Chapter 2

Crush Pad Operations

(book excerpts)

Crushing operations are typically done outside, and in a commercial winery this space is known as the “crush pad.” How grapes are handled at the crush pad depends on whether a white, red, or rosé wine will be produced but also the winemakers’ direction in achieving their stylistic goals (and there are several). Grapes arriving at the winery are typically unloaded into a vibrating receiving hopper from plastic lugs, half-ton macro bins, or gondolas which in turn feeds a steady flow of grapes to the destemmer. Destemming involves separating the stems from the berries, as they contain very high levels of tannins which may contribute a hard vegetal or green flavor to the wine if the stems are fermented with the must. The next step involves sorting the grapes to remove material other than grapes (MOG) such as leaves, twigs, bugs, and also substandard fruit. Grape sorting can be carried out by workers that physically remove MOG on conveyor belts or vibrating sorting tables or by using automatic sorting systems. Following sorting the grapes are then crushed to break the berries’ skins in order to release the pulp and the juice. The crushed fruit consisting of pulp, skin, and seed is called must. One of the methods to protect must against the harmful microorganisms and the effects of oxygen is the use of sulfur dioxide. After grapes have been destemmed and crushed, the must is cooled using a heat exchanger. Cooling the must prior to processing will help reduce juice oxidation and slow down the growth of spoilage organisms and minimize the growth of oxidase enzymes. Once cooled the must is transferred to the press to make white wines or fermentation tanks to make red wines which requires a pump that can meet the flow and head requirements while handling the larger solids without damaging the product.

Click on the following topics for more information on crush pad operations.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • From Grapes to Wine
  • Harvesting the Wine Grapes
  • Order of Harvest
  • Addition of Sulfur Dioxide
  • Harvest Reception
  • Onsite Grape Sampling
  • Receiving Hoppers
  • Sorting Wine Grapes
  • Manual Grape Sorting Tables
  • Conveyor Belt Sorting Tables
  • Vibrating Sorting Tables
  • Automatic Grape Sorting Systems
  • Optical Sorting Systems
  • Vaucher-Beguet Mistral Sorting System
  • Density Bath Sorting Systems
  • Destemming and Crushing Wine Grapes
  • Destemming Grapes
  • Advantages and Disadvantages in Destemming
  • Crushing Grapes
  • Destemming-Crushing Options
  • White Wine Grapes
  • Red Wine Grapes
  • Rose Wines
  • Destemmer-Crushers
  • Destemmers
  • Crushers
  • New Technology in Grape Crushing
  • Grape Must Management
  • Grape Must Cooling
  • Strategies to Manage Dissolved Oxygen
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Grape Must Transfer
  • In-Line Addition to Musts
  • Metering the Quantity of Must
  • Dealing with Diseased Grapes in the Winery
  • Acetobacter
  • Botrytis
  • Management Strategies