How many gallons of wine are in a ton of grapes?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

How many gallons of wine are in a ton of grapes?

—Mark, Wilton, Calif.

Dear Mark,

You’re asking to convert a weight (2,000 pounds) of fruit into a liquid volume, for which there is no exact calculation due to innumerable variations such as the presence of seeds, stems, skins and “M.O.G.” (material other than grapes) in any given “ton of grapes,” but we can still make a pretty good estimate. In general, a winemaker expects to get slightly more than two 60-gallon barrels of wine from 1 ton of grapes. To take it a little further, 1 gallon is equivalent to about 3.8 liters, and a 12-bottle case of wine is 9 liters, so 1 ton of grapes is roughly equivalent to 120 gallons of wine, aka 2 barrels, aka 50 cases, aka 600 bottles (more or less). That also means it takes about 3.3 pounds of grapes to make a bottle of wine.

—Dr. Vinny

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