How it’s made: The Crush

The crush is one of the messier parts of making wine. When the grapes come into the winery, they are ready to be de-stemmed and crushed. This is the stage on the winemaking process that most people have in their heads when they think about pressing wine, usually while thinking about Lucille Ball. For years, people had to do the crush manually by stomping on them. This gently breaks open the grapes and release their juices. Those of you with feet-phobias no longer have to worry. Most wines are crushed and de-stemmed mechanically now.

For a white wine, we will immediately press the grapes and ferment only the juice. This keeps unwanted tannins and color from leaching from the skins and seeds into the juice. We are looking to preserve the fruit and floral aromas, and the tannins will impart bitter flavors into a white wine.

These norton grapes are ready o be crushed. The harvest grapes still have stems and a few leaves that will be separated from the grapes.
These norton grapes are ready o be crushed. The harvest grapes still have stems and a few leaves that will be separated from the grapes.

Red wines on the other hand, we love those tannins. We ferment all of the must; the crushed grapes, juice and seeds. Most of the color is in the skins so we want them in contact with the juice to release that color into the wine. Fun fact: a rosé or a blush is a wine made from red grapes in the style of a white wine.

Will mechanically crush the grapes and de-stem them, no feet necessary.
Will mechanically crush the grapes and de-stem them, no feet necessary.

 

The next step is starting the fermentation, but we will leave that for next time. Making wine is a long process.