Squeezing the grapes – gently

23 days after we harvested our Regent we were ready to press. Fermentation was clearly finished (the lab confirmed that there was no residual sugar left) and so we got the box and the barrel from the cellar back to the surface (one section of our cellar has an elevator). The smell was terrific. Cloves, anise, nutmeg, cinnamon – something in that direction. 

Getting the mash in the press

Not having all equipment for this kind of winemaking we had to improvise a little. We used the forklift to lift box and barrel next to the press and a bucket to get the mashy juice into this central winemaking device. It’s a pneumatic press what means that air is used to inflate a canvas cover inside the press to squeeze the grapes. We used it as gently as possible only letting the press turn around twice using a pressure of 0.5 bar.

Operating the press

And after about 40 minutes we had a good 350l of red coming out for the box and 170l coming out of the barrel. That’s not a lot but we are starting small.

Proud winemaker

Again we used the forklift to lift the juice tub and let it float back in a tank avoiding the use of a pump.

Back in the tank

It was a pleasure to slurp the rest out of the bucket!

Tasting our first red

Now the good stuff is back in the cellar while we are preparing wooden barrels – old oak – for the next step hoping that malolactic fermentation will kick in. It will produce lactic acid making the wine smoother.

If I can get more appropriate barrels I think we’ll put the Silvaner in wood too after fermentation. Which will be harvested on Tuesday. It was way too much rain here the last weeks so let’s hope we’ll get a few dry days to bring it all home safely.

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