les avantages d'un (nouveau) pressoir traditionnel
The main advantage centres around the small quantity of grapes pressed at once. The grapes are subject to less internal pressure and the juice has a very short distance to travel through the compact mass of grapes before it flows out. The resulting wine carries much less debris (bourbes) which can rapidly communicate a green, stalky taste when present. Normal practise indicate that the day after a wine has been pressed it should be pumped into another tank to separate it from these deposits which form a thick mud several inches deep on the bottom of the tank. We have found that instead of a couple of 100 litres of deposit that we used to have with the modern wine press, we have less than 10 litres- so we no longer carry out this operation.
Another avantage is that there is no"rebêche". This involves breaking up the mass of grapes after an initial pressing so that on the second pressing, more wine is extracted. This is commonly done by chains inside the wine press that mash up the grapes on the opening cycle. This has a strong tendancy to extract stalky tastes from the stems and pips. The old fashioned vertical wine press does not do any rebêche.. Certainly less wine is extracted as is witnessed by the final cake which is still quite moist after pressing. Less is definitely better as the wine extracted at the end of the process under heavy pressure is not the best.
Finally, we have eliminated the screw pump that is commonly used to transfer the grapes from the tank to the press. Grapes are shoveled into the pump which forces them under intense pressure along a tube to the wine press. Many wine presses are installed on a platform 3 metres or so high so it is possible to empty the pressed grapes directly into a trailer at the end of the pressing cycle. This only adds to the pressure needed to transfer the grapes up to the press.The end of fermentation is a crucial time as the alcohol present will rapidly extract tanins. The pressure and the mechanical mashing up have a marked tendancy to produce stalky astringent tastes to the wine. At Domaine du Fontenay we have completely eliminated this by emptying the tanks by hand into small plastic bins and tipping these manually into the wine press. We believe that the extra effort is well worthwhile.