Crush Advice

Malivoire proprietor Martin Malivoire (right) with winemaker Shiraz Mottiar. For crushing and pressing, Shiraz Mottiar espouses a gentle touch and a tailored approach.

When was your first crush (in the wine sense)?

SHIRAZ: My first true crush was at Inniskillin in 1998. It was part of my internship placement at Brock’s CCOVI (Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute) program. You never forget your first vintage.


What is crush anyway? Is it a season, or something else?

SHIRAZ: There’s crush season, and then there’s the actual crushing process. Crush season is the time between when you pick the fruit and when you’ve got your last bit into tank or barrel; the crushing process is when you actually burst open the grapes to get at the juice. The same day we pick the grapes, crush season starts. We’re all about preserving freshness, especially with Pinot and Gamay. Folks are still out there picking the fruit while we’re in the winery starting the crush.


What’s special about free-run juice?

SHIRAZ: Free-run is the first and purest juice. Vivant Rosé, for instance, is made with free-run and the gentlest pressing of the fruit. Crushing opens the berries, pressing extracts the juice. In a lot of wines, such as the Courtney Gamay, you want structure and phenolics, but Vivant is all about freshness and purity, so there’s no crushing. It’s anti-crushing. It’s direct to press. Most white wines are pressed right after crushing, whereas reds are pressed after maceration and ferment. We pick the fruit for Vivant Rosé in the morning, keep it really cool, and go straight to press.


Malivoire is known for its gravity flow process. Just what is that?

SHIRAZ: When we go from press to tank, we use gravity, not a pump. Our winery was designed with gravity flow in mind, and we use it as much as we can throughout the process. It’s gentler, with less chance of physical or chemical changes you don’t want the wine to undergo. The biggest impact is when you’re moving things between de-stem and crush and press – this is where you want to move things around as gently as possible.


What’s the best part of crush season?

SHIRAZ: The whole crush season is fun and exciting. I’d have to say, though, that right before you press reds, and you taste the ferment and get a sense of the wine shaping up into what it will be, that’s when you do your little happy dance.




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