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Equipment Liist For Small Scale Winery?


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#1 ryanprel

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 08:27 PM

I'm looking for some thoughts on an equipment list for a small startup winery focusing on fruit wines (mainly strawberry) to start with and then moving into grapes as my grape plantings become ready. Assuming I have a commercial kitchen at my disposal, what would be an equipment list of required equipment including fermenters, storage tanks, bottle filler, testing equipment, tubing, bottle sparger, and anything I'm forgetting off-hand. Can all of this be done for 3,000 - 7,000 in initial equipment costs? I'm looking at capacities of 135 - 400 gallons of wine for the first year but I'm not sure with what combination of tanks and storage. This assumes no crusher/destemmer for the initial costs.

Thanks for all the ideas in advance.

-Ryan

#2 Jay-CastleRock

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 10:37 PM

Shopping list

1. Money
2. Money
3. Money
4. Macro Bin Fermenters 1-2K
5. test equipment .8K
6. Storage .9K
7. Bottler 2K
8. Corker 1.5K
9. Labeler 1.2K (manual)
10. No friends after your first production run. (Some are really cool and stick around, others are huge candies and hope you never ask again.)

I don't know what quality of bottles, labels, corks, or tamper evident top you want but don't forget these are expensive things you don't want to froget.
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#3 ryanprel

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 12:33 PM

I'm familiar with the expenditure's of money involved, but I'm very interested regardless. We have the raw materials for our first fruit wine (strawberry) that is easily accessible and something that I'm very knowledgeable about. I'm planting some grapes this year (a combination of table grapes (we have a good outlet for them) and wine grapes) with the intent of eventually selling wholesale, if my test plantings work out. Now, there is considerable risk in starting a small winery, but there is also a considerable gain, if done correctly. On the scale that I'm looking at doing this on, the money and time is all a risk I'm willing to take. If this works well with strawberry wine, we'll give grapes a try.

We have thousands of people either pick their own or buy pre-picked strawberries on a yearly basis. In a time of growing wine sales, a strawberry wine from the fields these customers have picked in and bought berries from, is a great complement (in my opinion) to other specialty products we already sell. I don't expect to make an immediate profit from wine sales, but keeping an equipment expense/wine sales margin within reason is the goal. Now I'm just researching to see if it is possible to produce small batches (500L - 2000L) at an economical margin. I'm only looking at doing one batch per year of strawberry wine to start and expanding based on demand (if there is any). I'm assuming there will be considerable manual labor involved at a lower volume of production (in order to keep the margin better and payoff total equipment costs sooner). This is okay with me, I'm very used to the time intensive labor.

All that being said (I think writing it out was more for my sake than for anyone else's) I'm looking at standard 750ml bottle sizes of average quality with synthetic corks and heat shrink sleeves, manual corker, manual labeler and bench-top heat shrinker. What I'm unsure about is what are my options on this scale for fermenters, long-term storage and bottling? What is the cost for bottles when buying bulk in quanties of 1,000 or so bottles, shrink wraps, labels, etc? I know very well the future ability of marketing a product depends heavily on the presentation of the product so I am willing to spend more on shrink wraps and labels than may be required for just slapping something on the bottle. What is required for testing equipment to be able to accurately monitor from picking of fruit to fermenting to bulk storage and bottling.

All in all, I want to do this cheap, but I want more to do it right. When branding a product is concerned, I only have one chance with most customers. When ultimately limited by the number of potential customers I have, I need to be effective with those first customers.

Any thoughts, comments, considerations after this big long writeup?

Thanks again,
Ryan

#4 Purple Grin Winery

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 12:44 PM

This could be a fun way to discuss this....why don't I start a list, and as others reply by editing the list for the next to further edit. Keep in mind the 135 to 400 gallons sized winery.

Refractometer
pH meter
TA Test Kit
Brute Fermenters 44 gal size, one for every 30 gal yield
and.....
http://www.purplegrinwinery.com

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#5 Jay-CastleRock

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 02:23 PM

QUOTE (Purple Grin Winery @ Apr 13 2007, 12:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This could be a fun way to discuss this....why don't I start a list, and as others reply by editing the list for the next to further edit. Keep in mind the 135 to 400 gallons sized winery.

Refractometer
pH meter
TA Test Kit
Brute Fermenters 44 gal size, one for every 30 gal yield
Ace Rotomold Food Grade tanks 100 gallons each - Ranch supply store 189.00 each.
and.....
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#6 gregorio

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 03:33 PM

QUOTE (Purple Grin Winery @ Apr 13 2007, 12:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This could be a fun way to discuss this....why don't I start a list, and as others reply by editing the list for the next to further edit. Keep in mind the 135 to 400 gallons sized winery.



OK, I was thinking just as you are. What is the minimal amount of money I need to spend to do my 180 gallons with growth to 500. Well, since you can't really make any money at 500 gallons, I grew to 2500 gallon capacity and now every piece of equipment I first purchased has been or is about to be MINIMALLY replaced with the models listed below. I went bigger with my filter which is 40x40x40 ($4000) bottler is a 6 spout ($1900), corker is fully automatic ($7000) and my labeler is also automatic ($4000). At 500 gallons, I was projecting a loss of about $4-5K per year without counting my labor. At 2500 gallons, I can make a living. To help the product sell, I decided to go with mid range corks and glass with premium labels. The extra cost is offset by the higher price I can charge just because the package looks nicer. Garage made wine that looks like garage made wine will only sell for so much. $25,000 of my equipment cost was leased and costs me about $400 per month for 6 years. I get to deduct 100% of the lease payment and I own it at the end.

On top of the fermenters, tanks and gear listed above...
Crusher/Stemmer (Jolly 30ARS - $2500)
Various utensils for stirring/punching/straining ferments ($400)
Sample jars, graduated cylinders, wine theif, misc lab equipment ($300)
Pump(s) hoses, fittings (Euro-30-MVI with auto off option ($2500 + $500 in hoses and fittings)
Poly tank(s) for settling/racking/blending (various $500)
Bladder Press (BP160 $2500)
Barrels ($350 American up to $900 French)
If yes above then racks $200 per 4 barrel stack, fillers $175, suction wands $125, etc.
20x20x30 Filter (PF30 $1500)
Bottler (4 spout benchtop $1200)
Corker (floor corker with vacuum option $2000)
Labler (Race Taper capable $2000)
Foil spinner or heat gun (Spinner $1800 or Heat Gun $250)
Case sealer ($80)
Pallet jack ($500)
and.....so damn much more!

VARIABLE Items
In my area, these are close to my going COSTS (from memory) not including my markup (I sometimes sell to local guys who rent my bottling equipment), shipping and handling. Your prices will vary especially on the glass due to the shipping weight. My markup is usually 20%

Item 1000/5000
Glass low end 5.00/4.60 cs These are your basic green bottles
Glass mid range 7.65/7.25 cs Taller and possibly tapered
Glass premium 12.35/11.20 cs Heavyweights or distinctive shapes
Corks cheap .12/.10 ea Real cork with NO TCA controls and only good for about 1-2 years
Corks mid .40/.32 ea Real cork with good QA for TCA and good for extended aging of 7-8 years
Corks premium .70/.55 Real cork with excellent QA for TCA and good for aging of 10+ years
Labels front rear basic .40/.35 Digital printing plus artwork charges
Labels front rear premium .70/.52 Real ofsett printing including embossig and foil plus art and plate charges
Foils .32/.30 (.16 at 20,000) Very hard to buy in small quantities at these prices
Shrinks .??/.20 (.09 at 10,000)

Don't forget annual expenditures for yeast, nutrients, bacteria, tannins, fining agents, etc. plus labwork and analysis. I spent almost $2500 last year on this. Taxes? Varies by state but figure at least $.25 state and $1.17 Fed per gallon. Less for <14% alcohol.

Somewhere I have a spreadsheet that makes this easier. I'll look for it.
Perrucci Family Wines by Kennedy Hill Vineyards. Contact us regarding our monthly cork group buys.

#7 ryanprel

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 12:47 PM

Thanks for the equipment lists so far guys.

Greg,
Your list is a great start for a small-mid sized, growing winery. I fully expect to have to replace equipment if the winery expands, but I want to know there is potential in this market and this area for winery before I take a dive into a bigger pond of larger quantities and margins. I would love for it to get to a level where i can make a living off it, but that isn't immediately feasible. That will require some brand development and product development before I reach that point. I also need to refine my abilities as a winemaker and strengthen a skill-set I'm not currently strong enough in. So all in all, a smaller scale is required as a start and replacement of equipment is expected in the short-term. But, until then, I still need that first equipment to get started with.

Jay,
Where can I find Ace Rotomold Food grade tanks?

#8 Wade's Wines

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 02:05 PM

Greg, what does it take to produce those 2500 gallons, 2500 vines?
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#9 gregorio

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 03:01 PM

QUOTE (Wade's Wines @ Apr 14 2007, 01:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Greg, what does it take to produce those 2500 gallons, 2500 vines?


More! We limit crop to a little less than a gallon from our quads (14' of cordon) and about 1/2 gallon from our bicordon vines (6' of cordon).
Perrucci Family Wines by Kennedy Hill Vineyards. Contact us regarding our monthly cork group buys.

#10 gregorio

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 03:23 PM

QUOTE (ryanprel @ Apr 14 2007, 12:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for the equipment lists so far guys.

Greg,
Your list is a great start for a small-mid sized, growing winery. I fully expect to have to replace equipment if the winery expands, but I want to know there is potential in this market and this area for winery before I take a dive into a bigger pond of larger quantities and margins. I would love for it to get to a level where i can make a living off it, but that isn't immediately feasible. That will require some brand development and product development before I reach that point. I also need to refine my abilities as a winemaker and strengthen a skill-set I'm not currently strong enough in. So all in all, a smaller scale is required as a start and replacement of equipment is expected in the short-term. But, until then, I still need that first equipment to get started with.

Jay,
Where can I find Ace Rotomold Food grade tanks?


Maybe you should think outside the box. Take your berries to another winery and have them make it under your label. You will have zero investment and with the right relationship, can dictate the winemaking style. Many "wineries" do just that. Once you have developed a market for your product, you can decide if the investment in your own equipment is wise. My neighbor is winning gold medals left and right but his wine is made at another winery.
Perrucci Family Wines by Kennedy Hill Vineyards. Contact us regarding our monthly cork group buys.

#11 Wade's Wines

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 05:13 PM

I LIKE that idea! I wonder if Keg Springs Winery (of "I Fought the Frost and the Frost Won" fame) would do that. I'm a couple years away still from having the grapes though, so I guess I have time to try and talk them into it!
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#12 gregorio

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 06:55 PM

QUOTE (Wade's Wines @ Apr 14 2007, 04:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I LIKE that idea! I wonder if Keg Springs Winery (of "I Fought the Frost and the Frost Won" fame) would do that. I'm a couple years away still from having the grapes though, so I guess I have time to try and talk them into it!


You will need to figure out the logisitcal legalities. Each state has its own rules about selling alcohol especially when it is NOT made by you. In California, you would need a retailer license which is not easy to get. I've heard that there is a way to get a grower license which allows sales but make it at another winery. Your winery only needs to be a storage room to receive the wine in bond from the other winery. I'm sure there is a lot more to it but my neighbor somehow does it.
Perrucci Family Wines by Kennedy Hill Vineyards. Contact us regarding our monthly cork group buys.

#13 Jay-CastleRock

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 09:51 PM

QUOTE (ryanprel @ Apr 14 2007, 12:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Jay,
Where can I find Ace Rotomold Food grade tanks?


Here is the website and they can tell you who carries them in your area. They are used for livestock most places. As soon as you put wine and a product together the price skyrockets. The poly the tanks are made of is the same as the ones made specifically for wine. You don't get all the fancy ports and all but they work well and are cheap.

http://www.acerotomold.com/
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#14 ryanprel

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 03:47 PM

Thanks for the idea Gregorio. The problem with that here in Wisconsin is that there aren't many wineries in this state to begin with and none in my immediate area, let alone any that may be willing to make a "blank bottle" wine. You are definitely right that the cost to entry would be lower and it would eliminate some level of stress from the endeavor. I'll have to do a bit of looking to see if there are any possibilities in the area.

#15 Jay-CastleRock

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 05:46 PM

Watch your budget, look for alternative use items (rotomold tanks vs. stainless or "wine" poly tanks), don't be in a rush and plan. You can do it. Plan on a full year of planning researching and licensing and you'll be in business before you know it.
Auguri,
Jay / Concetta Cellars - Traditionally crafted premium wines.

- This post is an original and crafted piece of expression. Any variations of grammar and spelling from the generally accepted norm accentuate itís individuality and uniqueness.




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