Pressing out the small lots

October 27, 2011



For the last couple of days, we have been focusing on pressing out our smaller lots of grapes, including the Syrah, the Cuvee Alis (a blend of Syrah and Grenache), and the Petite Sirah.

When we are pressing out a larger tank, we normally drain out as much of the wine as possible and then press the skins. Small lots are slightly different because the T-bins they are fermented in do not have valves through which to drain the wine. Instead of draining them, we first shovel as many of the skins out as possible and place them into macro bins.

We try to get as much of the cap out as we can at this stage, but the wine left behind in the T-bin after shoveling will still have a significant amount of grape skins in it.

Then we pump the mixture of skins and wine that is left behind out of the T-bin and into the press.

The upright metallic piece inside the press is called a ‘screen’. This is basically a large sieve that allows wine to pass through will trapping the skins and seeds in the press.

Then we take the skins that we shoveled into the macro bin and load them into the press as well. Once the fermentor is emptied and the press is filled, we can start the press cycle.

Each of these lots has to be processed separately, even though each of them is much smaller than the capacity of our press. It’s made for a fair number of pressloads over the last two days for a relatively small amount of wine, but that’s just how you have to play it.

The Syrah and the Cuvee Alis were pressed out on Wednesday, and we found that they were both completely finished with their fermentation. The Petite Sirah was pressed out today, and we found that it will need just a few more days to be completely done, so we’ve hooked the tank warmer up to it to help it along.

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.






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