Friday, October 31, 2008

WineMaking 102: The Press!

If you had tried making your own wine up to 101, then you should have a bucket of fermenting grape+grape juice. The juice is what you want, and you want lots of it without the solid stuff - grape skin, seed, etc. So, you press. You should press when the sugar level of your fermenting grape juice has gone down to basically zero.

The basic concept that wine presses operate under is the same as it was more than 1000 years ago. This one is an old and simple wine press, consisting of a cylinder to contain your grapes and a ratchet.
The liquid will escape through the gaps on the cyliner and down the spout.

So first you dump everything, juice, skin, and all, into the cylinder.
At this point you will capture all the liquids into buckets and pour them into gallon glass bottles to further ferment it for a few months before you bottle them.

Now that you have all the grape skin, seeds, etc, which still contains tons of delicious future-wine grape juices, you need to press the liquid out of them. We stack blocks of wood on top of the grapes - because of this the press will not work as well if you have too little stuff to work with.
The blocks need to reach high enough for the ratchet to press down on.
Swing the ratchet until it clicks and basically you do this back and forth until it clicks for many many times. Until you get all the grape juice out.

Again, you store your fermenting grape juice in big glass bottles. It is important to fill them up as much as you can. You will cover them, usually with plastic, to keep them airtight. If they're not full they will have too much air for the fermentation to work properly - and also may induce bacterial growth (= vinegar!).

So now that we were done with that part, on to the Feast! Our lunch: fried soft shell crab :D



Loving the Wine-Making series. Great stuff.

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