Separation and Pressing

After the maceration step, or in the case of most white wines, almost immediately after crushing, the juice is separated from the seeds, skins, and pulp (collectively referred to as the pomace). For red wines, some fermentation will have already occurred prior to the separation step, whereas for white wine, fermentation follows the separation and clarification steps. The juice that separates from the pomace simply by gravitational forces is called the "free run." Screens are typically used to catch any large particles.The free run juice is pumped into vats or barrels.

Since the free run juice contains less than 75% of the total juice volume and the rest is present within the pomace, the latter is usually pressed to recover the remaining juice. Several types of presses and configurations are used. Hydraulic or pneumatic wine presses squeeze the juice from the pomace. Screw- or auger-type devices force the juice against perforated cylinder walls and have the additional advantage of being continuous. The so-called first press juice can be collected and either added back to the free run juice or kept as a separate portion.The free run fraction is considered to have an appreciably higher quality and is used for premium wines. Juices containing mixtures of free run and pressed fractions are used for lower quality wines. Finally, for white wine, the juice is clarified to remove any remaining solids. Clarification is done via either settling and decantation, filtration, or centrifugation.

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