How to Choose a Wine Grape Press! (MoreWine!)

Bladder Wine Press

There are basically two types of wine press in the world: Basket Presses (also called Ratchet Presses) and Bladder Presses. 

The essential concept behind a wine press is to separate the juice or fermented wine (depending on if you’re doing reds or whites) from the skins, seeds and pulp that make up the solid parts of the grape. This is done by squeezing (rather than, say, using a centrifuge…).

Customers will basically be choosing between the nicer features of a bladder press or the low price of a basket press, then selecting the appropriate size for their needs. 

We love bladder presses.  Let’s take a closer look at why.

Bladder presses have several distinct advantages over basket presses.  To see the most important difference you need to understand the basic way the two different styles of press function.  We’ll go over them in broad strokes below.

Basket Presses: Basket Presses work by squeezing the grapes or must from the top and bottom.  The must or whole bunches of grapes are placed inside the wooden basket until it is pretty full, then two half-moon shaped blocks of wood are set on top of the fruit. 2″x2″ blocks are then stacked on top of the moons log cabin style until they reach out above the height of the top of the basket. An iron ratcheting assembly (hence the name “ratchet press”) is threaded down the center shaft of the press until it  settles against the wood blocks.  Then a handle is inserted in the ratchet assembly and used to push the wooden blocks down on top of the press with a ratcheting motion.  By nature working this way yields one of two results: 1) In order to get every last drop of wine/juice out of the grapes the customer ratchets down pretty hard on the fruit. This causes extra pressure to be put on the seeds and any stems present, extracting harsh or bitter flavors into the wine; or 2) In order to avoid these undesirable flavors the customer does not ratchet down so hard on the fruit.  As a result they leave behind perfectly good wine or juice.

Bladder Presses: Bladder Presses work by squeezing the must or grapes from the inside (center of the press) outward.  As a result of this the entire lot of fruit receives the same amount of pressure during pressing, meaning the customer does not have to choose between maximum yield and maximum quality.   Additionally, bladder presses are faster to run per press cycle. That means that the customer can purchase a smaller press then they would need to with a basket press and simply run it more times in a day, which in turn means that the press is easier to store the rest of the year. Bladder presses are also easier to use and to move around. The ratcheting of a basket press gets pretty tiring after a while, and the component parts of the press are all very heavy and unwieldy. Overall the bladder press is a much more user-friendly experience. A word about Speidel Brand Bladder Presses: Speidel was the original inventor of the bladder press and is the only German manufacturer.  All the other bladder presses available in the market are made in Italy. There are a few key differences between the Italian and the German presses:

Read more…

Scroll to Top