Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Pressing Engagement

I stepped out my front door to chuck something into the recycling bin, and my neighbor called out and asked if I wanted to help press some wine.

I’m no vintner, so I told him I’d take my shoes off and come right over. No, he said, the crushing was done already. Now we were going to press the juice out of the crushed grapes.


You pour the crushed mix of grapes and grape juice into the drum, which has slotted sides that let the juice run out but not the peels and pulp and seeds and stems.

Then you put a lid on top of the mash and press down hard.

Even the littlest one gets to help press.

It was a great pre-Hallowe’en project, because all that red juice looks very, very much like blood. We sent it coursing through pumps and clear hoses and into a big vat. It looked like a hospital transfusion, except it was in the driveway.

As with any creative project, a critical part of winemaking is mastering what to leave behind.

After the vintage was properly trampled out, we retired indoors and had pizza and dessert crêpes, all the more tasty for the hard work we had accomplished.

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