The Wine Press and the Cellar A Manual for the Winemaker and the Cellarman – By Emmet Hawkins Rixford

An Edition from Scholar Select

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. The work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. You will see the original copyright references, library stamps and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work. Scholars believe that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced and made generally available to the public.

And I might add, this manual is available on I selected this edition to support the publisher, Andesite Press.

The Wine Press and the Cellar

This manual was published in San Francisco and New York in 1883, originally published by Payot, Upham & Co., and was one of the most important resources in the late nineteenth century for winemakers and grape growers in California. You may enjoy the tables and the various charts comparing California wines in the 1870s with those of other countries, making comparisons of alcoholic strength and acidity.

This particular edition has the library stamp of the University of California but a copy which we acknowledge could also be found locally in the library of Andrew York, founder of Ascension, later renamed York Winery in Templeton, San Luis Obispo County. 

The illustrations of equipment used in The Wine Press and the Cellar are extraordinary. The Wine History Project has several hundred items in our Collection of historic tools and artifacts used in winemaking, many identical to those found in this book.

The Preface and The Author

The author, Emmet Hawkins Rixford (1841-1928), writes this manual for all those who are planting vineyards but have no experience in winemaking. He provides them with the knowledge and experience of those in other countries who have spent their whole lives perfecting the art of winemaking and have had the benefit of knowledge derived from generations before them.

He describes the methods used in Europe, particularly in France, where the finest wines are produced. Dear reader, remember this was written in 1883 but you will find his knowledge and methods both fascinating and helpful today, almost 140 years later. 

Rixford concludes that the essentials of good winemaking, which include the treatment in the cellar, are everywhere the same and they only vary with the varieties of wine to be produced. He read more than twenty books and articles written in French and English to draw the conclusions presented in the manual. Rixford was confident that he had provided the resources for the California winemaker to be successful.

Topics of Interest

Rixford begins with gathering of grapes, the composition of must, stemming and crushing. Fermentation is an important topic, described in great detail before moving on to all the things the winemaker needs to know about “Red Wine” and “White Wine.” He provides summaries of the rules for caring for old red wines and for racking of the wine itself. His descriptions of the aging of wines include the treatment of frozen wines, the influence of light and the effect of the motion of voyages to market. My favorite chapters described the “Defects and Diseases” as well as the art of bottling wine and description of the equipment needed.

Grape Varieties Popular in the 1870s and 1880s

Rixford developed a number of charts on the characteristics of grape varieties most often planted in the late nineteenth century. The Mission and Zinfandel vines were most popular followed by Malvoisie, Charbono, Burger, Chasselas, Black Prince (now recognized as Zinfandel), Feher Szagos, Mataro and Lenoir. Many of these varieties are today still enjoying the attention of winemakers in San Luis Obispo County.