First press of Texas wine grapes at Bingham Family Vineyards happened last Saturday. Look at that liquid gold flowing, Muscat Canelli, on it way to Sister Creek Vineyards.
The cotton in the area is just now blooming and putting on fruit, but many of the vineyards have ripe fruit ready to harvest. Today we did our first crush of the year for a neighbor who is sending fruit to Sister Creek Winery.
We did use our crush presses during last year’s harvest, but many of the parts of this equipment are new this year, so I was asking a lot a questions as I took these photos. First, the new receiving bin was thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned. I was impressed that they had a scrub brush that was just the right size for cleaning between the auger rolls. And that they did that cleaning on their own without any mother around to remind them.
Here we have the first bins of fruit coming off an 18 wheeler, by way of a forklift, to be dumped into the receiving bin.
Then the next bin is loaded in.
And the next bin is loaded in. The auger moves the fruit down the receiving bin.
The fruit is then uniformly fed into the hose going to the press.
We are waiting on a connector to be able to hook up the input hose to the side valves of the presses. But for now, it works fine to just feed the grapes in through the top of our medium sized 10 ton press. We also have a smaller 5 ton press, and a larger 24 ton press. But then you can actually put more tons in each one then is listed, so I haven’t figured out yet why you can put 16 tons into a 10 ton press.
With all these hoses, I am not sure how they keep them all straight, but the hose that Daniel is touching is taking juice from the press and pumping it into the white hose that is sending the juice into the tall insulated tank in the foreground. And remember that the darker hose is the one which is running grapes from the receiving bin into the top of the press.
After the juice free flows for a while, then the press it turned to get the last remaining grape juice, leaving the grape skins to be move out with the trash auger. But I didn’t get photos of that part, so we’ll try to show that on a different day.
Here you can see two of the four large insulated tanks that we have close by. The chiller in the background on the trailer is rented for this harvest, but we will have our own chiller installed sometime soon. The chiller is able to reduce the temperature of the juice in the tanks quickly to provide the best storage for the juice.
The process keeps on going till the last of the juice comes through. Tomorrow, I’ll show you how it can then be pumped into a tanker and shipped to the winery.