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Crusher size, can you go too big?

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PaulFox78

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Have the opportunity to get a large crusher, and am wondering if getting a large crusher when making small batches has any drawbacks? We do plan to scale up, but will be starting with 12 to 15 gallon batches and are looking at a 50 gallon or so crusher.
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PaulFox78

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Yes, sorry, the press. It's actually 45 gallons which could be nice as we go a bit larger but wonder if it will have drawbacks when doing smaller batches.

Thanks!
 

JohnT

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do you have a pic of the press?
 

sdelli

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50 gal press is a pretty big size if you are only pressing 10 gal. I would say that a good rule is at least half the capacity of the press at min. But will probably still work.
 

jgmillr1

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Is this a bladder press then? To give you some numbers to work with, I've got a 450L (120gal) bladder press and I can put 1 ton of skin-fermented graped in it for a single pressing. This produces upwards of 180 gallons of wine. It takes about half that for pressing non-skin fermented (white) grapes which yields about 130 gallons of juice. It really wants to be 2/3 full to effectively press. Each pressing takes about 60 gallons of water. Also keep in mind that it will be heavy and bulky to store when not in use.

So, if you scale down those numbers by a third for the 45 gallon press, you'll see it has a much higher capacity than you need now for the 12-15 gallon range. You can buy a smaller bladder press that would be a better match to the scale of wine you're making. Bladder presses are much more efficient (and more expensive) than basket presses. I guess it depends on where you see your wine production in a few years.
 

Ajmassa

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Is this a bladder press then?
I assumed OP is talkin about a basket press. The drawbacks of smaller batch sizes in a large Bladder press would seem much more obvious. But in a basket ratchet is less clear since it seems it should theoretically work fine.
I’m actually curious of any answers since I have similar issue on smaller scale. With a new #35 ~50 liter press the 1st 2 batches will only be 100lbs each. Obviously more % surface area in contact with wood blocks. And perhaps seeds crushed more easily. But I don’t see anything too negative.
 
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jgmillr1

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The membrane presses can get up to a few atmospheres of pressure. The bladder press is limited and usually only 30ish psi
 

JohnT

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I think that we lost the OP.

If it is a standard ratchet/basket press, you can use "cribbing" to make up for the size (use a series of blocks to use as "spacers" between the plunger and the grapes)...
 

balatonwine

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If a basket press - as @JohnT said, cribbing solves how to press smaller batches.

But a 50 gal basket press is pretty large. If going that size I would recommend considering getting a smaller basket press now, and a larger bladder press later. Also, not sure if OP really means a 50 gal press or a #50 press (i.e. a 34 gal press). A #50 basket press with cribbing can handle 10 gal of output, and with multiple layered pressing (at worst, one clean out), should be able to provide 50 gal of post pressed wine/juice as well.
 
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NorCal

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I’ve only used a bladder press a few times. I was told it was important to only press a full load, so the bladder isn’t pressing against the basket, to avoid damage of the membrane. We would backfill the last run with previous pressings. Not sure if this is correct or not.
 
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