How to Operate a Bladder/Water Press

How to operate Bladder (Water) Press

  1. Press can be set up on a table; be sure it is sturdy enough to hold the weight of the press plus another
    100 pounds of grapes!
  2. Attach a garden hose to the intake line, which attaches to the press with a brass coupling. Attach the
    hose to a faucet. Do not use this press with air pressure, only water pressure!
  3. Attach another hose to the release line, which has a red handle. Lay out release line so water will flow
    out somewhere convenient (i.e., not at your feet)
  4. Remove lid – be sure not to misplace the washer
  5. Make sure receiving container is under spigot before loading press
  6. Line cage with green mesh bag if have
  7. Load must into top of prepared press slowly (don’t dump the whole fermentor at once) until just to
    top of bladder; if press is half filled or less, fill in space with rice hulls
  8. Put lid on top, place washer over lid then screw on until just tight
  9. Be sure outer cage is covered with blue bag or clean trash bag to avoid spraying wine
  10. Check that the top of the center is unscrewed; this allows the water to push out any air in the bladder
    as it fills
  11. Make sure red handle of release valve is closed (perpendicular to valve, see
    picture below)
  12. Turn on water to start filling bladder
  13. When water flows out of the top the bladder is full – screw down the top so
    pressure will build
  14. Monitor water pressure, adjust if necessary at faucet; you want around 45-50 psi for red wines, 25-30
    psi for white wines*
  15. When flow of wine slows or stops, turn off water
  16. Leave press assembled until wine flow is stopped or just a light dribble
  17. Cover receiving vessel, move away if possible
  18. Release water out of bladder by opening red handle (parallel to valve); it might leak at connection
  19. Disassemble press to remove pomace cake; typically you can just lift the entire outer cage off of the
    top and put into a container or bag, then shake off pressed pomace
  20. Repeat procedure until all must is pressed
  21. Put back together for another press, or clean all parts with water then spray with sanitizer before
    returning to Curds and Wine. When cleaning the press, grab the bladder at the bottom, slightly lifting it
    above the base so you can spray underneath to free grape debris. Do this all the way around, otherwise
    debris gets trapped. Do a couple of circuits around the base to be sure.
  • There is an automatic blow-off on the intake valve that will spray water if pressure gets too high; do not
    rely on this to manage pressure, turn down water at source if blow-off starts spraying or you risk damaging
    or destroying the bladder (and your wine)!