Known as pigeage in French and follatura in Italian, punching down the cap of floating skins, seeds and stems that rise to the top of the fermenting must, at least twice a day, is crucial for leaching every drop of vital flavors and polyphenols and keeping unwanted nasty molds from growing. I do it 4 times a day, very very gently to keep the whole grapes, which are undergoing a different kind of enzyme driven fermentation (carbonic maceration), from breaking apart.
The first shot was day 1. Here is what it looks like on day 5 of being "on the skins."
It's kind of fun, like playing with your food or making mud pies. My arm gets all purple. And the room fills with the headiest aroma of yeast and grapes and cherries!
Nice color extraction!