Given our increasing crop yields, our four-tonne Coquard grape press was not sufficient to cope with the upcoming harvest, so we ordered a new eight-tonne press to give us sufficient capacity to allow us to process more fruit in a day. In previous harvests, our picking window has been less than two weeks, so with increasing yields over the next few years we’ll continue to grow and add new presses until we have a total of four eight-tonne presses.
The presses are located under a canopy that protects them from the rain (that is, when the wind is not blowing from the east!). So unfortunately there isn’t enough vertical clearance to simply use a crane to lift the press into place. In the absence of the protecting canopy, it would have been way too easy and, hey, we like a challenge! We ended up having to unload the press at the back-end of the winery and pushed it all the way through to the front of the building. The press weighs about thirteen tonnes and it is a large item. Even though the installers were confident that we would be able to get it through, we still had a few moments of anxiety when the press got into a tight spot:
When the press finally made it to the front of the cellar, it was 6.5 meter below its intended location, because when we press we allow the juice to flow via a gravity system down to the cellar. Surprisingly, when the press made it to below its opening in the concrete slab, lifting it up the 6.5 meters ended up being the fastest part of the operation (but an equally adrenaline-pumping one!). To lift the press, there was scaffolding and two enormous beams on which were mounted four hoists, one for each corner of the press.
Once the press was up in the air and in place over the hole, the brackets that support the unit were installed, the press was gently dropped into place, et voilà – job done, with only a few more grey hairs earned in the process as there was minimal room for error.
All of that was accomplished in just a few hours. Now we feel better knowing that when our next two presses get delivered, installing them should go as smoothly… or, will it?
Looking forward to Harvest!!
We are very grateful for the support and financial contribution from the WARR Leader partnership towards the procurement of the new press. Helping us create jobs in the local rural area.