Press Fractions

Spoiler Alert! This post addresses:


Winemaking Techniques

2010 Monte Bello



Tasting Press Fractions with winemaker Eric Baugher
(also pictured, Regional Sales Manager Michael Torino,
Viticulturist Kyle Theriot,
and VP of Sales & Marketing David Amadia)

Press Fractions. Another way in which we extract complexity without adding artificiality.

Proceeding from the belief that the grape itself contains within in it all the native complexity required to produce fine wine, we have developed custom procedures and methodologies designed to identify, delineate, and preserve singularities inherently present within the fruit.

One such approach is the use of Press Fractions.

The premise is basically this; the harder you press (i.e. “squeeze”) the fruit, the more skin material (flavor, color, tannin, etc.) you get in the juice. Desirable to an extent (and in context), undesirable after.

Think of a towel. A plain old white towel. A clean white towel. Soak it in water, and let it drip into your mouth. The taste? Basically straight up water. Now, wring it out as hard as you can into a glass, and drink that. The taste? Pretty much straight up towel.

That’s pretty much how pressing grapes work. The harder you squeeze, the more towel flavor.


People often ask me, what’s the difference between an $8 bottle of wine, and a $200 bottle of wine?

There are of course many ways to answer that question, but one way might be this: In the former, a great deal of towel. (More volume that way, and more volume equals more bottles sold). With the latter, not so much towel.


(for a more detailed explanation of press fractions, please see: “Pressing Pagani” and “Winemaking Techniques”)

With Press Fractions, we essentially press at different rates of pressure. This results in separate juice lots showcasing varying degrees of structure. By keeping these lots separate, they can then be blended in with the free run juice to whatever extent considered desirable by the winemaking team.

What you see in the picture above is winemaker Eric Baugher tasting different press fraction samples, en route to determining whether any of these selections will be barreled and eventually blended.

(for a great inside look at how these decisions get considered, I refer you to the 2010 Harvest Report, which covers the 2010 Monte Bello that we’re now showcasing in the tasting rooms)

A procedural intervention? Certainly. But an addition? Not at all. What you taste is still just good old juice. Straight from the grape.

Categories: Ingredient Labeling, Monte Bello, RIDGE Staff, Vineyards, Viticultural Salmagundi, Wine & Philosophy, Winemaking

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