Sunday, September 28, 2008

Destemming and Crushing the Fresh Wine Grapes

To destem this year, I chose a new approach. An inverted plastic milk jug was placed over an empty 6 gallon pail. I scraped each bunch across the bucket, leaving grapes to fall in the pail, and a stripped stem in my hand. It actually worked pretty well. Here's the configuration:

And here's a view from above:

And finally, here's a video of the destemming process:

All in all, a cheap and easy destemmer. Once destemmed, the grapes need crushing. For that I used a piece of clean pine lumber. Do NOT use pressure treated lumber (due to the poison embedded in it as preservative).


  1. It's at times like this when after spending 5 hours destemming grapes by hand, a sore back, a sore hand and I come across your site ans see this. What a great idea and to think standing not more than 30 feet from me was a similar basket that I could have used. Guess this is one of those pain pleasure, yin yang moments. Here's to next year..........

  2. Wish I could have caught you ahead of your ordeal! Another option --- don't destem. For some grapes, when the stems themselves are not too green, you can skip the destemming step altogether. I have experimented with that with Lodi Zinfandel. There was a noticeable difference in the first couple of years, but by three or four years of aging, any unpleasant greenness from the stems had disapeared from the bottle zin.