What Is Wine Pressing? [A Guide]

Wine pressing is a stage of the winemaking process. This comes after the de-stemming and the crushing process which releases the ‘free run’ juice from the grapes.

What Is Wine Pressing? [A Guide]

After this juice is produced, there is often a lot more juice left in the grapes which can only be extracted from the grapes using a wine press. 

The more grape juice you have, the more wine you can produce! Read on for a detailed guide on wine pressing. 

What Is A Wine Press?

Pressing wine is a big part of the winemaking process. A wine press is a process that extracts the juice from the grapes. 

The wine press is one of the later tools needed to make wine.

First, you will need to put the grapes through a crusher in order to remove the individual grapes from their stems and release some juice before the grapes are pressed. 

The first stage of crushing and destemming the grapes does mean that some of the juice from the grapes is released, but the pressing stage releases more juice from the grapes, meaning more wine! 

How Was Wine Pressing Done Historically?

Historically, pressing machines weren’t around. Instead, the wine was pressed by hand. Sometimes, the wine was even pressed by people stomping on the grapes. 

This may sound very unhygienic, but there were very different times. This is when the wine pressing machine came in, though. And now it is done through these machines. 

Red Vs White Wine 

Red wines are usually made from juice that is pressed, whereas white wines sometimes aren’t pressed. However, the best white wines are made from free run juice. 

Two Types Of Wine Presses 

Batch Press

There are two types of wine presses. One is called a batch press, and the other is called a continuous press.

Batch presses can get through between 1 and 5 metric tonnes every hour when a team of winemakers are involved. 

This is the type of wine press that is usually used by small winemarks or medium sized wineries. You will put the grapes into the grape press one batch at a time.

Depending on the size of your wine press, it will be able to handle different quantities of grapes. The bigger the wine press, the more grapes it can handle. 


Continuous Press

The other type of wine press is known as a continuous press. This usually is used in much bigger wineries and wine factories.

These continuous presses are usually motorized and so they are constantly working and are fed a continuous amount of grapes.

This wine press is able to press up to 100 metric tons per hour, pressing thousands of tons of grapes over a harvest.

Tips For Choosing A Wine Press

There are plenty of different tips and tricks to look for when you are choosing a wine press. These include: 

What Is Wine Pressing? [A Guide]
  • Consider that you can press lots of things with a wine press, not just grapes. You can press elderberries, apples and lots of other things with a wine press. Although they are designed to primarily press grapes, they can be used with lots of different fruits. 
  • Make sure that you crush all of the fruit before you start using the wine press. No matter what fruit you are pressing, you will need to crush it beforehand. Either crush it by hand or use a grape crusher in order to do this. 
  • Also, make sure to remove the stems before putting the grapes in the wine press. While the press will be able to handle some of the smaller stems, make sure you don’t have too many stems left in there. Leaving too many stems in there can give the wine a bad flavor.  You can use a de-stemmer in order to do this for you. 
  • Press white wine before fermentation and press red wine after fermentation. Lots of people presume that pressing the grapes happens before they are left to ferment, but when it comes to red wine, you should de-stem the grapes, crush them, then ferment them and then press the grapes at the end of the process.
  • Consider the size of the wine press that you will be needing. This depends on how much wine you are hoping to make. 

Things To Consider When Pressing Your Wine 

Pressure 

It is important to think about how much pressure you should apply when you are pressing the wine. Now that grape pressing is done mechanically, you will have to consider this.

If you apply too much pressure to the grapes, you may end up introducing some flavors to the wine that aren’t welcome! 

However, if you don’t apply enough pressure, you may not get enough juice out of the grapes as you might like. Practice makes perfect when it comes to pressure. 

It is a good idea to press the grapes until you think it’s coming towards the end and then switch out the container for a different one.

This way, if you squeeze a bit too far, you won’t have ruined all of the grape juice. 

Press Juice Vs Free Run Juice 

The free run juice is usually much nicer than the pressed juice. You should make sure you combine 90 percent free run juice and only 10 percent of pressed juice.

This means that the juice is mainly premium juice. The pressed juice adds color and tannins to the wine. 

Some wineries produce two different wines, one with less pressed juice than the other. These are known as grades.

The wine that is made from mainly free run juice will be sold as a top shelf wine, whereas the wine that is made from pressed juice will be served as a table wine.

Final Thoughts

Wine pressing is a very important stage of winemaking. It used to be done by hand (or foot!) but now it is performed by a machine.

Hopefully this detailed guide on wine pressing will help you on your winemaking journey! 

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