Whole Cluster Pressing: Tips from the Pros

Whole cluster pressing (foregoing the step of crushing and destemming the grapes) is most often done to make high-end white wines. The technique creates a more delicate and less astringent wine by reducing the contact time with the stems and skins. Jason Burrus is the Winemaker for Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, Virginia. He has a master’s degree in viticulture and enology from UC-Davis and 15 years of winemaking experience. Prior to moving to the East Coast, Jason spent six years working for wineries in California and three in Europe. We whole cluster press all of our white grape varieties: Albariño, Vidal Blanc, Viognier, and Traminette. We also whole cluster press our rosés (one is a Norton and another is made from Tannat, Petit Verdot, and Nebbiolo). Sarah’s Patio Red is made from 100% Norton in the rosé style. It’s meant to be a fruity wine with some natural effervescence and no oak contact. Because it’s not meant to be an extracted red wine, we whole cluster press it to accentuate its lighter and crisp qualities. Even so, Norton has so