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Winemaking methods

winemaking methods

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 winemaking 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 following this is the draining stage, which separates the peels 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.

Soon after, the juice is transferred to containers to begin fermentation. During this stage, when the sugar in the juice is transformed into alcohol, it is important to control contact with air, which causes enzymatic oxidation of polyphenols, and to control the temperature, which should 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 aging so that it acquires its characteristic aromas and flavors. Depending on the style of winemaking, racking may be preceded by filtration to separate 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 the grapes have been crushed and the berries separated from the stems and seeds, the must is transferred to 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 wine making, there is a maceration phase in which the skins are left into the must for a duration that can vary from a few weeks to several 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 higher than 30°C) and stirred regularly to ensure that the skins are evenly distributed 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 fermentation is complete, racking takes place, in which the wine is extracted from the fermentation vessel by separating it from the spent pomace. This stage typically includes a filtration, which is useful to stabilize the wine and prevent unwanted particles from remaining. 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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