Bladder press versus basket press

Discussion in 'Equipment & Sanitation' started by fafrd, Jun 18, 2017.

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  1. Jun 18, 2017 #1

    fafrd

    fafrd

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    I have use of a #50 basket press which works nicely, but I have the opportunity to access a new Lancman 80-liter rotating bladder press: https://lancman.net/product/fruit-press-lancman/vspx/

    I've read that bladder presses can apply greater average pressure to the skins while applying less peak pressure to the seeds (because the rubber bladder is more conformal than the wooden plunger), resulting in more 'goid' tannins from the skins and less 'bad' tannins from the seeds.

    Easier cleaning (at least with the tilting model), faster press time, and single-handed operation are other pluses, but my primary motivation is improved wine (meaning greater tannin extraction for heavy reds).

    The only negatives I've read about are the possibility of a bladder bursting and ruining a $1000 batch of wine, but that seems like an exceedingly liw-liklihood event after speaking with a couple manufacturers.

    So does anyone have expeience with both basket and bladder presses? Which is better for heavy reds? Are there any other pros and cons I am missing (other than the higher cost of a bladder press)?
     
  2. Jun 19, 2017 #2

    Johny99

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    I used to use a no. 40 basket press. Last year I bought the Lanceman. Simply put I love it. Much less work as the water pressure does the ratcheting. I think I get a more even press from the bladder and thus more gentle. Much more controllable. Note, I never had the patience to wait 30-40 minutes for each press in the basket. I also hate pulling the basket apart and fluffing the cake.

    For whites it is the best. I crushed last year but plan on trying to whole cluster press this fall. No way I could have done that in my basket press.

    The Lanceman is well made. I went for the all stainless with the tilt frame, as I'm getting old and I figure it is my last press. I also recommend the mesh "bag". Not necessary for grapes but it sure makes it easy to pull out the cake!

    If you can afford the $ I recommend it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  3. Jun 19, 2017 #3

    fafrd

    fafrd

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    Appreciate the post. Aside from the cost, are there any downsides to the Lancman versus a basket press in your experience?

    What size do you have any how many pounds of grapes are you able to fit through a single press run?

    What draws me to a bladder press is the control (as well as the single-handed operation). I found this article from Ridge interesting: https://blog.ridgewine.com/2014/08/20/getting-out-the-juice-press-operation-and-press-fractions/

    That level of control (and maximum pressure) seem to be pretty much impossible with a ratchet press...

    What pressure do you typically press your reds with before you quit?
     
  4. Jun 19, 2017 #4

    AkTom

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    That looks sweet. How much do they run? I need to sell my house and move.
     
  5. Jun 19, 2017 #5

    fafrd

    fafrd

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    About $1800 new with tax (picked up).

    Roughly 2X the cost of a new equivalent-sized basket press.
     
  6. Jun 19, 2017 #6

    AkTom

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    Thanks. Some things are worth paying for. This looks like it would be too.
     
  7. Jun 19, 2017 #7

    UBB

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    I'll be moving to a bladder press in the next season or two. It's not quite in the budget yet. I've refurbished an old circa 1930's basket press with brand new wood for the basket and press plate. Hope to get a nother year or two of it before retiring it for good.
     
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  8. Jun 20, 2017 #8

    Johny99

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    I can't think of any negatives as compared with the basket press. You do get a dryer press cake, more evenly dry so I suppose you could say possibly more undesirable components, but I can't taste it and usually due to volume, I combine my press fraction with free run.

    Well one disadvantage just occurred to me. It has to be full. I went for the 80 liter. If you only have 50 lbs or so, you either have to pre inflate the bladder, or add press cake from another press. That isn't an issue pressing the last part of a lot as I just put some press cake back in. However, when pressing a ~50 lb lot of white grapes, I had to partially inflate. Easy to do but my bladder doesn't inflate symmetrically so I had to kinda pull it over to fill. Might just be my bladder but it could be a common issue as well. In my mind I keep trying to invent some sort of annular spacer. In practice so far, I've just pressed the large lots first to have the cake as filler.

    You do have lots of control and just adjust the pressure regulator for control. Now mind you I just got it last year, but so fair I start with a setting of about a bar, let that do its thing while I socialize, then slowly increase. I tended to stop at 1.35 to 1.5 bar, just not knowing. I did press a portion of Cab franc at 1.5 and 2 bar to see the difference. Nothing I could taste right off and no notable difference as of Christmas, but I haven't tasted since then.

    So, last year I harvested just a hair under 3000 lbs over 4 weekends. Whites were ~300 lbs on two Saturdays and we picked, crushed and pressed, and cleaned up for lunch within 3 hours or so. It did take longer to clean up than press, that's all I remember. My crusher can handle 2 tons an hour, so that part didn't take too long.

    The Ridge post is interesting. I did at one point find a long winded treatise on presses that noted the commercial screw and pneumatic presses are entirely different than small scale basket or bladder presses and the latter have a hard time getting enough internal pressure to get too many harsh constituents. Can't remember where that was but it made me worry less about being overly harsh in pressing.

    P.S. AKTom if you in the are this fall i'll put you to work with it and you can see for yourself.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  9. Jun 20, 2017 #9

    AkTom

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    John, I'll be in Portland in August for a wedding. That's as close as I'll get for a while. When I get home the house goes on the market.
     
  10. Jun 20, 2017 #10

    fafrd

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    John,

    thanks for this very comprehensive and interesting post. If Washington State was a bit closer to the Bay Area, I would love to come by to see your press ;)

    Sounds as though you are pretty happy with it. We're probably going to be going with an 80-L as well, used almost exclusively for reds.

    So while I realize that whites will be different than reds, I'd appreviate any insight and/experience you might have as to whether my estimates are correct:

    I'm assuming 1000 lbs of red must can pretty safely be handled through three batches (so 333 lbs of must will fit in the basket, assuming bladder has been compressed). Using my basket press, 333 lbs of must wiil deliver 25-26 gallons of loose post-free-run, pre-press solids that compress to half that volume once pressing is done (so about 13 gallons of solids per 333 pounds once pressing is complete). So I'm thinking that volume of soluds should fit into the 80-L (21-gallon) basket, even after the volume consumed by the bladder is taken into account.

    I don't know how much volume you assume is consumed by the bladder in the empty/compressed state, but assuming it can be compressed down to 1-2 gallons when it is flattened, the basket may only hold 19-20 gallons of loose solids and will probably not hold the entire 25-26 gallon volume of loose solids initially.

    As I have done with my basket press, I was thinking I could use 'sequential-loading' to get the full volume of loose solids in if needed:

    -fill with loose solids
    -inflate bladder until solids are compressed by ~20% (or alternatively compress by hand in press or preconpress by hand)
    -empty bladder, at least enough to make space for the remaining solids
    -load additional loose solids
    -compress to completion

    Going over these numbers, I suppose an alternative would be to just bite the bullet and use 4 press cycles of 250 lbs / 19-20 gallons of loose solids each.

    What would be your suggestion as the easiest / quickest manner to press 1000 lbs of red must (~77 gallons of loose solids)? 3 pressings or 4?

    And as far as minimum, I was told the basket needs to be 'at least half-full', meaning at least 40-liters / ~11 gallons of loose solids corresponding to about 150 lbs of red must - would you agree with this, or would you think that by pre-filling the bladder, the basket could be filled with as little 27-liters / 7-gallons of loose solids (meaning from 100 lbs of red grapes)?

    With my basket press, cleaning was involved enough that I was highly motivated to 'pack it to the gills' and minimize the number of press runs / cleanings. With a bladder press (and especially this Lancman tilting model), unclear to me whether same approach makes sense or just pressing (and cleaning) multiple batches would easier.

    Which reminds me of one last question for you. If one were to use 'sequential-loading' to pack as much as possible into a lancman 80-liter press, would their be any concernes about being able to empty it when the pressing is complete? If the bladder has successfully 'filled' to its relaxed volume, the solid must 'tube' should slip off. But if the bladder is recompressed / emptied through suction at that stage and additional solids are loaded into that space, it should be impossible to refill the bladder back to that same relaxed volume. Would you have any concerns about not being able to empty the press in such a situatiin or is it a non-issue (impossible to fill enough that it cannot be emptied)?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  11. Jun 21, 2017 #11

    balatonwine

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    For what it is worth: the Speidel 90 liter bladder press is a little larger than the 80 liter Lancman, and $500 cheaper in price:

    https://morewinemaking.com/products/speidel-bladder-press-90-liters.html

    It does not have the tilt feature for clean out, but for the smaller 40 l and 90 l sizes, you really do not need a tilt feature for clean out. The basket is light, and just lift if up and the cake comes with it. See this video, at about 4 minutes in:

    [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoWtq1f2JRc[/ame]
     
  12. Jun 21, 2017 #12

    fafrd

    fafrd

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    Thanks for the link. Can the 90 liter be clraned as easily iby one person as the 40 liter cleaned in that video?

    Lancman makes a non-tilting 80-liter model for $1450 delivered: https://pleasanthillgrain.com/stainless-hydropress-fruit-apple-wine-grape

    That's about the same price as the 90 liter Speidel with tax and between the extra 10 liters of capacity and the stainless pan, I think I have a small preference for the stainless pan.

    The basket press I use has a painted pan and after many seasobs of use, there are paint flakes and corrosion that I need to put significant effort into cleaning before pressing...

    But I agree, if an 80 or 90 liter bladder press can cleaned as easily (and single-handedly) as shown in that video, $350 for a tilt mechanism may not be worth it...
     
  13. Jun 22, 2017 #13

    Johny99

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    ABB heck, what's 5 hours drive for an Alaskan? Come on by:h
     
  14. Jun 22, 2017 #14

    Johny99

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    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  15. Jun 22, 2017 #15

    balatonwine

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    Of course, that is a a manufacturer's video, so it is extra designed to look easy. ;)

    So to put this into perspective how easy it is (or not): 1000 lbs of destemmed grapes will create about 100 lbs of pumace (i.e. about 10% by weight). If you put in 300 lbs of grapes, you will lift, approximately 30 lbs of pumace (actually a little less for red grapes which should press dryer than whites). That is doable if you do not sequentially load (which is not really necessary since these units really are easy to empty and clean between loads -- unlike a basket press where sequential loading is more common). But if you want to lift 30 lbs, or not, is a personal** decision based on one's needs. Much like if one gets a hand cranked crusher destemmer versus one with an electric motor to process a ton of grapes.

    Finally, and for what it is worth, the 90 l unit I consider the upper limit without a tilt feature and the lower limit where the tilt feature may be useful depending on ones needs.

    ** And by personal I assume there is no one wondering why you are spending that much money to begin with.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
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  16. Jun 22, 2017 #16

    balatonwine

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    Those are all good reasons. And are things to consider even for a 29 year old looking to buy a press. :h
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
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  17. Jun 22, 2017 #17

    fafrd

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    Yeah, that pommace 'tube' is only about 1" thick, so of course if weighs very little. With a 90 liter press and filled to the brim so that the pommace 'tube' is close to the entire volume beyond the relaxed bladder, it would probably be a different story...

    Where are you coming up with that 10% by weight figure? Seems far too low to me. Here is how I would estimate for 1000 lbs of must:

    -whole-cluster grapes: ~1100 lbs (stems representing about 10% of weight)
    -destemmed and crushed: ~121 gallons of must weighing 1000 lbs
    -juice (both free-run and juice): 65% = ~78.65 gallons weighing ~629.2 lbs
    -pommace: 35% = ~42.35 gallons weighing ~370.8 lbs (1000 - 629.2)

    I have not weighed my juice or pommace, but by volume, I get about 10-11 gallons of pommace from 300 lbs of grapes. And since the solids sink, I assume they are heavier by volume than the juice. If I subtract 30 pounds for the stems and 184 lbs for the 23 gallons of post-press juice, I come up with 86 lbs for that pommace 'cake' (which was removed in pieces, so no idea if that weight is accurate). If I used the same 8-pounds-per-gallon weight for pommace as I do for juice, that weight would have been 80-88 lbs (so pretty similar density to the juice).

    Would be great to hear from anyone that has loaded 300 pounds of grapes (33 gallons of must) into their bladder press in a single shot - does the pommace tube weigh only 30 lbs or closer to 80 lbs?

    For 30 pounds of pommace loaded, I would't bother with a tilt mechanism. If it can be closer to 80-lbs, I would not be able to lift that / clean that single-handedly without a tilt feature, so it would become attractive.

    Seems as though a key factor is how full you plan to load your press. If you put 900 pounds of grapes through 5 press runs, each 6-gallon must 'tube' weighs about 50 lbs and should be relatively easy to clean single-handedly (and each of those must tubes will be about 1.4" thick, like in that Speidel video ;)).

    But if you want to put that same must through only three press runs, each must tube will weigh over 80 lbs and the 10-gallon must tube will be closer to 2.5" thick.

    Aside from the savings of water and time, I prefer the idea of fewer press runs for consistency, but once sequential loading is required (necessitating emptying the bladder anyway), it's probably not worth it.

    Nothing spent yet ;) but I may have the opportunity to team up with another area winemaker who has been renting Speidel 90-liter bladder presses for $200 / season and complaining about how difficult they are to clean (by himself).

    For what it is worth, he gets 900 lbs of grapes through 3 press runs on a Speidel 90...
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  18. Jun 22, 2017 #18

    balatonwine

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    1) From my experience.

    2) From Viginia Tech : "in general 1 ton of harvested grapes produces 100lbs of stems and 160 to 240 lbs of pomace ...". So, since I said and referred only to "destemmed grapes", so one can ignore the 100 lbs of stems. And if one takes 1 ton =2000 lbs, average of 160 and 240 is 200 lbs, and 200 is 10% of 2000, so 30 lbs expected from 300 lbs.

    I will add a tiny correction: one gallon of water weights about 8.35 lbs, but grape juice also has quite a bit of sugar in it too so will be closer to 9 lbs per gallon so expect about 700 lbs for the 78 gal of juice. That leaves 300 lbs for pumace, versus 200 Virginia Tech averages and not too far from the upper range of 240. So the two results are "close enough", in my humble opinion, and you can go with your calculation since your numbers are based on your experience which counts a lot (and anyway, always better to over estimate a bit here, after all, you will be the one lifting it).

    Does he use the bag insert? If not, then, yeah, getting grape squish out of the tiny slits is not fun (especially if there was any drying of the grape skins and squish on the basket (then get out your hammer and chisel**), which can happen if one does sequential loading). But those issues will be true of any of the bladder presses as they use similar basket designs. Best practice, for easist cleaning, is to press, immediately empty, clean (hose down well, minor brush work if needed), then reassemble and reload fresh, then press again.

    But, for transparency, my experience with the bladder press is limited to larger units (over 200 l) and to pressing and intermediate cleaning (as described above which left a pretty clean basket) to see if I should get one to replace my 200 l basket press (now there is something really fun to clean all by oneself....). But I do not own a bladder press myself, at this time yet, and have not done a "work is done" cleaning getting everything out of all hidden nooks and crannies.


    ** I am being a little facetious. But just a little.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  19. Jun 22, 2017 #19

    fafrd

    fafrd

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    Thanks for the additional detail - this helps me to see where I've been off in my estimates. For red wine, alcohol is lighter than sugar, so the weight of the escaping CO2 also needs to be taken into account.

    Also, if the virgina tech estimate is 5% of weight for stems, that's good enough for me and I will replace the 10% estimate I've been using.

    For commercial wineries, the lower amount of pomace is probably realistic, but for small home winemakers, the larger figure of 240 lbs probably makes more sense.

    So my revised estimate:

    316 lbs of grapes
    300 lbs / 35 gallons of must (8.57 lbs / gallon of unfermented juice)
    38 lbs of pomace (240/2000 x 316) filling ~12 gallons (3 lb / gallon :?)
    23 gallons of wine weighing ~191 lbs (8.3 lbs/gallon)
    weight of fremented sugar & released CO2: ~70 lbs [300 - (191+38)]

    So I'm now within ~20% of your estimate and if I assume that a bladder press will press the must dryer and result in 200 lbs of pomace per 2000 lbs of grapes, I get 31.6 lbs of pommace (and either a higher volume of wine pressed out or a larger weight lost to sugar and CO2).

    I'm a little confused by the weight / gallon of pommace - I would have thought it was denser than wine and would sink...

    Accounting for weight lost to sugar and CO2, I'm pretty comfortable that 30-40 lbs of pomace for 300 lbs of must looks reasonable (though would love to hear from anyone with an 80-90 liter bladder press - how much does the pomace 'tube' after pressing a full 300 lbs of must weigh?

    pretty sure he does - I believe it was the weight and unwieldiness that was the issue, but will check.

    What do you mean by 'squish' on the basket? Dried grape skins attached to the insides of the basket?

    I see MoreWine claiming that 45 minutes is a typical press clcle time with both the 40-liter and 90-liter Speidel bladder presses, while Lancman claims a 15-minute press cycle time for essentially all of their presses (40 & 80-liter fixed; 80 & 120 liter tilting). I would appreciate to hear from anyone with experience with any of these bladder presses to comment on what cycle time they believe is realistic for a single-handed operator.

    I'm kind of in your same shoes and appreciate your perspective. My #50 basket press works well to press up to a quarter-ton of grapes in one run, but cleanup is a bear.

    My primary motivation for a bladder press is greater control over press lots and hopefully more tannins out of my skins.

    But it seems as though one tradeoff with bladder presses is faster/easier cleaning at the cost of being smaller (meaning multiple press runs).

    An 80-liter tilting Lancman bladder press costs twice as much as a 40-liter fixed bladder press. For 900 lbs of grapes / 100 gallons of must, we're probably talking about 3 press runs in the 80-liter versus 6 in the 40-liter.

    If it's 45 minutes per run and that translates to 2-1/4 hours versus 4-1/2 hours, the 40-liter doesn't seem like a very attractive option (despite the savings).

    But if 15 minute press runs are realistic and the difference is 45-minutes versus 90-minutes total, the 40-liter press may be worth considering.

    My suspicion is that 15-minutes is for 'as fast as you can go' single-lot pressing (such as when pressing apples), and I plan to make press lots in 0.1 bar increments after 1.5 or 2 bar. So if your planning for press lots, fewer press runs is probably the only viable way.

    Any inputs from those with experience with these 40-80-90-120 liter bladder presses appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  20. Jun 23, 2017 #20

    fafrd

    fafrd

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    I have not been able to find any good videos showing the Lanceman 80L tilting hydropress being emptied, but did find this video of an 80L tilting press from one of their competitors: [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnd5NgZa4Ew[/ame] (emptying starts at 1:20).

    Also, in terms of the weight being managed, emptying these presses involves moving the pomace tube with the basket, and the basket alone weighs about 25 lbs: https://morewinepro.com/products/replacement-stainless-basket-ger104.html

    The virgina tech article says that about 160-240 pounds of pomace for 2000 pounds of grapes, or about 30-40 pounds if a half-ton is being pressed in three runs. So pomace tube + basket ends up weighing 55-65 pounds, which jibes with the guy bracing the basket+tube with his thighs as he swings it over to wheelbarrow.

    The speidel video is for a 40-liter press with a basket weighing 18 lbs, so basket + pomace tube weight is 31-38 pounds which can be lifted over the bladder very easily, but for the 80 or 90 liter hydro presses with basket+tube weighing twice that, lifting that off if the bladder single-handedly seems like a stretch.

    The Winemaker I'm talking to either lifts off the tube if he has a helper or he breaks up the tube and removes it from the basket by hand if he us alone. He says he is unable to lift the 90 L basket+tube off of the bladder after pressing 300 lbs of grapes-worth of must if he us alone.

    Is anyone doung that with an 80 or 90 Liter bladder press? (single-handed operation by lifting tube off of bladder)

    Until I hear to the contrary, my current take is as follows:

    40-liter fixed: easy single-handed operation

    80 or 90- liter fixed: easy dual-handed operation; troublesome single-handed operation

    80-liter tilting: easy single handed-operation

    120-liter tilting: easy single-handed operation (if can pull directly into a wheelbarrow)
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017

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