Wine Articles

Wine Articles --> How Many Grapes In A Bottle Of Wine?

How Many Grapes In A Bottle Of Wine?

Here is a fun article from Doug Badenoc of the Wine Gallery in Bozeman, Montana. Doug lived in Indianapolis before opening his wine store and worked for us for about three months just before he moved. Now we occasionally borrow from each other's newsletters...

Even though I struggle with mathematical concepts higher than long division, it sometimes amazes me to think about what it takes to make a bottle of wine. In the technical notes that I receive with many of the wines we buy for the Wine Gallery is a note about the yield per acre. Grapevines can be quite prolific and produce in excess of 25 tons of grapes per acre. In fact, grapes comprise the largest fruit crop on earth. Winemakers are different than corn farmers and cattle ranchers. Winemakers do not care about the quantity yield per acre as much as they care about the quality yield per acre.

In the viticulture business, big crops mean uneven ripening and unripe grapes don't convert to good wine. Grape growers know that if they stress the vines by pruning the vines and thinning grape bunches, they will achieve a higher quality in the winery. When grapevines are stressed, they react by diverting all of their resources to ensuring the next generation of seeds (inside the grapes) will be adequately fed. As a result, fewer grapes mean a crop that ripens at the same time and produces concentrated juice and flavor.

Some of the best wines from Australia come from vineyards that yield less than a quarter ton per acre. Most wines in California are derived from vineyards that yield 2-12 tons per acre. We can do some basic math to determine how many grapes go into a bottle or a case of wine.

One cluster = 40-60 grapes      
One pound of grapes = 4.5 clusters   
One bottle of wine= 2.75 pounds of grapes.                                              
One bottle of wine = 500-750 grapes                                                           
One ton of grapes= 9000 clusters 
One ton of grapes= 60 cases (720 bottles)     
One acre = 2 to 12 tons   
One acre = 120-720 cases 
One acre= 1,440 to 8,640 bottles 

Memorize this chart in case you are ever a contestant on Jeopardy.