After a long search and a late harvest, I got my half ton of Willamette Valley pinot noir grapes. Again this year, I can't talk about where they're from. But the quality is top drawer, grapes fit for a commercial winery, exactly what I was looking for.
Most home winemakers put up with u-pick vineyards that generally aren't farmed attentively. You can make good wine if you're picky about the source, but in my experience you more likely will end up with junky grapes that turn into junky wine that perpetuates the assumption that homemade wine isn't very good.
I learned quickly that you need the best grapes you can find, and that sourcing those grapes is paramount. With some hard work and some luck, I have some nice fruit in my garage and I'm really happy about it. Really happy.
I'll get into more specifics as we go. I'm looking at soaking the grapes for a few days, meaning I'll keep the crushed grapes and juice as cool as possible to allow color, flavor, and aroma to soak into the juice from the grape skins before fermenting the juice into wine. If all goes well, fermentation will start later next week and I'll press off the new wine in about 18 days or so. If you're interested, stay tuned.