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Grape Press & Skin Contact Wine

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nhinshaw

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Hi all,
I had a question about low-ish cost grape presses (or alternatives).

Whole fresh-from-vineyard grapes are available now and I am contemplating trying my hand at skin-contact (orange) wine. I was thinking about going in with two cases (36lbs each) so there's more than a fair amount of grapes to crush through but nothing crazy. I'm not at a place where I should invest big bucks in a "forever press" but also don't want to spend on a total piece of garbage.

So my question(s) are:
Recommendation for a decent low-ish cost grape press (that will let me keep the skins).

(or) Suggestions for alternative ways of extracting the juice.

And if anyone has experience with skin contact / orange wines I'm all ears. This might be a fool-hardy adventure but one I'm eager to try.

Thanks!
 

balatonwine

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And if anyone has experience with skin contact / orange wines
I have made orange wines. Mostly I do it more the "Georgian" way. Which is to throw everything into a vessel and seal it with an airlock and mostly ignore it for months. A mostly reductive method. Literally no need to press anything when the vessel is finally opened; just rack off. It has its benefits and risks. Results can be wonderful or very disappointing.

One can also just treat the white grapes like a red grapes, and follow all the same procedures. I did it this way once: results was too oxidative for me (white grapes seem far more sensitive to oxygen damage while soaking in an open container).

Also, not all grape varieties produced a good orange wine and the berry quality needs to be top notch. Pinot Gris is used to make orange wines in Italy and Slovenia and that is the variety that I also found works well for me. My Welschriesling did not make a good orange wine.
 
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salcoco

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this month's WineMaker magazine had a large article on "orange " wine. have not read it yet bu should give you tips. also lots of web sites for building your own wine press with buckets and a tire jack. just search
 

stickman

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I have also been curious about orange wines, but haven't taken the plunge yet. From doing some research, it looks like the fermentation is much like a red wine primary, and the maceration on skins can either be extended or just pressed at dryness. It seems counter intuitive, but it is the more tannic varieties that may be left on the skins for up to 6 months, and during this time, they must be topped up to avoid oxygen.

Below was taken from Ryme cellars as they make several orange wines.
http://rymecellars.com/store/detail?item=2016-vermentino-his


Vinification
The 2016 ‘His’ Vermentino was fermented whole cluster without destemming to enforce the savory element of the wine and provide structure. The grapes were harvested at a modest brix level and were crushed by foot. The fermentation in contact with the skins lasted about 2 weeks. The wine was pressed to barrel and aged another 9 months.

Vinification
The 2014 Ribolla was all destemmed and fermented on the skins with a maceration that lasted 4 months. The wine was then pressed to barrel and aged for an additional 18 months. It was aged in bottle a year before release.
 

nhinshaw

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Thanks for the thought everyone that's very helpful!

Quick question: I've got the grapes (muscat) macerating now and just pulled off some juice to take a hydrometer reading: 1.070, which seems low for what is traditionally a "sweet" grape.

The trials and tribulations of making wine with a baby kept me from taking the reading right away so the grapes have been in their barrels for about 36 hours, would this amount of time be enough to impact the reading?

I'm interested in fermenting this to dry (I've no interesting a "sweet" wine) so I'm keen to make sure I don't mess up this part.
 

nhinshaw

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I have made orange wines. Mostly I do it more the "Georgian" way. Which is to throw everything into a vessel and seal it with an airlock and mostly ignore it for months. A mostly reductive method. Literally no need to press anything when the vessel is finally opened; just rack off. It has its benefits and risks. Results can be wonderful or very disappointing.
When you do it the "Geogrian" way, do you kill off the wild yeast and add your own? Let both go at it? Just rely on the wild yeast?

When you say no need to press: the juice will be fully extracted by the maceration and fermentation process?

I'd say I'm running with an amended Georgian but letting this batch kind of be an experiment--any advice from you success would be appreciated (or for that matter lessons from those batches that failed...).
 

VanMkr

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Thanks for the thought everyone that's very helpful!

Quick question: I've got the grapes (muscat) macerating now and just pulled off some juice to take a hydrometer reading: 1.070, which seems low for what is traditionally a "sweet" grape.

The trials and tribulations of making wine with a baby kept me from taking the reading right away so the grapes have been in their barrels for about 36 hours, would this amount of time be enough to impact the reading?

I'm interested in fermenting this to dry (I've no interesting a "sweet" wine) so I'm keen to make sure I don't mess up this part.
I'm no expert, but if you've taken your first hydrometer reading after 36 hours, a LOT has likely happened! Yeast multiply on a exponential scale within 24 hours, unless I'm misunderstanding yeast literature...

A lot of sugar has likely been consumed and hence your low reading. More experienced members are likely to chime in here. Standby....
 

JohnT

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Don't know if you are still interested in a cheap press (OP ask about one).

I would suggest that you try the "bucket in a bucket" press..

Here are the steps..

1) take a 5 gallon bucket and drill a "ga-jillion" holes in it (1/4").

2) place the bucket into a wash tub (or similar large plastic tub) this will catch the pressed wine.

3) place grapes into 5 gal bucket (the one with the holes).

4) place another 5 gal bucket on top of the grapes to act as a plunger.

5) place a board or a piece of plywood on top of the second bucket and sit on it!

TA-DA! a wine press that probably cost you about $20 and a trip to Lowes.
 

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