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Sep 6, 2009 11:15 AM

Fresh Chardonnay grape juice ... not wine or soda?

Yesterday I stopped at a gypsy produce truck. In addition to selling Chardonnay grapes they gave a sample of fresh squeezed chardonnay juice. Unfortunately they weren't selling this, only the grapes.

Too bad. I could have bought gallons of this stuff. Some Chardonnay wine has a taste of sweet apples and drinking this juice I could see where that comes from. In fact, if I had been given a taste without knowing what it was, I would have said a different variety of apple cider.

Does this look like it will be a good year for grapes? I bought a large bunch ($1 lb but then they added another big bunch). I've bought Chardonnay grapes before at Berkeley Bowl but these were not like the sad sour grapes at the market. They burst with sweetness and flavor.

I'd go back to buy more, but they were clear this was a one time shot. The truck would never be back.

Soooo ... does anyone else sell good Chardonnay juice. I've had the vignette sodas and don't think much of them. Trying to winnow out fresh gorape juice from wine information on Google isn't too successful.

I did find the place in Oregon that sold it and other varieties of wine grapes juices.

Anyone tried this? Are there any others? Any restaurants selling fresh juice?

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  1. Navarro does Pinot and Gewurtztraminer.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Adamsimpson

      Those aren't fresh juices, though, any more than bottled apple juice is the same a freshly squeezed.

      I've always wondered why one of the places that does fresh juice (Odwalle, Naked Juice) doesn't do wine grape juice. It is delicious, and selling fresh juice for $3/pint has got to be more profitable than selling the finished product for what cheap Chardonny sells for.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        After tasting this, I was thinking the same thing ... why no one is doing this ...especially frou-frou reistaurants ... especially frou-frou restaurants in Wine Country.

        I thought maybe it fermented too quickly. However, though it goes without saying, this is truly limited edition stuff. The grapes have to as fabulous as the ones I bought.

        1. re: rworange

          I think fresh juice would be fantastic in aperitifs or added to a cheese course. I think you are right - perishability is the issue. We are garage winemakers and always set aside some grapes for juice. But it must be drunk in small quantities and quickly. By the next day the brightness is gone and mustiness begins.

    2. Peter Brehm has fresh juice available -- for quite a price. You can also buy frozen juice from him.

      The frozen Chard juice, from previous vintages, is $100 to $136 for a pail (a little over 5 gallons). Fresh juice is available for immediate pickup, just a few days after harvest. The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc is already harvested, and might be available frozen; the 2009 Chardonnay (several vineyards) has not yet been harvested. Price ranges from $14 to $21 per gallon.

      As a winemaker, I can tell you that nothing can prepare you for the sensational taste of fresh grape juice from really ripe grapes. The combination of high sugar and high acid is explosive. But you can only drink a small amount -- then your palate gets exhausted. Grapes suitable for winemaking are usually much higher in sugar than the sweetest seedless grapes; Flame seedless, now in season, might taste really sweet to you -- they will be about 20% sugar. But ripe winegrapes will be 24% or more, with correspondingly higher acidity. Juice from red wine grapes is usually not colored, and also is great to drink. It's even better if you chill the juice and use only the clear liquid above the settled solids -- Peter Brehm sells the juice already clarified.

      Another source for fresh wine grapes is Oak Barrel in Berkeley:

      You can also look on Craigslist. This season, many growers are desperate to sell wine grapes:

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joel

        Thanks. Yeah, that was really sensational. It blew me away. I did only have a small sample, maybe 3 or 4 sips, so don't know if it would be too much to take more than that.