One of the questions we get asked from time to time is can the manual grape destemmer/crusher we offer be motorized? The short answer to this question is of course you can. All you need to do is to rig a pulley onto the crank shaft and attach an electric motor with a belt. Straight forward. We’ve actually had a couple of customers do this.
While you can motorize the grape destemmer/crusher with a little ingenuity, the fact of the matter is that you have to do so with a little caution. The main issue are the bushings. These are the parts that hold the turning shafts into place. On this unit the bushings are made of a hard, heavy nylon. The shafts spin in a hole through the nylon. This is completely adequate for hand-cranking and slow motorization, but what you don’t want to do is motorize this unit to go any faster than necessary. High speeds will unnecessarily over heat and wear down these bushings.
I’d also like to add a little perspective to this issue. This manual grape destemmer/crusher is rated at 2,000 pounds an hour. This means that in just one hour you can crush and destem enough grapes to make about 125 gallons of wine. That’s with normal, everyday, human-powered hand-cranking. So gearing the motorized speed to match that of a human would be more than sufficient.
With all that being said, I think it’s pretty clear that the manual grape destemmer/crush is an extremely useful piece of wine making equipment, with or without a motor. It’s also at a tremendous price right now, at least while our current inventory lasts, and shipping is free.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.