2017 pressing...

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JohnT

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Last Saturday was pressing day at the johnT winery.

I told everyone to show up at 9am, while I started pressing at 7:30 am. When we start pressing, there is hardly enough room in the winery to move, so I like to start well before everyone shows up and clear out the first couple of primaries so that there is some room for people to work.

By the time folks started showing up, I already had the barrel reserve (cab franc) free run in the tank and its skins in the press and working.

I must sound like a broken record. Each year I stress just how great the crew worked together. To say that they were fantastic is an understatement! Once they showed up and got to work, I found myself with VERY little to do as they were all experienced and eager to jump in and help. All I did this time was observe, supervise, and dispense advice when needed (which was not too often). They were so good that they even scrubbed out all of the primaries and had them stacked up to be put away. This is a job I save for the day after pressing and was overjoyed that they took care of it.

The day was a series of cycles (for each varietal) of…

skim the cap of grape skins into the press,
pump (free run from the primary as well as wine from the press) into the appropriate tank,
wait and give the press some time to work,
fork the grapes in the press,
wait and give the press some time to work,
break down press, dump spent skins on the compost pile,
and repeat..

It was a lovely day Saturday so the waiting periods (the bulk of the time spent on press day) was spent outside, finishing off the leftover beer from crush, and then pulling some corks from my cellar. It was fun and much more social than crush.

While pressing, there was one hiccup. It seems that one of the bolts that affix the wooden staves to the steel retention band had caught on the plunge plate. Not a problem since I had replacement staves as well as replacement bolts. It took 20 minutes to remove the old stave, and bolt in a new one. I love it when problems get solved quickly.

Another new thing we did this year was either a stroke of genius or an example of stupidity.

We normally schlep 5 gal buckets of wine flowing from the press to the tanks while we pump the free run juice to the tanks. This year it struck me that I could simply stick the pump hose into the 5 gal bucket.. forehead slap time… DUH…. no schlepping is required! Why we never thought of this before is beyond me!

So, the day went on. Sit around and let the press do its job, then break down the press and move on to the next varietal. My press is hydraulic with a regulator that allows you to set the amount of pressure to be applied, so there was no need to even get up to crank the press. It is just “set it and forget it”.

We finished up around 6pm. I am happy to say that the expected volume for each wine was met. We left the last load of grapes in the press and whatever crew remained headed out to my favorite steakhouse for dinner.

For the last several years I have treated the crew that had showed up for both crush and pressing, and remained until the pressing was complete, to a steak dinner. These remaining folks are the diehard rock stars.The least I can do is treat them to a nice steak dinner.

The steaks were thick, tender, and 24 ounces. By the time dinner was through, we all went our separate ways. I will see them in a couple of weeks for racking.

Here are a couple of pictures. I hope pressing went well for everybody!

1) My niece (the daughter I always wanted) taking charge of the press.She handled it like a pro!
2) Wine flowing easy from the press.
3) A mountain of spent skins!
4) Best Steak in town!

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JohnT

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Now to give everything a scrub-down, then deal with those pesky fruit flies!
 

JohnT

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If I had that pile of pressings, I'd have a bunch of drunk deer!!!


We do.. "The Drunk Deer" are on my fall entertainment schedule every fall and spring. I love it when they see me and look at me with those glassy "I love you man" eyes. LOL

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JohnT

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No sooner than I finished cleaning my winery, then it is time to rack!

Had a few guys offer to help out on Saturday. I think that I will rack all vintages. Should be fun as long as my pump holds out.
 

NorCal

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I missed this the first time around. Always love your organization and really making it a fun time for all those involved.
 
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