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This traditional means of making wine is well-loved for centuries. Since its invention, the practice has only become more refined. There are many different types of wine presses on the market today, but they all function in the same way. The application of a controlled pressure extracts the juice from the crushed fruit. However, it is not as simple as “smashing down” a bunch of grapes. The pressure must be perfect to avoid releasing unwanted tannins into the juices. This happens when the device crushes grape seeds. These seeds then intermingle with the resulting juice.
Traditionally, wine presses crush grapes, but these devices can crush and extract juices from other fruit. Since 6000 BC, humans have been making wines from various fruits. Yet, grapes have always been the golden standard in many areas. Winemaking is an ancient practice, one that us modern humans can do right in our homes.
Selecting The Right Wine Press
First, however, there is the matter of selecting the right wine press for the job. Essentially, consumers have two options to choose from Basket presses and bladder presses. This brief but handy guide will help you to understand the benefits and disadvantages of each. Before you commit yourself to the purchase of a wine press, read on.
Learn About The History Of Traditional Winemaking!
Bladder presses are the key for many who cannot or do not want to deal with the physical exertion necessary for the use of a basket press.
The Basket Press
A basket press is also sometimes referred to as a ratchet press due to the ratcheting system used to extract fruit juice. As the name might give away, this type of press consists of a basket into which one loads the grapes. Grapes in the basket are then pressed from the top and bottom. These presses are typically wooden in design, but stainless steel is a popular, modern and easy-to-clean solution.
The problem that many have with basket presses is that it is quite labor-intensive. The lever used to ratchet down the press requires some serious stamina. Also, due to the fact that one cannot crush the grapes too hard lest they release unwanted tannins into the juice, this human-operated device can leave behind a lot of juice. Basket presses are also ideal for making large quantities of wine, at least 20 gallons.
For traditional winemaking, the basket press could be the ideal wine press.
The Bladder Press
Compared to the basket press, the bladder wine press provides a more user-friendly experience. These presses also make smaller batches, of between 5 and 10 gallons. This makes them a great selection for wine enthusiasts who don’t want to make huge batches of wine.
During winemaking, grapes get put inside of an enclosed cylinder within the wine press. A liquid-filled bladder is in the center of the device, which suggests the press’ name. As the bladder fills, it presses the grapes against the sides of the cylinder. This results in the fruit squeezing from the center and outward, toward the sides. This results in an even application of pressure.
Bladder presses are the key for many who cannot or do not want to deal with the physical exertion necessary for the use of a basket press. These user-friendly wine presses do not require physical strength and they do not take up nearly as much room. It is often said that bladder presses create a higher-quality press than basket presses. The one downside to bladder presses is that they are more expensive than basket presses.
Factors to Consider In Choosing A Wine Press
A wine press is no small expense. It’s worthwhile to spend some extra time making careful considerations before buying. As you get closer to making a decision on a wine press style or brand, ask yourself these questions.
“Am I up to manual labor?” If you’re not interested in or capable of cranking the press by hand, which does require some strength and stamina, a basket press might not be for you.
“How much wine am I trying to make?” Size is a factor that you will have to consider in your purchase. If you buy a model that’s too large, you’ve essentially wasted money for a product that you won’t use to its capacity. If the model is too small, you may find yourself spending more time pressing your grapes than you’d been anticipating.
It is also worth considering how much time it takes to ensure the cleanliness and functionality of the wine press. Removing fruit stems and seeds can be an arduous task, as can cleaning and sterilizing the machine between uses. It is up to you to decide which wine press best suits your needs and expectations.