The rewards and frustrations of home winemaking

Pressing the 2010 Syrah

Our 2010 Syrah from Live Oak Vineyard in Fallbrook fermented fast, and the brix were below 5 by the next week.  We decided to go ahead and press out the wine before it was completely dry so that we could do it on a weekend day. We took a quick brix test and an obligatory taste before we started pressing.

The brix were at 1, 3, and 0 in the three cans.  Definitely alright to go ahead with pressing!  We got everything set up, and had an early casualty — apparently if you grab the metal cage of the press the wrong way, it cuts your finger like a knife.

We didn’t have the full crew that we usually have, and so we forgot several details about setting up the press.  First, we forgot to put the bag over the grate before we started putting grapes into the press, and so juice splattered everywhere until we remembered.  Also, we forgot to attach a hose to the release valve, and water spewed all over the table the press was sitting on.  At least we did think to keep the water from getting into our freshly-pressed wine, and eventually remembered to put a hose there.  And, we forgot to stop seeds from dumping into the press when we emptied out the last of the must into the press.  But, it all worked out and we got it all pressed in a decent amount of time.

Free run juice -- running all over the table because we forgot the cover!

When we were done we had about 40-50 gallons of pressed wine, and stains all over various parts of our clothes and body.  The wine will sit in the trash cans for a few days to let the gross lees settle out before we rack the wine into our new 50-gallon Flextank (plus, it hasn’t arrived yet!). After that we add malolactic bacteria and wait for about 3-6 weeks for MLF to complete.

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