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Winemaking methods

winemaking methods

Table of Contents

There are different approaches and methods of winemaking depending by region, tradition, and the type of wine one wishes to produce. Some wines require more complex and structured winemaking processes. White winemaking and red winemaking are the most common methods.

White vinification

White winemaking is a wine production process that is mainly used for the production of white wines. During this method of winemaking, the grapes are pressed immediately after picking and destemming so that the grapes are separated from the stems. Immediately afterwards follows the draining phase which separates the skins from the liquid fraction of the must, limiting the contact time between the two as much as possible.

This immediate separation occurs so that the must is hollowed out of color, avoiding as much as possible the presence of tannins and anthocyanins, pigments responsible for the red color of wine.

Immediately afterwards, the juice is transferred into containers to start fermentation. During this phase, in which the sugar in the juice is transformed into alcohol, it is important to control two factors, the contact with the air, which must be limited as much as possible to avoid the enzymatic oxidation of the polyphenols and the temperature control, which it must not exceed 18-20°C. 

It is therefore important that the wort be stirred regularly to ensure even distribution of the yeast and that the temperature be controlled consistently, since fermentation is an exothermic reaction that produces heat.

Once fermentation is complete, the wine is decanted into wine vessels intended for its use refinement, in order to acquire its characteristic aromas and flavors. Depending on the winemaking style, decanting may be preceded by filtration  separate the yeasts (lees).

Finally, the wine is bottled and allowed to rest in the bottle for several months before being marketed. White winemaking is a process that requires a great deal of care and attention to produce high-quality white wines with unique organoleptic characteristics.

Red vinification

Unlike white winemaking, red winemaking requires that, after pressing the grapes and separating the grapes from the stems and seeds, the must is transferred to the fermentation vats with all the grape skins inside. This process happens because the must is almost completely colorless and tasteless, so it needs the aromatic substances, pigments (anthocyanins) and tannins in the grape skins to become red wine.

In red vinification there is a phase of maceration  in which the skins are left to soak in the must, for a duration that can range from a few weeks to a few months. The period of maceration depends on the type of wine to be made and the variety of grape variety, which may require more or less maceration because it is more or less concentrated in nature.

During fermentation, the must is kept at a constant temperature (not exceeding 30°C) and, as in the case of white winemaking, stirred regularly to ensure that the skins are distributed evenly in the must. During this process, the sugar in the must is converted into alcohol, and the wine acquires its characteristic aromas and flavors.

Once the fermentation is complete, we proceed with the racking, in which the wine is extracted from the fermentation container, separating it from the exhausted pomace. This phase typically includes a filtration, useful for stabilizing the wine and preventing unwanted particles from remaining inside. After that, a decision is made whether to bottle the wine directly, (creating a young red) or to transfer the wine to other vats, barrels, barriques or amphorae for aging.

Sources:

1. Four Goblets: “White winemaking”,https://www.quattrocalici.it/conoscere-il-vino/la-vinificazione-bianco/

2. Four Goblets: “Winemaking in Red,” https://www.quattrocalici.it/conoscere-il-vino/la-vinificazione-rosso/

3. Italvinus: “Methods of winemaking”,https://www.italvinus.it/it/content/metodi-di-vinificazione/

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