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When to press?

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Doodlewine

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I am a little confused after reading morewinemakings guide.

It states that if using a hydrometer the alcohol may skew the results so a reading of 0 is not actually dry.

It says to wait for a reading of -1.5 to -2.

I am at 8 brixs with refractomerter= -2.0 based on their spreadsheet for correction.

I also took a hydrometer reading and I am at 0.

I am planning mlf.

Should I wait to press until I go below zero?
 

richmke

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Two unchanged readings a few days apart is when it is done. It should finish around 0.996 to 0.998.

No rush though. The difference is just a few days.


A hydrometer measures the density of the liquid. Alcohol is less dense than water. Water is 1.000 (what you call "0"). So when you have 10% alcohol, it will be less than 1.000.
 

Johny99

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I agree with the above. The important thing is getting it under airlock before it stops generating CO2.
 

garymc

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Sometimes I press at 1.010 or 1.020, depending on what the fruit is. Some fruits can release too much bitter taste from the skins and seeds if they don't get removed after a few days. That's why I have an airlock on the carboy. In such a case, I'll rack the first time from the carboy after a couple of weeks instead of 3 months.
 

JohnT

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When to press? Good question.

The answer is that it "all depends".

If I am doing a soft Riesling, I press my grapes immediately without ever crushing them.

If I want a rose', I will crush/de-stem and then press within a day or two.

If I am doing a red and want to keep it light, I will press at any time during the fermentation process (to end the maceration process).

But for a bold, full bodied wine, I will press when fermentation is all but complete (when the brix fall to 1 or 2).

What I am saying is that you need to keep your goal in mind and press accordingly. The only suggestion is that (like others have said) pressing should happen when you have at least SOME sugar remaining to carry CO2 protection for your wine.
 
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JohnT

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A refractometer... a boat load of money... and a bigger boat load of calculations.

a hydrometr: about $8, just as accurate, and no calculations....


hmmmmmmm
 

Doodlewine

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I have both. I started using both but soon realized the hydrometer is more accurate.
 

CryptoStorm

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You can get a refractometer for $20.. the calculator is no big deal.

The nice part is that it requires about 3 drops of must. Far less invasive.
 

Johnd

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I use both, refractometer for testing BRIX prior to pitching yeast, hydrometer calls the shots from there on out.
 

JohnT

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I use both, refractometer for testing BRIX prior to pitching yeast, hydrometer calls the shots from there on out.
Same here johnD.

Does that $20 refractometer come with ATC?
 

JohnT

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I think you'd be pressed to find one that didn't..
Boy, the price on them has dropped. I remember how 15 or 20 years ago they ran anywhere from $80 to $125.
 

Ajmassa

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I was always under the impression that you can press your grapes at any point in the process. And the timing of the press is decided based on what you want to get out of it. Though the majority of my info comes from the old timers and their "old style winemaking", so I take it with a grain of salt.
And there's a million different variables that factor into the decision. And this is where a simple home winemakers knowledge (at least this home winemaker) falls short. All the what/where/when/why/how to press for specific results. Especially when factoring in desired ph and acids.
And then all those numbers go out the window when finding out many storebought wines I love have levels that would otherwise be way high/low.
So without a winemaker phd I plan to continue to keep it simple without trying to take on too much to comprehend at once. Which is more easily done making a full bodied dry red. Which basically allows me to push everything to the max before bacteria or oxygen could jeopardize anything. (My grandfather only made whites and always pressed the day after crushing) and I'll be Focusing more on how the must is looking and tasting, rather than counting days or being hung up on levels.
I'm just going to press at the end of primary until I acquire more knowledge (or need to troubleshoot a problem, which is where most of my knowledge is gained).
To avoid potential infections I've also been told about the process of crushing, adding pectin enzyme, and macerating for however long desired, and then pressing, all BEFORE AF. Which would allow the AF to take place without the skins and their higher susceptibility to infection. This way sounds great on paper, but I think I would need to understand the process much more before I ever attempted to do it. I am always looking to gain more knowledge, but sometimes learning one thing just brings up 10 new questions.
 
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