Monday, October 18, 2010

Stop the Presses!

No one's stolen our press. Yep, that's the news. This thing is so big that it remains unlocked, outside, sitting there for all to see. We lock up a lot of our crushing equipment and most of it lives indoors when the winery's closed, but the Diemme press is pretty massive. A small Japanese family may find it more roomy than some Tokyo flats. André the Giant would sleep comfortably inside it.

Our bad ass Diemme press
The other side of the press and one of our portable pumps

Once must has fully fermented into wine, we need to extract the wine and press the skins. That means that there's 2 types of wine at this point:  free-run (which will simply pour right out of the must) and wine that must be squeezed out. Free-run makes the best wine, but not pressing the must would leave you with only half the wine you intended to make. You have to press it. Here's how we get the must into the press:

Once the must is in the press, a large inflatable bladder inside the cylindrical tank is pumped up with air. It gently squeezes the wine out of the must and into the pan below the press. A full press cycles takes about 30 minutes, and the press inflates the bag, presses the must, deflates the bag, rotates, and repeats this cycle several times.

The wine that drips into the pan is then pumped into barrels or other fermentation tanks for secondary fermentation and aging. More info to come on that particular process...

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