Tools of the Trade – The Press
The press has got to be one of the coolest pieces of equipment in the winery.
These things are workhorses, and are the focal points of many actions in the winery. While there are a few different types of press (basket, bladder, membrane, bucket) the idea is more or less the same: separate the liquid from the solid. In the case of whites and rose wines, that means squeezing the fresh fruit until most of the juice is collected in a tank. In the case of red fermentations, that means pressing the fermented skins until most of the wine is and collected.
The unit pictured above is a membrane press, and really it is pretty simple. First you fill the press with grapes. Next the brown PVC material on the right hand side inflates, pressing the grapes against the drain channels on the left hand side. Voila, juice should be pouring out at this point! The type of press, how you operate it, and how clean you keep it can all make a big difference in the resultant wine or juice, so we usually spend a lot of time dialing them in.