Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pressing Shiraz

After five days on its skins – only four of them spent fermenting – the Shiraz was ready for pressing this morning and Philip and I helped Best Beloved play with one of his new toys. Some vinyards leave wine fermenting on its skins for up to several months, but because our difficult weather conditions can give rise to harsh overtones in the finished wine, BB wanted to press this morning.

Prior to the new toys' arrival last week, we had always pressed using a diddy little thing that took only a couple of litres at a time, and then we had to strain the results through a muslin sock. Those days are long past, and “Ooooh! I like it...” BB said when we had poured about 20 litres of must into the press, built up to the screw thread with bricks and blocks (the press is designed for at least 40 litres of must so we had to make up the difference in space in order to engage the screw thread), and figured out how to operate the ratchet mechanism for maximum pressure with minimum effort.

Separating the free-running juice from the skins.

Shiraz has a beautiful colour.

Oooops.  Small spill...

Pressed juice that will be more tannic is
fermented separately in a gallon jug.

We had a small mishap, but after only an hour and a half of comparatively easy work we had separated the free-run or lightly pressed juice for fermentation in the stainless steel tank from the pressed juice which can be added at later date after a separate fermentation if the wine needs more tanin.

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