Whole-Bunch Pressing

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

white winemaking technique whereby the grapes are not subjected to destemming and bunches of ripe grapes are pressed whole, with the stems used as conduits for what can often be particularly viscous juice. This works best for very ripe grapes and would not be suitable if a period of skin contact precedes pressing since excess tannins could be leached into the must from the stems. This technique is almost universal in the production of top-quality sparkling wines and most other white wines from dark-skinned grapes and in the direct pressing of botrytis-affected clusters of super-ripe grapes as in sauternes. It is also increasingly popular with some quality-conscious producers of white wines in some wine regions since the juice that results tends to be low in phenolics and high in quality.