The rewards and frustrations of home winemaking

A Pressing Question

This is unexpected, both the syrah and the primitivo are ready to press this weekend.  It would not normally be a problem, except we are going to our friends’ wedding today in Fallbrook (an hour away, but oh so pretty there!).  That makes pressing today with the basket press not an option, leaving only one day to press, and pressing 250 pounds will take most of the day.  Now I have to decide if I want to risk trying an extended maceration with the primitivo, or go ahead and press it out tomorrow and get the malolactic fermentation going.

I turned to one of my favorite resources, “The Winemaker’s Answer Book” by Alison Crowe.  She is the “Wine Wizard” writer for Winemaker magazine.  So far, every little tedious question I have or decision to make has been in that book.  And, it didn’t let me down today, there are several paragraphs dealing with when to press and how to decide to do an extended maceration (besides the fact that you don’t have time to press!).  She suggests tasting some of the grapes left in the must to see if they taste green (in which case you should press) or if they taste like they still have some “goodies” to give back to the wine (and then wait).  I don’t know about any goodies, but those grapes definitely taste like bitter crap – eewww, yuck!  Looks like we’re pressing tomorrow!

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