Harvest season is an exciting time at Perfect Brewing Supply! Every Autumn we look forward to fresh grapes arriving from Northern California and every Spring we receive Juice buckets from the southern hemisphere. This raises the question what should I choose whole grapes, or Juice Buckets? Check out our video to help you decide if you want to choose whole grapes or juice buckets, or both!
Juice buckets come pre-processed and often are even balanced for acidity all you need to do is add the yeast, let it ferment, then enjoy! Juice buckets also tend to be less expensive per gallon of finished wine than whole grapes. So far Juice Buckets seem like a great way to go but hold on to your hogshead there are some down sides to juice buckets.
If you are making red wine the body tends to be thinner and they are lighter in color than wine made from whole grapes. Also while some juice buckets come pre-balanced for acidy some do not which may require you to purchase acid additives. There will also be less intense flavors and less flavor development than wines made from whole grapes. Most of these downsides don’t apply to white wine so the kind of wine you want to make should play into your decision.
The best part about using whole grapes is that you get to be in total control of the wine you make! You get to control the entire process from crushing to de-stemming, you can even blend different grape varietals to get different flavors or balance the acid of your wine. Grapes also come with natural yeasts on their skins which allows a more traditional spontaneous fermentation. Just like with Juice buckets you can choose to pitch another yeast Varity into your wines fermenter. If you like lots of color, depth of flavor, and body than whole grapes are for you because unlike juice buckets your fermenting on grape skins which give you all those great qualities!
Just like Juice Buckets whole grapes have their downsides as well. You do need additional equipment. You need a de-stemmer to remove the stems from the grapes then a crusher to get the juice out of the grapes, the great thing is both of these are items you can rent from Perfect Brewing Supply! Also you will require a larger fermenter because your wine juice has to share space with the grape skins, and those skins you are going to need to punch down once per day for the first 2 weeks of fermentation or until you are ready to press.
With whole grapes you get a lot more control and are more hands on in the wine making process. Juice buckets are less work and are a great option if you are ok with the limitations in color, body, and flavor development. We sell both Juice Buckets and Whole grapes at various times of the year, we also sell wine making kits you can use to make wine at any time.