Pressing Advice

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Jun 30, 2016
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So I am ready to press tonight, but just thought I'd pick up a few pointers from those experienced in this. I'm only pressing approx 86L (22 GAL) of must and have a #35 ratchet press.

It seems pretty straight forward but any pointers always help... someone had told me to line the inside of the basket with screen door mesh (helps with clean up he said?)

Do you guys have any experience/advice with either particular "pressing style"? Gentle vs heavier pressing, or aging free run juice separately, etc?

Could there be an "Average" yield considered for Cab Sauv/Cab Franc grapes, to use as a benchmark?
I have the same kind of press and never line the inside of mind. I guess it might help with the clean up, but a house, water, brush and Oxyclean always take care of it for me. I mix everything together from a basket press. I don't think you can press hard enough to break seeds. I can down, until I am tired of cranking, then let it sit for a bit and crank a bit more.

As to average yield, that is so hard to guess, it really depends on how juicy the grapes are. I always figure I will get 6-7 gallons of fermented wine or of 100 lbs of gaps, then lose about 0.5-1 gallon from the gross lees and that is probably a high number.
Is it imperative that it be strained into a carboy right away, and then rack off the gross lees into another carboy in a day or two? Or is it a good practice to just press/strain into a 5Gal Bucket and cover with airlock for that 1-2 days?

Or does it matter lol I am just thinking to get it out of plastic containers as soon as possible.
Done. Wicked. .996 and now under airlock. Not a bad yield of juice about 16 gallons from 22 gallons must. Close to 71%, and I didn't press like crazy.
So are you going to do Mlf on this? It normally is done. Don't add any sulfites and after you rack, in a few days, add your bacteria.

That's the goal. Hydrate with acti-ml and then mlf. After mlf I have a 30L oak barrel to try out which I was initially going to do mlf in but decided (after some advice) to oak after mlf since it's such a small barrel
So I racked off the gross lees a day and a bit after pressing but then got pretty sick and didn't add the mlb right away. Is there a period of time that would be too long to wait to add it or should I be OK letting it sit for a week or so. They are under airlock and the cap of the airlock is suspended in air so I'm confident there is some co2 in there protecting the wine.
I would assume it is unprotected until you add the mlb, so the sooner, the better but I don't think any great harm assuming you sanitized everything and you have minimal airspace.
You don't want to wait months, but a week or even two is fine. Less is better.

All you risk by waiting is getting the SO2 level up. If it is clean and airlocked, no worries. If you wait long enough it will start on its own. My rule, start all mlf by Thanksgiving and check for completion in late January.

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