Press technology - bladder still the best?

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I've decided that this last harvest is the last one I am going to press
by 'hand'. So I've been looking into presses - both traditional ratchet
and bladder.

1. I recall that bladder pressing is 'gentler' which doesn't pull as
much tannin. For you bladder pressers, can you validate this?

2. I have seen that pressing a partial load with a bladder is possible
if you partially inflate before adding the must so you get even
distribution. Has this been practical for you?

3. Also need your thoughts on press sizing. How long do you press for?  
This has implications for how many press loads to size for.

4. Do you use the bag on the outside of the press or do you press at low
enough pressures that it isnt needed?

5. Do you feel you have better control over press pressure than with a
ratchet press?

6. Lastly, what are your thoughts on best practices for using a bladder
press other than the questions above?

thx,
dan

Re: Press technology - bladder still the best?

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Not really.  Bladder presses are much gentler on the _presser_ (you) though.
:^)

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It works, but I wouldn't care to go below ~60% capacity.

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I have often left the press under pressure all night - especially when
pressing white grapes for juice.  The highest Brix stuff comes at the end,
and it's also the clearest.  You need to get up once or twice to empty the
catch bucket though.

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I've never bothered with a bag - mainly because I wouldn't know where to get
one that's big enough, but also because they tend to get in the way.
Besides, purple geysers in your eye or on your white shirt are part of the
full body winemaking experience!  :^D

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No.  You _have_ control over the press pressure with a bladder press;  you
have _no_ control with a ratchet press.

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For safety reasons, use water pressure to inflate the bladder.  If you use
air pressure, a bladder rupture releases enormous kinetic energy which
presents a serious safety risk.  Having someone get hurt while you're making
wine at home is a definite buzzkill.  :^(

In any case, be sure not to leave picking shears, sticks or any pointy
objects in the basket.  I've been using a bladder press since 1987 and have
not popped one yet - but I'm pretty careful.

Tom S



Bladder press pressure
<major snip>

: In any case, be sure not to leave picking shears, sticks or any pointy
: objects in the basket.  I've been using a bladder press since 1987 and
have
: not popped one yet - but I'm pretty careful.
  Tom S

Tom, do you do whole berry press on your Chardonnay or do you crush first?
That is, can you get adequate pressure from a typical home water line to
press whole berries?  I've tried whole berries with a small ratchet press
and it was damn near impossible without bolting the press to the floor.
Looking for an alternative.

Tim O



Re: Bladder press pressure

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I have never done whole cluster pressing because I don't believe you get the
best part of the fruit that way.  I crush and cold soak the fruit with
pectic enzyme and press the next day.

However, I'm sure that 3 atmospheres in a bladder press will do the trick if
that's (whole cluster) your schtick.  :^)

Tom S



Re: Bladder press pressure
Tom S (toms@dontspampacbell.net) wrote:

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FWIW, I do whole cluster pressing on my chard every year, and we're
able to do it at 2 bars or less.  That's as high a pressure as the
press (Vaslin-Bucher membrane press) will develop.

I think the decision on whether or not to do it has to depend on the
grapes and the year.  We've found that if we don't do it, we get
harsher phenolics than we want, and have to fine them later.

Dave
****************************************************************************
Dave Breeden                                           breeden@lightlink.com

Re: Bladder press pressure

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Yeah!  Exactly my point.

I don't _mind_ fining for excess phenolics later on.  I feel that their
presence adds a _lot_ to the character of good Chardonnay.  Actually, it's
pretty nice on Pinot Grigio too - and I'll bet the same approach would work
on other white varietals - e.g., Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Blanc. ??.

I'm very familiar with late fining of white wines.  It's an option that
permits the construction of a big wine that is quite harmonious among all
its components.

But that is a style related issue.  If your style is to produce _pretty_
wines with minimal intervention, then fining is something you want to avoid.
You also wouldn't be using any, or not much, oak.

Those are winemaker-specific issues.  You and I each know what our benchmark
is, and what we are trying to accomplish - and I'll bet we each have
different views on what it is and how to achieve it.

Tom S



Re: Bladder press pressure
Tom S (toms@dontspampacbell.net) wrote:

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Um, no.  I'm right and you're wrong.

:-)

Dave
****************************************************************************
Dave Breeden                                           breeden@lightlink.com

Re: Bladder press pressure

Tom S wrote "I have never done whole cluster pressing because I don't
believe you get the
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Tom, am I correct that you crush the grapes, add pecitc enzyme and let the
juice sit on the skins overnight until you press the next day?  What's the
max. time you've let Chardonnay juice sit on skins before pressing?  Thanks.

Bill Frazier
Olathe, Kansas USA



Re: Bladder press pressure

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A day or so.  I'll probably experiment in future with extending that to 3 or
4x just to see how the wine tastes.  Maybe 1 barrel's worth in new wood -
just for fun.  :^)

Tom S



Re: Bladder press pressure


.
. > Tom, do you do whole berry press on your Chardonnay or do you crush
first?
. > That is, can you get adequate pressure from a typical home water line to
. > press whole berries?  I've tried whole berries with a small ratchet
press
. > and it was damn near impossible without bolting the press to the floor.
. > Looking for an alternative.
.
. I have never done whole cluster pressing because I don't believe you get
the
. best part of the fruit that way.  I crush and cold soak the fruit with
. pectic enzyme and press the next day.
.
. However, I'm sure that 3 atmospheres in a bladder press will do the trick
if
. that's (whole cluster) your schtick.  :^)
.
. Tom S
.
Actually, for my chardonnay I take the same approach you do, crush cold soak
for 12-24 hours and then press.  But I only make a chardonnay when I buy a
new barrel (and barrel ferment), which is once every 2 or 3 years.  I was
going to use whole cluster pressing for some Gewurz that is usually
available.  Sounds like a bladder press would work.  This year the grapes I
wanted didn't come through so I made a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc from
juice.  It will be a summer sipper to go with the 2003 Chardonnay.

Tim




Re: Bladder press pressure
Tim O'Connor (jimo@interchange.ubc.ca) wrote:


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Hi Tim,

Okay, even I, who am so phenolics averse that I turn 1/2 a days
worth of Riesling pressing into 3 days worth of riesling pressing by
doing them all whole cluster, don't do that to Gewurz.  For Gewurz,
I do something like what Tom is describing--crush and de-stem, cold
soak on the skins for 12-24 hrs, and then press and ferment.  I've
always had it in mind that much of the varietal character in Gewurz
comes from the skins, and so from skin contact.  


Dave
****************************************************************************
Dave Breeden                                           breeden@lightlink.com

Re: Bladder press pressure
Dave Breeden wrote:
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Exactly - to get the spice and characteristic aromatics from Gewurz you
really need to get some skin contact. Phenolics are part of the style
anyway when making a big Alsatian style Gewurz.

Ben


Re: Bladder press pressure
Dave Breeden wrote:
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Exactly - to get the spice and characteristic aromatics from Gewurz you
really need to get some skin contact. Phenolics are part of the style
anyway when making a big Alsatian style Gewurz.

Ben


Re: Bladder press pressure

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I've often been tempted to try my hand at Gewurtztraminer, but I'd like to
do it in the Alsatian style, which would probably be closer to the way you
and I make Chardonnay.  I'd probably use a 2 year old barrel for the
fermenter though.

Tom S



Re: Bladder press pressure


:
: > I was
: > going to use whole cluster pressing for some Gewurz that is usually
: > available.
:
: I've often been tempted to try my hand at Gewurtztraminer, but I'd like to
: do it in the Alsatian style, which would probably be closer to the way you
: and I make Chardonnay.  I'd probably use a 2 year old barrel for the
: fermenter though.
:
: Tom S


Thanks Dave, Ben and Tom regarding the Gewurtztraminer, it looks like I
won't be doing any whole cluster in the near future after all!
Tim




Re: Press technology - bladder still the best?

Thanks Tom,

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Does 'all night' make sense for reds as well? Seems that you would be
using minimal pressure if you are going to press for this long - is this
correct? Is 'all night' for gentleness or for maximum extraction?
If you go all night, how many press batches do you do (does it take a
few days)? Trying to determine size here and the impact of how many
batches it would require.

 
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Yeah - I agree, its the wine marking its spot...



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And by control you mean the ability to measurably use a certain pressure
(1 bar, etc) vs the 'feel' of a ratchet?



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Yep, I understand the safety best practices and agree. Was also
wondering though about things like you mentioned above - pressing all
night, what pressure to use, etc. Different techniques for red vs white.

Re: Press technology - bladder still the best?

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I wouldn't exactly call 3 bar overnight "gentle".  I do this on white must
to get the maximum yield of juice, and especially all the "goodies" from the
fruit, which seems to lie close to the skin.  The juice ends up with both
higher phenolic content and pH.  The former I address later with fining (if
necessary) and the latter immediately before fermentation with tartaric
acid.

For red wines you reach diminishing returns pretty quickly, so overnight
pressing really isn't necessary.  Also, the stuff at the end can be
_extremely_ tannic - which you may or may not like in your wine.

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I can get a ton's worth of must into my press, although it may take one or
two partial press cycles to make enough room for everything to fit.  IOW,
fill the press, close the lid, apply pressure for awhile to drain most of
the liquid from the pomace, open the press, add more must, close the lid,
press again, repeat as necessary until all the must is in and then press
until nothing comes out.

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Actually, I've never bothered with changing the factory setting on the
pressure regulator.  When you first apply pressure, however, you need to be
ready to shut off the water now and then or you'll have massive geysers of
must shooting all over the place because the liquid can't make its way
through the pomace fast enough.  Easy does it until the pomace is fairly
well drained.  With practice you'll get the feel for it.

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Leave the stems in when pressing white must.  They provide vias for the
juice to follow so the pressing goes more smoothly.  Also, pectic enzyme
helps break down the slipperiness of the must (whites) which helps prevent
shooting fountains of must.  This is particularly an issue with certain
varietals, e.g. muscat.  Some winemakers add rice hulls to the same effect.
Either technique will improve your yield of white juice.

Tom S



Re: Press technology - bladder still the best?
Thanks Tom - this is exactly what I was looking for.

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If I have this right it seems that for reds it sounds like it makes
sense to size such that at the end of your press (with repeatedly adding
more must as the juice drains out) you can accomodate the quantity you
like to make (for you upto 1 ton).
This minimizes having to remove some of the must after pressing.

I like your thoughts on managing the control of pressure with the water
valve. This makes sense.

thx,
dan

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