Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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free-run is the name used by winemakers for the juice or wine that will drain without pressing from a mass of freshly crushed grapes or from a fermentation vessel. Depending on the type of vessel used for draining and the winemaking process, it constitutes 60–85% of the total juice available and is generally superior to, and much lower in tannins than, juice or wine whose extraction depends on pressing. Most modern white wine is made from grapes that pass through a crusher-destemmer before going into a draining tank with a perforated bottom through which the free-run juice passes to the fermentation vessel. In some wineries, free-run juice is collected by draining through specially designed, perforated-bottom screw or drag-link transfer conveyors which move the must directly from the crusher-destemmer to the press, bypassing draining tanks completely. Many winemakers boast of using only free-run juice in the production of fine white wines, but press wine, the wine produced by pressing what is left, may be useful as a blending element.