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Getting a Better Understanding of Wine

Alcoholic fermentation : the juice becomes wine by the natural influence of yeasts which transforms sugar into alcohol

Maceration : the solids, the “pomace”, like skin, stems and seeds, give their taste and colour to the must

Raking : the “pomace” and the must are separated. The must becomes “vin de goutte”, the “pomace” becomes “vin de presse”

“Malolactic” fermentation : by the working of natural bacteria, the sharp “malic” acids are transformed in flexible and stable lactic acids

Ripening : the wine is filtered and transferred to casks in order to stabilize and come to perfection.

RED WINE

Crushing and destemming

The grapes arriving in the cellar are crushed and destemmed. https://doseofcanna.ca The fruits free their juice and pulp.

The must obtained that way is put in a tank to go through the process of fermentation.

Alcoholic fermentation

The fermentation tanks are generally oak barrels or stainless steel tanks, sometimes concrete or enamelled steel.

Fermentation is a natural process. Yeasts present in grapes (however the addition of selected yeasts is generalizing) change the sugar contained in the must in alcohol and carbonic gas.

The winemaker assists the action of the yeasts by maintaining the temperature around 25 to 30°C and ventilating the must regularly. Under 25°C the wine will not have enough body, above 30°C, the wine will be to tannic.

The fermentation process goes on for 4 to 10 days.

Maceration

This is the period during which the tannic elements and the colour of the skin diffuse in the fermented juice. The contact between the liquid (must) and the solid elements (skin, pips and sometimes stems) will give body and colour to the wine.

At this stage, complex operations will prove the talent of the winemaker (dissolution, extraction, excretion, diffusion, decoction, infusion).

For “vins primeurs” or “vins nouveaux” (new wines) the maceration is very short, the wines are supple and contain little tannin. Wines destined to be kept long need a lot of tannin, so the maceration can be long. It goes on for several days, maybe several weeks.

Raking

The wine is separated from the solids, the pomace. The wine obtained by raking is called “free run wine” (vin de goutte).

The pomace is pressed in order to extract the juice it still contains. This wine is called “press wine” (vin de presse). It is richer in tannin.

Depending on the winemaker target or the local habit, free run wine and press wine are blended or treated separately.

Malolactic fermentation

It is the process during which the malic acid of wine changes into lactic acid and carbonic gas under the action of bacteria naturally present in the wine. Malic acid is harsh, it is changed into supple and stable lactic acid.

This fermentation is obtained in a tank during a few weeks at a temperature between 18° and 20°C.

Stabilisation

The vinification is finished but the wine is not. To be able to age and to improve the wine must be clarified again. After that the beverage will be put in oak casks where it will stabilize.

The diversity of red wine is such that it can go with any type of food. But you must absolutely not conclude from this that all red wines are identical.

WHITE WINE

White wine is not really white but in fact yellow. But the expression being universal one says of a yellow wine that it is white.

Vinification of white wine is more delicate than vinification of red wine.

Two methods exist to make white wine :

a. The first one is to use white grape (which is in fact green, greenish yellow, golden yellow or pinkish yellow!). That way the white wine is the result of the fermentation of the juice of white grapes juice only.

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