From crushing to must preparation
Where once the vinification phase immediately following the harvest was called crushing, from the act of treading the grapes with the feet, now it would seem more appropriate to define this as must preparation, an operation carried out by technologically advanced machinery that is able to replace the work of men. In fact, the term "must preparation" seems to have more ancient origins than those that attach it to the image of a machine. In actual fact, at one time Italian farmers called must preparation “ammostatura”, a technique of manual crushing that was carried out using a wooden stick, called a “ammostatoio” or “ammostino”.
Crushing the grapes with an “ammostatoio” allowed for times to be optimised during harvesting and transfer of the grapes to the vats where final crushing would take place. The grapes, crushed previously, decreased in volume, allowing more bunches to be placed into the same tub. During must preparation or crushing, the fruit debris that deposits at the bottom of the vat is collected and separated from the must. The must is actually defined as the result of crushing or squeezing of the grapes. The must is only able to acquire the characteristics and organoleptic properties of the wine at the end of fermentation which is achieved thanks to natural or selected yeasts.
Depending on the type of wine being produced, the operations may include crushing and stemming, pressing, maceration and racking...