Definition - What does Basket Press mean?
A Basket Press is one of several types of wine press used to extract juice from crushed grapes during winemaking. Wine presses use controlled pressure to extract juice from the fruit; the pressure must be carefully exerted in order to prevent the release of undesirable tannins.
The basket press presses the pommace down to the bottom of the grapes, extracting juice and keeping skins and seeds out of the must. This is achieved with a heavy, cast iron plate. The plate is operated using either a hydraulic or screw device. The juice is forced out though space between the panels of the basket or barrel.
WineFrog explains Basket Press
One of the first methods of wine pressing, the basket press method has not changed in over 1,000 years. They were first developed as a variation to the windlass and screw press methods used by the Romans. Basket presses became popular in the Middle Ages, though many couldn’t afford to build them. Instead, farmers and growers would pay to use the basket presses of the lords or royalty.
The introduction of steam power in the 19th Century revolutionized the basket press. The labour required to operate the press was reduced by the steam-powered mechanisms. The reduced cost of transporting wine, due to the rail road system, meant that more estates could afford their own basket press.
Now, basket presses are affordable. They are categorized as a "batch" pressing method, because every so often they have to stop pressing to remove the pommace and reload the grapes. Even though it is the most popular form of wine pressing, there are a few drawbacks to basket pressing:
- During pressing, juice pools in the center of the basket and needs to be broken up and repressed.
- Pressing force required by a basket presses is much higher than that of a bladder press; this means harsh, aggressive characteristics could develop in the wine due to over pressing.
- Cleaning and sanitizing basket presses is incredibly difficult and time consuming.
- They are very heavy and difficult to move.