Today we are crushing and pressing Roussanne grapes! It is such a fun and sticky process. Fun because we are with family, sticky because of the juice.
The grapes go in the top of the hopper and then are carried along by an auger to the crusher. The guys are picking petioles (leaf stems) and sticks.
Then they fall through the bottom where they are separated from the stems. The grapes fall out the bottom and the stems fall out the side and into a separate bucket.
Now we have a nice mix of crushed berries and juice. It sure goes a lot faster than stomping with our feet!
Once we have the fruit all crushed, it's time to press.
We use a bladder press, meaning that there is a "bladder" (like a thick rubber balloon) inside the metal drum. We fill the bladder up with water and that squishes out the grape juice. The green sleeve that you see goes around the metal drum. It helps the juice to flow down the sides nicely, instead of squirting out.
Now we load up the press as full as we can and then some, put the top on and start filling it with water.
Pressing takes longer than crushing but you also have more downtime while you wait for the bladder to fill. That is a great time to get a cup of coffee or have a snack!
Here it comes! The juice tastes so good and sweet. We have a cup nearby so that we can taste it whenever we want to.
Once we have a bucket full, we double strain it into drums. We store it in the drums during the fermentation process.
That's how you crush and press grapes! Now this juice can sit and perk and start becoming great wine. We have the strap around the drums to hold them steady on the pallet. It sure makes it easier to move around.
The blue drums have Roussanne juice in them. The white drum has Moscato Giallo juice in it.
Now we are finished with crushing and pressing Roussanne grapes. Soon we will be crushing our reds but that is a job for another day.
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