The next time you are savoring a favorite glass of wine, realize for a moment how long the journey is from planting a new vine to becoming that elegant Langman Estate Barbera you are loving after that last sip. One of the major strategic considerations in that journey is understanding the volume of grapes a harvest will yield and the volume of wine those grapes will produce 2 and 1/2 years later.
We planted our vineyard in 2010 and this year will be the first year that two of our varietals, Grenache and Barbera, will be at full maturation and yield. Each of these varietals will yield 5 tons of grapes. It will be at least 2 more years until all of our vines have come of age. Great wine requires great vines that are nurtured in the vineyard to produce great grapes. This quality requires a limit on the number of vines planted per acre, the spacing of these vines and limiting the number of grape bunches grown on each vine. This does limit the amount of grapes grown, (the yield), but is necessary to allow the vines to concentrate all of their energy into each grape that results in wonderfully increased flavor and complexity in the juice inside. In 2020 or 2021, our vineyard will be at full maturity and we will harvest about 25-28 tons of grapes each year.
This year we will hand-harvest 5 tons of grapes from our now fully mature Barbera vines. They will be pressed, (the “Crush”), fermented, barreled, aged and bottled.
Each of these steps requires material, labor, time, space… How much of each? How many bottles of 2017 Langman Estate Barbera will be available in 2020? Here is a quick primer on how to quantify the next 2.5 years.
All of these steps are calculated by the ton when you are working in the winemaking business. Let’s go through what that looks like:
Each of these bins hold about 1000 lbs of grapes. 2 bins equal 1 ton of grapes.
After going through “The Crush” and fermentation, the wine is aged in French oak barrels. 1 ton of grapes will produce about 2.7 Barrels of wine.
The barrels are 59 gallons each. This is about 24.6 cases of wine.
So one ton of our 2017 Langman Estate Barbera grapes will yield about 800 bottles of wonderful wine in 2020.
5 tons of our 2017 Barbera grapes will produce 4,000 bottles of our wonderful 2017 Langman Estate Barbera wine to release in 2020!
That’s equal to 16,000 glasses!
We can’t wait either!
Sue & Jim Langman
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Industry Insider Notes: 1 ton of grapes yields about 2.5 barrels or 66 cases or 800 bottles of wine.
1 Barrel of wine yields about 300 bottles or about 25 cases.
These are the shorthand estimates for many wine industry quick calculations for future planning for production, space, barrel, bottles, labels, storage… These get you close. So the next time you go tasting at a winery you can ask, “how many barrels of this did you produce?”. When the wine tasting host says, “10”, you can respond, “wow, that’s only 250 cases, sounds like a handmade wine”.