Crushing Grapes to Make the Must

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Crushing extracts from the grape the liquid that will become wine. This step therefore determines to a large extent the final wine’s composition and potential qualities.
The substances important to wine quality are not evenly distributed in the grape. The stems contain bitter-tasting resins and are usually separated from the grapes as they are crushed. The skin holds much of the fruit’s phenolic compounds, both pigments and tannins, as well as most of the acid and the many compounds that give the grape its characteristic aroma. Like the stem, the seeds at the center are full of tannins, oils, and resins, and care is taken not to break them open during the pressing.