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First pressing

See under Pressing.

Term (also called pressing) both for the process of pressing the grapes and for the mechanical equipment necessary for it. Presses have been used since early antiquity, as evidenced by finds of several thousand year old artefacts in many ancient wine-growing areas. Among others, the Roman writer Cato the Elder (234-149 B.C.) reports about this in his works. Pressing is a crucial step in the winemaking process. As a rule, only healthy and physiologically ripe grapes should be used for processing, which is achieved by appropriate preparatory work such as selective grape harvesting. Depending on the type of wine, a decision must be made as to whether destemming (destemming, vine pruning) should be carried out before pressing, i.e. whether the grape skeleton should be removed. During pressing, the grape must is separated from the grapes by mechanical pressure. Depending on the type of wine, it is separated from the solid components and then processed further, especially in white vinification, where pressing is usually the first step. In red vinification, this is only done after the classic maceration.

When the combs are pressed along with the grapes, they release tannins (tannins) and pigments (colourings), which can be desirable for grapes with a strong fruit flavour or is common in red wine making, for example, with the maceration carbonique technique. The grapes should be processed as gently as possible by minimising mechanical influence in order to keep the undesirable turbidity (smallest suspended matter from berry skins and fruit flesh) and tannin content in the must as low as possible during white vinification. Modern cellar technology therefore tries to use the natural force of gravity instead of pumping to move the grapes and must. Each pumping process increases the trub content by up to 1%. In this respect, pneumatic tank presses are the most gentle.

By using pneumatic presses and frequent whole grape pressing, undamaged grapes are processed because the gentle pressing process does not crush the combs and there is no danger of too much tannin in the must. Depending on the variant, the grapes (with or without combs) are then crushed or ground, thus breaking up the berries and making it easier for the juice to escape. The desired intensity can be variably adjusted. An ancient form of crushing is to crush the grapes with bare feet in a container. This is still common today, especially in southern countries, for example in the production of port wine. The result of destemming and crushing is called mash. In red wine making, Maischegärungmash...

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