The purpose of having a wine press is a matter of efficiency, not necessity. Grape presses allow you to get more juice from the pulp then you would by just squeezing with your hands or something similar. They do not help you to make a better wine.
For example, in the case of a winery, using grape presses make perfect sense when considering the volume of pulp they are dealing with, a no-brainer. A wine press will pay for itself in the time it saves and the extra juice that is obtained. But for an individual making 5 gallons of wine a year, it’s more likely to not be practical. Better off to lose a little juice than pay for a press.
On the other hand if you’re making 20 or 30 gallons of wine a year, then you might want to start thinking about getting a wine press. Not only do grape presses help you to extract more juice from the pulp, but they can also save you time.
Another thing to consider are the types of wines you’ll want to make. If you think you will be making something other than grape wine such as elderberry, raspberry or even peach wine, the amount of fruit involved is not so great, usually around 15 pounds for a 5 gallon batch.
But if your making wine from wine grapes, then the amount of fruit involved is substantial, typically around 80 pounds of grapes to make 5 gallons. So the types of wines you’ll be making plays into your decision on whether you should go shopping for grape presses or not.
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.