Now that the grapes have successfully reached the vinification center and have been sorted, it is now time for crushing and de-stemming. Crushing is a bit severe of a word for this process. The grapes are handled as delicately as possible, especially the white wines grapes, for fear of oxidation. Most reds are placed in a crusher-destemmer where the machine strips the grapes from their stems and lightly crushes them, breaking the skin to release the juice. Then, the juice and the skins are placed in a fermentation vat.
Whites can be pressed in whole bunches but more often a crusher-destemmer is used to strip the grapes from their stalks and break the skins. In most cases, the white grapes are immediately placed in a press to extract the juice away from the skins. Recently, some winemakers actually allow the juice to remain in contact with the skins at low temperatures for two to three hours to impart flavor and color in their white wine.