So what could one possibly do with 300-400lbs of apples from your yard – or perhaps your neighbor’s yard?! How much apple sauce or apple pie does one need? I propose the following solution: wine. My current estimate is that it takes about an hour to convert 100 lbs of apples into a carboy of juice – or about 2 cases of finished wine. So Saturday: 4 hrs of crush and press, roughly 4 finished carboys of wine, which will end up yielding about 10 cases of wine, or 120 bottles. Time well spent.
To take it a step further into economics-land, which I always tend to do, it’s important to note that results so far have been as good or better than commercially available fruit wines. So say $20/bottle. We pay a lot of tax on wine in Alberta, so I’d have to pay roughly $20 to meet or beat the quality I’m producing. Assuming I’m correct on that estimate, 120 bottles holds a value of roughly $2400. Since the fruit was free – not only free but somebody’s problem that they were raking and putting in the trash to get hauled off – the rate of return on input costs, even time included, is rather high, I’d say. [Add to that, the crusher/press setup I use is no excuse for barrier to entry – it’s a home-made deal that anybody with some initiative could slap together. I posted about it last year.]
I had some great help this year on crush day, and was able to take some good video as things played out. So rather than get into ‘how-to’, I’ll defer to the soon-to-be-posted video for you to have a look at how we do it. Perhaps you too could be making apple wine soon. No apples? No problem. Go pick with these folks to get hooked up with fruit that others need picked, and help out a charity while you’re at it. I love win-win-win-win-win stuff.