Monday, October 13, 2008

Pressing Wine in the WinePod

Well, folks, if you have been following along with our WinePod adventures, yesterday was press day.  Pressing extracts juice from the grapes by pushing down on them and squeezing the liquid out. (It's kinda like stomping on grapes, which is not done much anymore.)  

The liquid that is squeezed out is called Press Wine, or Press Juice.  Press Wine is basically the dregs of the juice which may contain remnants of seeds, skins, etc.  It looks cloudy and is thicker than the juice that comes about naturally just by the weight of grape on grape. This natural, highly coveted juice, is called Free Run Wine.  Sometimes wine makers choose to add some Press Wine to the Free Run Wine to add structure and depth but it is purely a matter of choice.

Winemonkey and I had a little trouble with our WinePod press, which is supposed to do all the hard work of pressing down the grapes and bringing up the dregs in the press basket.  Alas, this was not to be as we seemed to have stripped a piece of the press.  Instead, we pressed the wine manually -- which is to say by hand -- which requires some patience, a good deal of muscle, and a lot of paper towels to clean up the grape mess that results. 

We did it, but not without trouble, and then siphoned the wine into two 5-gallon jars and two 1 gallon jars.  The wine looks good -- a deep, dark Cabernet Sauvignon color -- and it tastes like, well, young wine!  It is still a bit harsh (it is not through with Malolactic Fermentation, or MLF, yet which is the process of changing the harsh malic acids naturally present in grapes to softer lactic acids) and needs some ageing, but all in all we are pleased.

The wine will sit in these jugs (pictured) for one week until we run another MLF test to see if the process is complete. Once that stage is over we can move the wine in to our freshly steam cleaned French oak barrel for ageing. We still have a little clean up to do today but we are almost there.  Oh, and if anybody wants a giant pale of grape must (it's supposed to be good for your skin you know!) just let us know.  We've got one! ;)



  1. Having been a home winemaker for years, I'd say thatpicture at this stage looks like an accident about to happen. An airlock would be more prudent than solid bungs, as slight temp fluctuation or residual CO2 from MLF would Blow the plugs or explode trhe carboy!

  2. ha, I found your site through google search when I saw a winepod picture on Yahoo. I'm going to try to follow the adventures of the 'winepod rookies' on your site. it looks like you guys are having a blast on your initial run.

  3. I thought that the Winepod was supposed to do all of the work for you. Why did you have to pour the juice off into the other containers?

  4. WOW! Sounds like quite the adventure ... lol!


  5. Burgundy wine
    (French: Bourgogne or Vin de Bourgogne) is wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France.[1] The most famous wines produced here - those commonly referred to as Burgundies - are red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes or white wines made from Chardonnay grapes. Red and white wines are also made from other grape varieties, such as Gamay and Aligoté respectively. Small amounts of rosé and sparkling wine are also produced in the region. Chardonnay-dominated Chablis and Gamay-dominated Beaujolais are formally part of Burgundy wine region, but wines from those subregions are usually referred to by their own names rather than as "Burgundy wines".

    Burgundy has a higher number of Appellation d'origine contrôlées (AOCs) than any other French region, and is often seen as the most terroir-conscious of the French wine regions. The various Burgundy AOCs are classified from carefully delineated Grand Cru vineyards down to more non-specific regional appellations. The practice of delineating vineyards by their terroir in Burgundy go back to Medieval times, when various monasteries played a key role in developing the Burgundy wine industry. The appellations of Burgundy (not including Chablis).

    Overview in the middle, the southern part to the left, and the northern part to the right. The Burgundy region runs from Auxerre in the north down to Mâcon in the south, or down to Lyon if the Beaujolais area is included as part of Burgundy. Chablis, a white wine made from Chardonnay grapes, is produced in the area around Auxerre. Other smaller appellations near to Chablis include Irancy, which produces red wines and Saint-Bris, which produces white wines from Sauvignon Blanc. Some way south of Chablis is the Côte d'Or, where Burgundy's most famous and most expensive wines originate, and where all Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy (except for Chablis Grand Cru) are situated. The Côte d'Or itself is split into two parts: the Côte de Nuits which starts just south of Dijon and runs till Corgoloin, a few kilometers south of the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges, and the Côte de Beaune which starts at Ladoix and ends at Dezize-les-Maranges. The wine-growing part of this area in the heart of Burgundy is just 40 kilometres (25 mi) long, and in most places less than 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide. The area is made up of tiny villages surrounded by a combination of flat and sloped vineyards on the eastern side of a hilly region, providing some rain and weather shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. T

    he best wines - from "Grand Cru" vineyards - of this region are usually grown from the middle and higher part of the slopes, where the vineyards have the most exposure to sunshine and the best drainage, while the "Premier Cru" come from a little less favourably exposed slopes. The relatively ordinary "Village" wines are produced from the flat territory nearer the villages. The Côte de Nuits contains 24 out of the 25 red Grand Cru appellations in Burgundy, while all of the region's white Grand Crus are located in the Côte de Beaune. This is explained by the presence of different soils, which favour Pinot Noir and Chardonnay respectively. Further south is the Côte Chalonnaise, where again a mix of mostly red and white wines are produced, although the appellations found here such as Mercurey, Rully and Givry are less well known than their counterparts in the Côte d'Or. Below the Côte Chalonnaise is the Mâconnais region, known for producing large quantities of easy-drinking and more affordable white wine. Further south again is the Beaujolais region, famous for fruity red wines made from Gamay. Burgundy experiences a continental climate characterized by very cold winters and hot summers. The weather is very unpredictable with rains, hail, and frost all possible around harvest time. Because of this climate, there is a lot of variation between vintages from Burgundy. You can find more info at: