Behind the Scenes: Hand-pressed wine

Back in November our winemaker, Richard, pressed a portion of the Cabernet Franc grapes by hand. He used a traditional basket press to do the job, a design that’s been used by winemakers for thousands of years. It’s labor-intensive, but worthwhile. “The method you use to ferment wine depends on the age of the vine,” explains Richard. To ensure each batch is aged properly, we separate the juice of the younger vines from the juice produced from the older vines. “Eventually we’ll combine them when we bottle the wine, but for now we need to age them separately.”

Basket press

Richard removes one side of the basket press and reveals the pressed grapes.

Most of the time, we use a large pressing machine to process our grapes, but when we need to do a small batch, such as these grapes from the young Cabernet Franc vines, we do it by hand in the basket press.

Pressed cabernet franc grapes

A close-up shot of the pressed grapes.

Shoveling pressed grapes into compost bucket

Richard shovels the leftover grape skins into a compost bucket.

Juice flowing from basket press

The juice flows quickly from the basket press.

Working a basket press

Richard has to use some elbow grease to turn the press.

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4 Responses to Behind the Scenes: Hand-pressed wine

  1. George Furbish says:

    I love the explanation, and especially the photos.

  2. Greenvale says:

    Thanks, George! Next week we’ll be posting photos of how we press our Merlot grapes. Check it out and let us know what you think!

  3. Janet says:

    I love to see this, especially with Cabernet Franc which is my favorite. Thanks for sharing.

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