Monday, May 14, 2007

A Pressing Problem.....!

An excellent review of wine press terminology and types of presses available today, may be found in the reference library at WINE
As well an interesting article in the January issue of Wines&Vines discusses the re-appearance of basket presses on winery cellar floors. Basket presses use the force of grape against grape as opposed to grapes being pressed against a screen. This less grinding action
results in less extraction of harsh components from grape skins and seeds. According to some winemakers this results in higher quality wines.
While basket presses are still used in the making of Icewines,(scroll down to my Dec. 3 Entry) bladder presses are faster and more efficient. The first Willmes bladder presses appeared in the 1960s and resulted in a significant increase in German Eiswein production. Icewine grapes in their frozen state are as hard as marbles and require considerable pressure to extract their golden nectar. The bladder can be inflated rapidly and result in a fast extraction of the juice. By Icewine law grapes must remain in their frozen state while being pressed. So time is of the essence. The newer versions of bladder presses are gentler and operate at lower pressures so as not to impart harshness to the must but are also slower. If temperatures rise before the extraction is complete, the grapes will thaw and cannot be used for Icewine. One of British Columbia's best Icewine producers, the Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery in the Okanagan Valley, snapped up the old Willmes presses when the German Eiswein producer Schloss Schonborn, replaced their presses in the mid-1990s. So there you have it. Basket presses may be making a comeback but not in the Icewine sector.
As always my thanks to the world renowned Icewine expert, John Schreiner for his invaluable information on Icewines.

1 comment:

David said...

interesting post, as usual!