Gal/Ton at press???

What are the high & low yield in gallons/ton at the press you’ve seen?

From a question asked in another thread, I’m curious to ask other winemakers & cellar guys/gals what are at both the high & low end of what they’ve seen . . . ???

Let us know varietal; I think we should include press wine, & feel free to keep different press cuts separate if you’d like.

Also note hand pick vs. machine pick. I’ve seen Cabernet Sauvignon stems that accounted for 9% of the fruits weight.

The first winemaker I apprenticed with 20 years ago told me of ~ 185+ gal/ton where he had been in Sonoma (on Zin, I think), & this is what was questioned.

Obviously the elephant in the room will be watering back (increasing yield), & maybe the baby elephant > Reverse Osmosis (decreasing yield).

Soooooooooo . . . feel free to change names to protect the innocent. neener

In my limited (5 years) experience on Long Island (NY) my small lots of (co-fermented) Merlot, CF & Syrah, I’ve seen a fairly narrow range of ~ 169 - 172 gal/ton including press wine on handpicked fruit.

Thanks & Cheers!


185gal/ton? You’d have to press so hard the skins and stems start to liquify. 150gal/ton (for Pinot) is a better estimate…you can go higher, 160/165, for big berries and/or hard pressing…can’t see how you’d get to 185 tho.

My experience is similar to Eric’s - I usually use 150 gal/ton as a rule of thumb. I’ve seen it get up a bit higher - up around 160 - and a bit lower as well. That’s been the case with Pinot, Zin, Syrah, Grenache, and Nebbiolo - they’ve all gone through the same (small) press with similar results. I think the percentage of whole cluster fruit can affect the yield too - tougher to press the juice out of all the berries if there are a lot of stems in the way. I suppose a different press may produce different yields too, and obviously a lot depends on how hard you choose to press. I usually figure 2 tons of fruit will get you about 5 barrels of wine, which is pretty much exactly 150 gal/ton. Don’t think I’ve ever seen 2 tons yield 6 barrels, which is what you’d get with 180 gal/ton.

Depends on the variety. Depends on the vineyard. Depends on the press.
Using our bladder press on Zin we can get 185-190 gal/ton from some vineyards. Some smaller berried varieties on our basket presses, sometimes we get as little as 110-120 gal/ton.

Thanks Linda,

That’s the info I was looking for . . . & that’s probably hand-picked Zin as well. Dayum!



And we don’t even have the ability to press THAT hard.
Out of school a friend of mine got a job at one of the large Constellation bulk plants in Madera, just north of Fresno. They press the shit out of the grapes so hard that what is left is like powder. Completely unrecognizable.

My rule of thumb is 150gal/T for the floor for Cab, and 135 in the mountains. But that does not include a 5-15gal/ton saignee, so it might be closer to 150-160 otherwise.

FWIW, in 2010 I got 155 gals from 2.2 tons of pinot (nothing bled) from a new vineyard.
Done in a basket press, we were all shocked by how little juice we got.
Best, Jim

something sounds off with that yield - what did the cake look like ?

Like everyone I have ever seen before - we squeezed it.
And you are not the first to scratch your head over this.
Best, Jim

Might have been a really low juice to skin ratio…or a lot of shatter…or both? I’m sure it’s a terrific wine. Too bad you got so little of it.

Brix ? And is there a correlation between low press yield (given a reasonable press) and quality ? My interest is piqued.

About 23.3; different blocks were averaged for this figure.
Quality is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose, but as mentioned, this was a very young vineyard.
Best, jim

yes, 180-190 is not unusual if you are dealing with ripe, well irrigated grapes. Especially large berries, thin skin.

No direct correlation to quality-except that the later fractions will be higher pH, and higher phenol (of all types).

I averaged 139 gallons per ton this year.

161 gal/ton including press wine for my '11.

138 gal/ton this year from Howell Mountain cab.

On the gallons/ton at press. Does anyone on the West Coast use press aid? Press aid increases the yield, decreases the time for each press cycle and drastically decreases the cleanup time. On the East Coast a lot of winemakers are familiar with press aid because you cannot press American hybrids (Concord, Catawba, etc.) without it. The cleanup time for a Willmes or a basket press is really reduced. I would hate to press anything in a basket press without press aid. I’ve always used rice hulls. Taylor used to use a product I believe was called Silvacel. They would get it in by the boxcar load. Press aid can really increase your yield without pressing at higher pressures.