The destemmer-crusher is to this day an essential machine in winemaking. It separates the grapes from their stems while macerating them into a pulp that is then pressed and fermented into wine. This one was probably put to use by the Pagani family early in the 20th Century, replacing Chauvet’s original wooden destemmer-crusher which may be seen nearby.
As grapes were crushed in this machine for making wine, the stems and leaves would be combed aside by paddles arranged in a spiral along their axis, and out the end into small bins for removal. Meanwhile the broken grapes would fall through the holes of an interior colander into the two piston pump that can be seen underneath the main frame of the destemmer-crusher, which further macerated the grapes and sent the resulting pulp on towards fermenting vats.
The entire operation was driven by a series of gears from a belt-driven flywheel, probably powered by a large electric motor. Equipment much like this can still be found in use in wineries today.