Winepress Modifications

On the winepress, I needed to make some modifications to extract more wine from the must, to keep wine from splashing out and to ensure a good flow of wine into the carboy.  The first thing I needed to do was to increase the number of holes in the press basket to allow more for wine to be pressed out.  The previous spacing of 1/8” holes on a 1” x 1” grid was just too small, so I increased it to 1/8” holes on a ½” x ½” grid.  This created a lot more holes for the wine to flow through, but it did not seem to affect the structural integrity of the 1/8” HDPE sheet.
                The next step was to keep the wine from splashing out.  When berries would pop, they would emit a stream of juice that would get on my clothes.  So, I constructed a shroud of 1/16” HDPE in order to protect me from flying juice.  This is simply 18” x 18” sheets attached to the top of the tub on each side.  This should stop any flying juice.
                Finally, I needed to ensure a good flow into the carboy.  My main problem in my previous design of just having a hole in the side was that it would leak down the bottom.  Then, when I added a small spout, berries would end up clogging the spout, which would stop the flow.  The answer lied in a bigger spout/valve.  I was able to find a food grade ¾”” valve with, which I attached by drilling a bigger hole.  This should alleviate any problems with the berries getting stuck in the valve and it will keep the juice flowing.  Unfortunately, when I bought the valve, it turned out to not be large enough to pass through the ½” HDPE.  Also, it did not come with a nut in order to secure it to the side wall.  So, for now, that is being left out and I’ll have to live with the dribble.
                The only other thing I want to do (but haven’t) is to buy a plastic welder and actually weld the platform pieces together instead of relying on the RTV-108 to seal the joint.  The RTV-108 eventually peels off, so welding would create a better, more permanent seal.  This would require me to purchase the plastic welder and some HDPE rod, which will probably end up being about $50.  Not that much, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  I can also use it to seal some of the joints on the destemmer crusher which are now sealed with RTV-108.