If you dont have a press, Id advice you to ferment on the fruit and add maceration\pressing enzyme (pectic enzyme blend).
It will save you hours of trouble trying to extract juice manual. (believe me, it doesnt work very well and its a ton of work)
After about 2-3 days of fermentation the pulp will turn into empty shells (by the aid of the cell breaking enzyme) and can be strained thru a cheese cloth and lighly pressed. after 24 hours you should rack it from the gross lees (a layer of sludge at the bottom of the tank). this will produce better aromas.
Also, Think about renting a press or buying freshly pressed cider (during season).
You will need to measure the gravity of your must (will likely be around 10-12 brix, depending on apple sweetness) and add sugar to reach about 22 brix.
I would not use champgane yeast, You want a slower fermenter IMO that will allow you to ferment it slowly and cold (between 10-15c).
You can try V1116 (clasic fruit wine yeast) or D47. Cotes des blanc is also nice but its a bit fast.
You will also need to buy some yeast nuetrient.
So you are saying I should proof the yeast first? Just put it in 1/2 cup of water with a teaspoon of sugar for 10 minutes?
No, Just follow the instruction in the back of the package. Rehydrate in 37-41c water for 10 minutes sprinkling on top, stire and wait additional 15 minutes, slowly equalize temp (add 40-50% of the starter volume with cold must and wait 10 minutes before adding more if needed) untill starter and must are less then 10c difference and pitch the starter into the must. this will prevent yeast death.
My assumption is that I can always add a bit of sugar to kick up the alcohol production but if it's too sweet it won't be very dry. I suppose I can add lactose instead of sucrose to make it less sweet but just as active.
If you reach a point when it wont ferment any further and you still have residual sugar, you wont have wine but jet fuel. (15-16% alcohol).
You dont want that, you want 10-11.5% something like a light white wine.
You can let it ferment dry and add lactose to sweeten. (lactose is unfermentable by wine yeast). I suggest you do it before bottling when the wine is clear and ready for bottling.
Then, I taste it when I do the bottling and I can add some simple syrup at that time if it doesn't seem sweet enough. As I understand it, the alcohol at that point will no longer change so this is the final point to measure alcohol gravity, right
This can be done but you will need to use pottasium sorbate to prevent refermentation. 200 ppm.
You will also need to add Kmeta at a dose needed to reach 0.8 ppm molecular so2 (This can be easly calculated with a free tool called Fermcalc, you input pH, Volume and mol so2 needed and it spits out how much kmeta you need to add by weight).
I suggest you add to the crushed fruit\juice Kmeta (so2) at a rate of 30-50 ppm to prevent spontanious fermentation taking off before your culture does, this will also prevent possible lactic bacteria spoilage.
You want your pH at no more than 3.4, add tartaric acid or acid blend to get it down if needed (very sweet apples are often very low in acid).