I am wondering if grapes and grape juice are haram because they are a component in wine. I have talked to a sheikh and he says yes it is haram, but I also talked to some friends who studied Islam in depth and they say it depends how close to the expiry date or how rotten the grape product is. I am confused.
It's going to be what you expect: these things are halal.
The only context I can think of where grapes (or grape juice) might be haram is if they're being (mis)used for making alcohol, as per the hadith:
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: Wine is cursed from ten angles: The wine itself, the one who squeezes (the grapes etc), the one for whom it is squeezed, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, the one who carries it, the one to whom it is carried, the one who consumes its price, the one who drinks it and the one who pours it. -- [grade: hasan (good)] Sunan Ibn Majah (sunnah.com)
This is supported by an IslamWeb fatwa: "There is no harm in eating any kind of grapes as they are pure and eating them does not cause any harm or drunkenness..." -- IslamWeb, 2005
An IslamQuest.net fatwa identifies grapes as one of the Prophet's favorite foods (referencing Sunan al-Nabiyy):
Out of the different fruits, pomegranates, melons and grapes were his favorite. He would usually have his grapes one by one.
There's a hadith where the Prophet suggests drinking a drink made from grapes:
Narrated Ad-Daylami: We came to the Prophet and said to him: Messenger of Allah, you know who we are, from where we are and to whom we have come. He said: To Allah and His Apostle. We said: Messenger of Allah, we have grapes; what should we do with them? He said: Make them raisins. We then asked: What should we do with raisins? He replied: Steep them in the morning and drink in the evening, and steep them in the evening and drink in the morning. Steep them in skin vessels and do not steep them in earthen jar, for it it is delayed in pressing, it becomes vinegar. -- Book of Drinks (Kitab Al-Ashribah), Sunan Abi Dawud 3710 [grade: hasan sahih] (sunnah.com)
Ordinarily grape juice is halal, but fatawa warn that grape juice becomes haram if fermentation occurs, e.g.:
Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Is grape juice, orange juice and so on haraam or not? ... The answer is: It is undoubtedly halaal, unless it has begun to ferment and developed foam on top, in which case it is haraam, or if three days have passed according to the well-known view, even if it has not fermented; it still becomes haraam. -- Islam Q&A