At Kay Brothers we utilise a traditional method of pressing out our wines. Our Celestial & Coq basket press was installed and ready for use in the 1928 vintage to replace older hydraulic and manual screw presses that had proved unreliable. For our winemaker, it is still the preferred of our two presses.
The press house was built in 1912 to house the original hydraulic press which in turn was meant to replace the original hand press. The baskets have to be prepared each year using paraffin wax – a traditional process that was also used to prepare storage tanks and fermenters for hygienic storage of wine.
Utilising a powerful hydraulic ram the basket and trolley are raised up so the mass of pulp and skins is pressed against the static top plate. This exerts pressure forcing the juice out through a course membrane and between the wooden slats in the basket.
The wine collects in the pan on the trolley and is run through a sieve before being pumped off to tank to settle. The resulting cake is removed, broken up and may be pressed a further two times depending on the season and quality of the grape material. The winemaker skill comes to the fore in the treatment and handling of the wine that result from each pressing stage.
The basket press reflects our traditional winemaking philosophy. The grapes are pressed gently, resulting in softer tannins and cleaner juice - as the juice is filtered through the mass of pulp while draining through the basket. Whilst this process is labour intensive and time consuming, we are confident it translates to superior quality.