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Pressing Matters

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2007 12:00 am

Today we pressed grapes for the first time this year. Think of pressing as literally trying to squeeze EVERY PENNY of juice out of the grapes.

Most times, here in Lodi, you want to wind up with a few bins of grape skins and seeds that are so dry they stick together to form purple baseballs.

The most "fun" part of doing the first crushing or pressing of the vintage is that you often experience "winemaker's amnesia".

At Borra Vineyards, Assistant Winemaker Markus Niggli and I were looking at the first chest-high, one-ton bin of fermented Grenache thinking, "How the heck did we dump that huge thing into the top of the press last year?"

Somehow, I got the bright idea to look at all the photos I took of pressing last year (great for websites!), but realized all I had were pictures of yours truly smiling at the juice with no bins in sight. It's hard when you only do things ONCE a year!

Another fun pressing moment is when grape seeds start shooting at you like 2mm brown bullets — and they can HURT! They get caught in the slats along the outside of the press, and once the airbag inside builds up to 1 atmosphere of pressure, they pop out at you. Hit the deck!