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Setting-up Your Crusher/Destemmer:
Cleaning the First time
Before using the unit for the first time we recommend using a Scotch Brite type, “scrubbie” pad (CE27
) to remove residual oil left over from the machining process. A small amount of dishsoap can be used if needed, but be sure to thoroughly rinse with water.
It is a good idea to run the crusher-destemmer a few times during the cleaning process in order to make sure that the entire interior of the unit gets cleaned.
*Note: Always wait until the workings of the destemmer-crusher come to a complete stop before reaching-in to continue the cleaning process (and in the name of safety, we recommend that you unplug the motorized units before reaching into them, as well.)
Using with the MoreWine!™ Stand:
Ideally a WE220
series crusher-destemmers are used in conjunction with our Stainless Stand (WE261
) especially motorized models. The stand holds the Crusher firmly in place and allows a 6 gallon food grade plastic bucket to be placed under the chute to collect the crushed grapes. This allows the stems to discharge onto the ground to be cleaned up later.
In the event that no stand is available, you will need to place the crusher destemmer on top of something, such as two sturdy garbage cans, that will allow crushed and destemmed grapes to fall into one container while stems drop into a different container or onto the ground. Motorized models vibrate and shift, so extra care needs to be given to properly securing them before use.
We suggest that you set up outdoors in an area that can be easily hosed off for cleaning. The crushed grapes invariably do not all land in your container and the surrounding area can become sticky.
If you have a motorized machine, always use a commercial quality extension cord. Your crusher-destemmer draws a lot of amps (amp draw varies by model) and a non-sufficient extension cord will cause the motor to overhead and blow your breaker. We suggest a heavygauge cord (14 gauge or thicker) available from your local hardware store.
Using Your Crusher-Destemmer
Rule #1 - Watch your hands!
Never reach into the hopper where the auger or paddle (depending upon your model) is rotating.
Never reach into the discharge end of the machine where the destemming bar is rotating at a very fast speed.
Okay - You are Ready to Crush!
Feed your grape bunches into the hopper on top of the machine. Some customers feed in small boxes or buckets of grapes. Some use a plastic pitchfork to lift grapes from a larger plastic bin. However you choose, it is always better to consistently feed small amounts of grapes into the hopper as opposed to dumping in a large amount all at once. Overloading your machine can bog down the motor and clog the destemming chamber. The machine will give you an audible warning that you are putting in too much at one time when it begins to slow down. Listen to your machine and adjust your feed rate accordingly.
Stems should be allowed to fall into a garbage can or directly onto the ground. Do not let them build up at discharge end (over the safety cover) or this will cause the machine to slow down and affect the quality of the crush. If stems do get bound up at the end of the machine, which may periodically happen at higher processing volumes, turn the machine off, unplug the cord, and remove the stems by hand.
Removing the Destemming Basket:
Loosen the bolt on the discharge cover and remove the protective shield. Squeeze the tabs on the side of the destemming basket and slide the entire basket out of the machine.
Wash everything down with your garden hose making sure to get the grape skins out of all spaces.
All of the destemmer-crushers designed for home use feature limited roller spacing. This applies to all of the personal-sized machines made in Italy, regardless of manufacturer. Over many, many years the Italian producers have found a gap setting that works well for most varietals.
In each of the machines, there are 2 rollers: one is “fixed” (i.e. it does not adjust at all) and is powered by the motor or hand crank. The other roller is considered passive (i.e. it is not directly connected to the motor) and receives power from the fixed roller. This roller can be moved slightly allowing for a small gap adjustment.
To understand why the adjustment is limited lets take a look at how the machine works. The fixed roller transfers power to the passive roller through white plastic gears visible behind the mechanical shroud on the end of the machine. If the passive rollers is separated too far the gears are separated to the point that they will slip, causing the teeth to chip or become distorted.
Additionally if you have a machine with rubber rollers the gap spacing will not be visible because the rollers meet peak to valley. We believe that if you have rubber rollers you should not be concerned about adjusting the rollers.
Tips for a Successful Crush
Clean and Sanitize before use.
Set up in a place that can be easily cleaned.
Set up the machine in a secure position before turning on.
Always use a heavy-gauge (14 Gauge or thicker) commercial quality extension cord.
Turn on the machine and make sure everything turns freely.
NEVER reach into the machine while it is running.
Feeding the machine in a consistent, steady flow will offer a better crush with less issues.
Consider using Silicone Spray (CL55) a Food-Grade Lubricant, on moving parts before each season. Adding a coating on the rubber rollers at the end of the season can help prevent the rollers from drying and possibly cracking.