We wanted to let you take a peek behind the scenes of our pressing process, where we press the grapes to extract the juice from the pulp.
Pressing is one of the more enjoyable processes at the Estate in which the whole family can get involved. Our Shiraz grapes have been sitting, fermenting in big vats for just under 2 weeks. They are now ready to be pressed! We start by bucketing the grapes from the vat into the press. We had to do multiple presses as our basket press is fairly small and doesn't allow for larger quantities of grapes.
The basket press has a ratchet that is manually moved back and forth. We spread the work between multiple workers at the Estate as it can be quite hard work, particularly as you reach the end of the press. Moving the handle back and forth controls a circular wooden plate that pushes the grapes downwards to slowly extract the juice.
The basket press has slats in the wood. As the circular plate pushes down on grapes, the juice is forced through the slats of the wood and flows around the basket press into a small vat placed under the press. A pipe sits in the freshly pressed liquid and is attached to a pump. This pumps it into a variable capacity tank for storage, where it will remain until it is moved to barrels. This process continues until it becomes impossible to move the ratchet as all the juice has been extracted from the pulp of the grape. We then move the press outside to dump all the remaining wine press residue: the skins, the pulp, the seeds, etc... This residue/waste can be referred to as grape marc or pomace. It can be used as fertiliser and is even sometimes used as feed for livestock.
This is a very short post demonstrating some of the interesting aspects of the pressing process in wine making. Below is a video that you may like to watch as it further details the process with videos that help to visualise the process more than these photos can. Let us known what you think and what else you might be interested in learning more about!