In our last post we showed you how we use the basket press to process small batches of fermented grapes. This week we want to show you how we use the big press. The purpose of the press is to extract the remaining juice and wine from the grape skins.
Back in November our winemaker, Richard, pressed our 3.4 ton harvest of Merlot. The juice and skins fermented for 2 weeks before hitting the press. At this point the grape juice is fully fermented and is technically wine, but we use the press to extract flavor and texture from the grape skins.
The entire process takes 2 hours. Richard pours the fermented red wine into the machine where it goes through a number of cycles. First, pressure builds up and holds for a set period of time, then the pressure is released and the wine is rotated to break up the grape skins. Then the pressure is again increased to a higher point and the process is repeated. After pressing, the wine settles about 24 hours before barreling.
The skins and seeds stick to the funnel of the press.
Richard uses a pitchfork to scrape the last bits of skin and seeds into the press.
The juice flows through the press.