Definition - What does Manual Crushing mean?
Crushing grapes manually either by using feet, hands or with hand crank crushers are used for small vineyards that don’t not have large yields. These methods, while historically important to the wine industry, are not widely used due to their inefficient, time-consuming requiremets and unsanitary consequences that they have on the grape must.
WineFrog explains Manual Crushing
There are several methods that were used historically to crush grapes before machines were invented - hands, feet, and wooden/metal crank crushers:
Hand crushing grapes - typically used for 200-300 pounds, grapes are put into a small crate and smashed with a board or both hands, a wash board can also be used. The grape solids and juices will fall through the bottom to be collected, then the remaining stems must be removed from the crate before more grapes are added.
Crushing with feet - using feet to crush grapes is similar to hand-crushing except large mortar containers can be used to hold more grapes; several hundred pounds can be feasibly crushed this way. Grapes are rarely crushed by bare feet as they can stain/dry the skin and cause injury with the sharp stems, it is recommended to wear boots and use a hand rail for balance support.
Hand crank crushers - these are simple machines that are placed into a container, filled with fruit, and as the crank turns, the grapes are pulled through the roller system. All of the grapes can be crushed and the stems removed afterwards, the machine can also be attached to the container for added support.