Working Draft of the Plan / Schedule

Here’s the current plan. I will update this as I get better information and ideas. If you haven’t read it already, click here for a good guide to the whole process. Here’s even more info.

Mid-to-late September: We’ll get a call saying that the grapes are ready and will be picked on the coming Saturday or Sunday (hopefully). The grapes will be ready when the sugar content gets to be about 23-24 Brix.

DAY 1:

Necessary Supplies / Equipment:

  • Grapes!
  • Truck (have)
  • Primary Fermenters (4-5, we have 4)
  • Potasium Metabisulphite (we have)
  • Pectic enzyme (don’t have)
  • Acid Blend (have)
  • PH Meter (have)
  • Acid test kit (have)
  • Money (~$780…need help)
  • Peroxyclean or other sanitizer (have)
  • yeast (don’t have)
  • yeast nutrient (don’t have)
  • measuring spoons, measuring cups (probably have)
  • buckets (food grade, don’t have)
  • strainer (have)
  • hydrometer (have)
  • refractometer (don’t have)


  1. I and at least one other person will get up very early, wash the 44 gallon fermenters (we have 4 of them currently, each holds about 250 lbs), and put them in my truck. Someone else probably should follow with an extra car or truck with some sort of containers in it, just to make sure that we have enough capacity. Everyone else will meet at the house and start sanitizing equipment and washing everything in site.
  2. We’ll drive to the vineyard in elk grove where they’ll have large bins full of grapes that we’ll throw into a crusher/destemmer machine that will crush and de-stem the grapes and spit them out into our containers. At this point, we’ll try to remove as many leaves, moldy grapes, raisins, and other non-grape things as possible.
  3. Pay for the grapes: 65 cents per pound.
  4. Then, we’ll strap down the containers as best we can and drive slowly back to my house, where we’ll move them into the back yard.
  5. We’ll test the temperature, PH, total acidity, and sugar of the must .
  6. If necessary, we’ll adjust the acidity.
  7. Add pectic enzyme?
  8. Prepare the yeast starter. .45-.9 grams per gallon? (IMPORTANT: We want to make the starter using juice from before we add the sulphite.)
  9. Add enough sulphite to get SO2 level to 30-50 PPM. This inhibits wild yeast, prevents browning, and kills spoilage bacteria. The amount of sulphite we need to add depends on the PH of the must. 1 tsp / gallon = 50ppm
  10. Clean and sanitize all equipment.

LATER (not sure yet how long…maybe an hour, maybe 12 hours…need more research):

DAY 2 – 10ish:

Equipment / supplies:

punch-down tool (have)
thermometer (have)


  1. punch down the cap 3 times per day.
  2. keep an eye on the temperature
  3. measure the brix daily

WHEN BRIX = 3-5 (maybe after 7-10 days):

Equipment / supplies:

  • Wine press (don’t have)
  • barrels (don’t have, but working on it)
  • buckets (don’t have)
  • big funnel (have)


  1. Press the wine to separate the juice from the skins
  2. Put the wine into our less-good barrel and the extra into carboys

WHEN Brix = 0


  1. start Malolactic fermentation



  1. 2nd Racking. Move it into the good barrel.
  2. Test Acidity and SO2 and adjust as needed

EVERY 3-4 MONTHS for a year or so:


  1. Taste, Rack, test, adjust

After 1-2 Years:


  • Bottles
  • Corks


  1. Bottle!