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mikeg77 10-17-2008 03:56 PM

Pressing grapes
 
I'm about to press the grapes and was wondering if anyone had a good technique on how to do this. It is a relatively small batch and I don't have a press. I intended to do it by hand but was wondering if a juicer wouldn't actually be more efficient. Any done this before or see a reason why it would be a negative?

Nurmey 10-17-2008 04:03 PM

From what I understand, you want to gently break up the grapes not pulverize. If you crush the seeds they give you a bad flavor (tannins?). I have not done this personally just read about it but I'm sure one of our wine experts will jump in soon.

mikeg77 10-17-2008 04:06 PM

That makes sense.. Any other ideas how to press without a press?

Yooper 10-17-2008 04:19 PM

For small size batches, I put the grapes in an enormous grainbag for the crush, and break them up. I ferment that about 5 days, then pull the grainbag out and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze the juice. It's not ideal, but it keeps the seeds whole and keeps the skins in the bag as well. You can use 3 or 4 bags, if you have that many grapes.

When I had a larger batch (65 pounds of grapes), I sanitized a big rubbermaid type container, and did my best "I Love Lucy" grapestomping. Then, after it fermented about 5 days, I strained the must through the large grain bag as it went into the fermenter.

Nurmey 10-17-2008 04:22 PM

That's where you run into problems talking to someone with incomplete knowledge. My little wine book doesn't specify. I did see a reference on line about using a sanitized potato masher. The others said either with hands or feet. I don't think I could whole heartedly recommend feet!

Nurmey 10-17-2008 04:23 PM

Ha! I so glad that Yooper popped in. Although just as I was typing the thing about the feet, she was answering that she used feet. :D

Yooper 10-17-2008 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nurmey (Post 902121)
Ha! I so glad that Yooper popped in. Although just as I was typing the thing about the feet, she was answering that she used feet. :D

Well, I did sanitize them first, of course!

I put the grapes in the big container, and sulfited them. Then, sanitized my self up to the knees by soaking in star-san, and walked on them. That was only because hand crushing 65 pounds of grapes seemed like way to much work to me!

The last few batches have had less grapes, and the hand squeezing in the mesh grain bag works just fine! Whatever you use- make sure it's sanitized.

EvilTOJ 10-22-2008 09:17 AM

I recently did a batch of grapes, and I don't have a press (yet) either. I've tried the mashing with feet, plus mixing around by hand to get the rest of the grapes I may have missed worked alright. Like Yooper, I also put the skins and seeds and other junk into a grain bag so it's there to ferment and I'll squeeze em out when the primary ferment is done.

mikeg77 10-22-2008 07:15 PM

Just and Update. I pressed by hand using a mesh bag and a bucket. I'm sure it wasn't ideal, but I got more than enough juice so I'm happy.


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