Dry and thick Merlot cap

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Mazaruni

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Hi there wine folk,

Me and my spouse got free buckets of Napa Cab Sauv and Merlot grapes unexpectedly so we are making our first wine from grapes! I've done juice buckets and various fruit wines, so I know basic processes but not specifics about starting from grapes. The Merlot grapes were kind of the last left after the crush, and maybe a little dry because other people collected more of the juicy fractions. They seem to be fermenting OK but the cap becomes like 4 inches deep and dry after several hours and a little hard to push down.

Any techniques about pushing down caps? Just keep on pushing? My spouse wants to skim off the dry tops and throw them away but I feel like we should keep the fruit.

Thanks for your advice!
 

ibglowin

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Thats very normal and why you should be punching down 3-4 times a day during active fermentation. Its too late to order any special punch down tools for this year but if you have a potato masher of sorts you can use that. Many of us use something like this.

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I have a long handled stainless steel stirring paddle -- it's not the most efficient for punching down, but it works.

Some folks use a 2x4, although I'd pressure wash it before use and dose with K-meta (well, I dose ALL equipment with K-meta before use).
 

Boatboy24

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I searched for punch down tools, most are very expensive. This one is reasonably priced and the reviews are good.

That's the one I have, as do several members here. Works great for 'home' sized batches. If shipping is a concern and you're a Prime member, just search for "commercial potato masher" on Amazon.
 
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