Grape Pressing History

Grape Press

The process of turning grape pressing history (or other fruit juice) into wine is known as vinification. The fermentation converts grape sugars into nearly equal parts of alcohol and CO2 through the activity of yeast. The process is critical to creating the terroir of any wine region, and it can be a long, complicated, expensive one.


In the Old World, grapes were crushed before they were pressed into wine, which is a simple procedure that changes plump berries into a soupy mix that can be easily fermented. The Vitis vinifera variety is the most common grape species in Old World wine production, but there are some native varieties of grape that have adapted to suit different climates and conditions.


For centuries, the most common way to crush grapes was to stomp them on the ground. This process can be seen in a number of artworks and other historical documents.

From Foot to Machine: A Brief History of Grape Pressing Techniques

Another technique developed in the Middle Ages was to use a basket press. These medieval presses were typically made of wood staves with metal rings, which a heavy disc pressed down on to force the juice from the grapes out between the staves.

Continuous Press

The continuous press is a type of press that was briefly popular in the 20th century, but it’s now obsolete. It consists of a screw that narrows down its length, little by little tearing and squeezing the grapes or pomace together. This separates must/wine from skins and other solids that can interfere with fermentation. The process can take a long time, as the press is refilled, squeezing, tearing and repeating until all of the juice is gone.

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