Crush And Destem Your Grapes Like A Pro

Motorized Crusher DestemmerPerhaps you’ve been making homemade wine from juice or other fruits up until now, and you’ve recently decided that you would like to start making wine from grapes.  It is important to know your options in regards to how you plan to process your grapes, so you don’t end up with green or other off flavors from the grape stems and other debris.

We’ve already covered grape presses in another post, but I’ll briefly remind you that a grape press is a piece of equipment required to actually press the grapes to extract the juice from the fruit.  It is certainly a piece of equipment you’ll need for making wine from grapes, but for the purposes of today’s post, we’re going to focus primarily on the grape destemmer.

Prior to using the grape press, you first need to destem your grapes, as well as get rid of any leaves, bugs, or any other debris that may be hanging on for dear life to the grapes. There are basically two ways you can do that: 1) using an motorized grape destemmer; and 2) using a manual grape destemmer.

The Marchisio Crusher & Destemmer is a motorized grape stemmer that allows you to process up to 2,200 pounds of grapes per hour.  Basically, there is a set of rollers that act to gently crush the grapes in order to loosen the stem from the skin of the grape.  Then, the crushed grapes are passed through the grape destemmer, which effectively removes up to 90% of the stems that were loosened from the grapes by the crusher.  Finally, the stems are separated from the juice and pulp of the grapes by being discarded out to the side of the destemmer, while the pulp and juice remains at the bottom.

The manual grape destemmer is a very similar product as the motorized version, and crushes the grapes in a very similar fashion.  However, the main difference between the two grape destemmers is that the manual version is powered by a crank wheel powered by human force, whereas the motorized grape destemmer is powered by a machine.  If you’re looking to save a little money or perhaps add a little extra “elbow grease” into your winemaking experience, the manual grape destemmer may be the best option for you.

Crushing and destemming is very important for making wine with grapes, and must be done in a certain manner so that you do not over extract your grapes to reveal too much bitter tannin or potentially green flavors if the grapes aren’t fully seed ripened.  Choosing the appropriate grape destemmer for you will put you well on your way to making a quality wine from grapes.
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

4 thoughts on “Crush And Destem Your Grapes Like A Pro

  1. The above info. about electric distempers was very helpful. However
    the comment that there are manual distempers was a welcome surprise
    to me. I will go about finding about them. I will never have enough grapes to need an electrical distemper.

  2. I only make small batches of wine, 1 – 6 gallons at a time. We have a small tomato press that works wonderfully for the amount of fruit I use. It is hand cranked. I run the grapes and then re-run the pulp a second time and there is very little good stuff wasted!!!

  3. no press is required for good wine. 2 years ago I bought 3 cases of Petit Sirrah [108lbs], crushed them with a manual crusher into a 10 gal tub from Lowes lined with a food-grade bag & put on top of a freezer to forment [heated by freezer] for 2 weeks. then I siffoned it off into demi-johns to sit for a few months. I used strainers to press the rest. was a great dark wine!!

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