty easy if you do a little internet searching. I have gotten all of my grapes from Columbia Valley, which, if you are in Yakima Valley, youre alot closer than me to the vineyards. Make sure you source your grapes early, preferably in early summer as grapes are almost certainly difficult to come by during harvest. Harvest can be anywhere from the last week in August until early October. You need to crush/destem IMMEDIATELY when you get the grapes....they start to degrade right when they come off of the vine. I have all of them processed and sulfited within 12 hours of harvest (due to transport/processing/etc). Your wine will be the best with minimum time from picking to processing.

Ive gotten grapes from:

Gilbert Vineyards-I bought Cabernet in 2005 from these guys. I even gave them short notice, like less than a month ahead of time. They were happy to sell me a small quantity (250 lbs.), so definitely good for the home winemaker. Prices were .60/lb if I remember correctly. They came packed in 25 lb. boxes which is also convinient for the home winemaker. The Cabernet is spectacular at this point and I havent bottled it yet.

Wooded Island Vineyards-I bought 1000 lbs. Merlot and 2400 lb. Cabernet in 2006. The website says they deal with 1/2 ton increments or more, but they told me they dont like to sell less than 1 ton total to a customer. This is somewhat prohibitive unless you are making huge (pushing the 200 gallon per year limit) batches or are splitting the grapes with other home winemakers. I found the Merlot to produce some of the best young wine Ive ever had and believe that it will rival some wines that push the $50/bottle range (hopefully 2007 will produce grapes like the 2006 vintage....it was supposedly one of the best vintages yet and I can believe it from my results...too bad the weather didnt cooperate as much for the later harvesting cabernet varietal but it is still good stuff). The cabernet thus far is good and getting better....time will tell when it hits barrels just how good it really is.
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