Our ‘new’ pressoir

Today is a great day for the winery. After searching high and low for an excellent example of this particular model of pressoir on wheels, I was able to find this press which I will pick up next week! Photos simply do no justice in showing how beautiful this is in person. The press is a wooden vertical basket press, made around 80 years ago in Beaune by Cherreau. They made a great deal of equipment which I find truly interesting.

Those who have recently been to the Centre Ville Beaune exit from the autoroute will also notice that this is the same model. The only difference is that mine is not painted red…yet. Mine was last used two years ago and functions perfectly. Of note, there is a huge I-beam underneath the press for added strength while pressing. This is very similar to the press I used in 2009 with a few notable differences. The press I used last year had a ratcheting type of mechanism which brought the press head down, it also had 3 wheels so moving it around was tough. Last thing, the version I used last year was around 70 years newer than the model I just purchased.

Everything works just as it should. This is a simple machine. Grapes are loaded into the cage, with wooden blocks place on top to form a flat surface. The large handle is turned by walking it around the pressoir. As the handle is turned, the press head lowers onto the wood atop the grapes. Walking the handle around the pressoir further creates enough pressure on the grapes to compress the grapes, releasing the juice. With the amount of turns required, it is quite easy to dial in an exacting amount of pressure.

The wooden cage is in excellent condition (the split in the front of the cage closes once all of the latches are closed). However, I think it best to have a new cage built to my specific needs, possibly just a bit smaller. I’m really excited about this essential piece of winery equipment. Working with an older, fully functioning press is something I have always wanted to do. Please enjoy the photos. During harvest I’ll be sure to include video with it in action.

Just to give you an idea of what it will look like after some paint and a new cage, Robert Driscoll took a shot of the press in Beaune.

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