Pressing Small Batches


This is the simplest and least expensive method for pressing off red wine fermented from small lots of grapes or from a couple of pails of Brehm Vineyards frozen must.


This step will require:

  • Two Buckets (FE340 & FE345)
  • Plastic Carboy (FE314)
  • Glass Jar (FE300)
  • Both Stoppers, #6 and #10 (FE420 & FE470)
  • Both Airlocks (FE370)
  • 24”x24” Mesh Bag (BAG24)
  • 4’ length of 3/8” Tubing (R320)
  • Punch down tool (WE531)

Once fermentation is over for a red must, you will need to separate the wine from all of the solids.  This process is called pressing and on a larger scale would require the use of a wine press.  However, for this small amount you can get by with just a bucket, a mesh bag, some tubing and your punch down tool.

Start, as always, by mixing up a bucket of sanitizer in the bucket w/out the spigot. Place the stoppers, airlocks, tubing, your punch-down tool and mesh bag in the sanitizer.  Remove the spigot from the other bucket and add it to the sanitizer along with the nut and washer that came off with it. Sanitize the Carboy and the Glass Jar, and seal them up with the stoppers and airlocks full of sanitizer.  Finally, sanitize the bucket with the spigot, reattaching the spigot when you’re finished.

Place the bucket on a level surface a few feet off the ground.  A chair works very well for this and you can use towels under the bucket to help level it.  Position the Carboy under the spigot of the bucket (make sure the spigot is open) and toss the stopper and airlock back in the sanitizer bucket. Slip the 3/8” tubing over the end of the spigot so that the other end hangs down to the bottom of the Carboy. Next line the bucket with the mesh bag, folding the top back over the rim of the bucket to hold the bag in place.  

Using a sanitized bowl, pitcher or small bucket, start transferring your must over to the bucket.  You will see the juice start to run out of the spigot and into the Carboy.  Continue to transfer must to the bucket until it is about 1/3 full of solids.  Fold the bag inside the bucket and use your punch down tool to press down on the solids, squeezing out the wine that is trapped in them.  Be careful not to press so hard as to break the seeds as this can lend a harsh flavor to the wine.  When you’ve extracted all the wine that you feel that you can, or that you care to, pull the bag out of the bucket and empty it.  These skins make great compost, but be careful as the seeds in the pressed solids are still quite viable – depending on where you dump the solids you could wind up with grapevines! Repeat this process until you have emptied the fermenter.  Please note that between the Carboy and the 1gal Glass Jar you have room for 7gal of liquid.  You may yield up to 8.5gal of liquid from 2 pails of Brehm must, so you may want to invest in a second glass jar, stopper and airlock. As each container fills, seal it off with a stopper and airlock.   Try to maintain only about 1-2” of space between the surface of the wine and the bottom of the stopper.

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