24 hours after bringing the press home and its all painted. I made sure to use odorless paint, wouldn’t want any wine taste or odor in the wine. Starting Monday, I’ll begin sanding down the wooden basket to see what it looks like underneath the surface. I’m choosing to keep the wood natural, without any sealants. Should be a lot of work, especially to keep clean, but its for the best…can’t wait!
The story of how I came to find the press is a bit interesting as well. I have been looking for a press in this exact model for a couple of years. I’ve come across countless examples. The state of the presses however were typically weathered and worn, rusted or simply just bits and pieces of what once was. Of course this didn’t stop the owners from attempting to get top dollar. These can fetch a high price, even in a terrible condition for several thousand euros since people use them as decorations in their courtyards, etc. Its a tough sell to convince your wife that you are going to buy something looking dismantled for that much money. So, I thought my dream of renovating a press was over.
A friend had given me a heads up on a website which has classifieds, leboncoin.fr . I went looking around, and hoped I would find something interesting. Then I saw it. Green, wooden, on steel wheels and seemingly in excellent condition… €450! I showed my wife and we agreed something must be wrong with it. But, my wife encouraged me to give it a shot. I secretly planned to anyhow. After given the green light, I couldn’t type my email to the owner fast enough!
We had to go nearly an hour North of Dijon to this remote location atop a mountain. The view was beautiful. I imagined the press to be in some ran down winery, or farm. What we came to visit was an actual French historic location. The area was once a meeting place for the knights of the Templar. There was a church which had old engravings attesting to this alongside a small body of water once used to baptize those from the church. This was also an important place during World War 1 when there was a great resistance here. There is much more history to speak of, but lets get back to the press.
One year before I purchased the press, the owner saw an ad for a press in a similar condition as his for €3500. It sold. He decided to sell his at €1500 since he said he inherited it with the house and really didn’t know much about selling presses and he had never made wine before. He posted the ad and waited. A full year went by without any response. He figured the price must be too high and he figured it best to just get rid of it at any price. He listed is at €450, the night that I first saw it. And once we saw the press, I wanted it. I attempted to wait for my wife’s response. It is an old piece of machinery after all. After a few minutes of staring at it, my wife again gave me the green light. A check was cut to reserve the press until we could pick it up, though the owner said it was not necessary. A few weeks later when picking the press up, the owner thanked me and remarked on the great deal I made saying that once it was sold he received a few offers for more money.He was glad that I bought it since he knew it would be used. He figured the others would use it as an antique piece in a courtyard. Its going to be very hard work using this press. What I hear from those that have used them is that they provide an unmatched level or gentle pressing. We’ll be finding out soon enough…
Enjoy the pics!