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Time from crush to press

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DAB

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What is the standard/normal/customary time most folks allow the skins to ferment after initial crush before pressing? Five days? Six days? Two weeks? Not sure what metric or variable most folks use to conclude that it's time to press. Any guidance would be much appreciated.

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DAB
 

Johnd

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What is the standard/normal/customary time most folks allow the skins to ferment after initial crush before pressing? Five days? Six days? Two weeks? Not sure what metric or variable most folks use to conclude that it's time to press. Any guidance would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
DAB
It’s not really so much about time as it is sugar depletion. Most folks will get SG down to near 1.000 or just under before pressing. How long it takes depends upon the yeast you’re using, nutrients, temps, pH, etc. Had em go as fast as 3 days, as long as a week.
 

DAB

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Okay, thank you...good info. Unfortunately, I'm on the road and will not be able to press before the 7 day mark. Hopefully, that won't be too long. I'll check the gravity on Saturday morning. What are the implications of going too long?

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DAB
 

NorCal

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The timing of the grapes this year caused me to leave must and wine sitting for longer than I wanted. I think the juice/wine is somewhat forgiving up front. Assuming the fruit was good, I think it can sit for a few days after completion of AF. Mine did this year and then sat for 72 hours after pressing, before racking. All seems ok.
 

Johnd

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The timing of the grapes this year caused me to leave must and wine sitting for longer than I wanted. I think the juice/wine is somewhat forgiving up front. Assuming the fruit was good, I think it can sit for a few days after completion of AF. Mine did this year and then sat for 72 hours after pressing, before racking. All seems ok.
I’ve had concerns about waiting that long and always try to press before AF is over so that the cap is still up, making it easier to siphon off the free run below. Is there any merit to my concern, or was it no big deal?
 

NorCal

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John, I’ve always been quick to press as well. This year I really didn’t have a choice, so it sat. The cap held up, so I was happy about that, because I feel the cap provides a layer of protection from the O2. The wine is also full of CO2 as well, which protects it. One thing I did notice is that I seemed to get really good color extraction. Not sure if it is tied to sitting on the skins as long as it did, but I figure the alcohol acts like a solvent to extract the pigment, so the longer it sits, the darker the color I would expect.

I also had confidence in the must, because the grapes were in really good shape and they were crushed immediately after being picked. I don’t think I’ll really know until the wine has cleared and finished mlf, to know if it has signs of oxidation or if it is overly tannic.
 

Ajmassa

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I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. I’m actually in the midst of pushing the envelope myself.
I was low enough to press Saturday. And under 1.000 by Sunday night. But life didn’t agree with the timing.
My last punch was Sunday morning I think. Cap still in place now. Still bubbling away underneath. Grapes were in good shape. Plus it’s a lighter wine.
Pressing tonight. About 3 days longer than I would have. Not ideal. But also not worried. The cap and loads of co2 help ease the mind. Maybe I’m too laid back tho. I guess we’ll see.
 

balatonwine

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When to press is simply a choice. Sometimes it is a wine making style. Sometimes the choice is made for you due to "life happens" (been there, done that, probably will happen again in the future....;) ).

Some wine makers on purpose leave the skins to soak even after the end of fermentation, i.e: extended maceration. But doing so too long does require some management (e.g. CO2 applied over the must).
 

Johnd

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John, I’ve always been quick to press as well. This year I really didn’t have a choice, so it sat. The cap held up, so I was happy about that, because I feel the cap provides a layer of protection from the O2. The wine is also full of CO2 as well, which protects it. One thing I did notice is that I seemed to get really good color extraction. Not sure if it is tied to sitting on the skins as long as it did, but I figure the alcohol acts like a solvent to extract the pigment, so the longer it sits, the darker the color I would expect.

I also had confidence in the must, because the grapes were in really good shape and they were crushed immediately after being picked. I don’t think I’ll really know until the wine has cleared and finished mlf, to know if it has signs of oxidation or if it is overly tannic.
Good to know, thanks!
 

mainshipfred

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My situation might be a little different since I ferment in smaller batches with different yeasts, mostly juice buckets. I have been fermenting to dry and longer but once it starts nearing 1.000 I snap the lids on. I drilled a hole and put a grommet on each lid for an air lock. I know it's not perfect but it gives me a little comfort thinking there should be some CO2 protecting it.
 
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