This thing is ready. What was increasingly bitter and awkward tannins have, like a caterpillar, transformed into a smooth, silky butterfly almost overnight.
There’s still some EA in the cap, but since EA is a surface dweller (it needs oxygen to survive), we scrape off the top 1-2″ before press. Then we let the free run drain from the bottom of the fermenter before shoveling out the grape must into the press, setting it aside so that even if the pressed grapes are still stained with a bit of EA, we’ll at least have clean, lovely free run.
But as far as we can tell as the actual press progresses, we’ve scraped off any compromised fruit: this stuff tastes and smells fantastic!