What are the major differences between red wine making and white wine making?
- White wines are usually pressed before fermentation while red wines are pressed after fermentation;
- Red wines spend an extended period of time in contact with their skins before and during fermentation, extracting tannin and color from the lengthy skin contact whereas white wines are direct pressed;
- Reds always go through malolactic fermentation and for whites it's really up to the winemaker to decide whether the white goes through MLF.
What does cold soaking do?
Cold soaking encourages a slow, long extraction of flavors and color (but not tannin) from red grapes at cool temperatures.
Tannins aren't meaningfully extracted during cold soaks because tannins are more soluble in alcohol, which is present only after fermentation begins.
What are the 5 overarching steps in traditional red winemaking?
- Pre-fermentation processing
- Alcoholic fermentation
- Draining and pressing
- Malolactic fermentation
What winemaking elements must be closely managed during red winemaking?
- Density and temperature of the must;
- Oxygen level of the must;
- The cap that will be created during fermentation;
- The duration of skin contact.
What is the typical temperature range for red wine fermentation?
What happens to the yeasts if fermentation temps get too high?
Between 20°C - 32°C (68°F - 90°F).
If fermentation temps go over 90ºF there's a risk the yeasts will die.
Why are red wines fermented at higher temperatures than white wines?
The higher temperatures allow for the extraction of color, flavor, and tannin which are the hallmarks of red wines.
Why are most red wines produced with lower levels of Sulfur dioxide (SO2) than most white wines?
The extended skin contact a red wine goes through will produce more anti-oxidants and lowers the need for sulfur.
What is the "cap" in red winemaking?
The cap is the accumulated raft of skins, seeds, and other grape solids that float to the top of a fermenting red wine.
What would happen to a red wine if the cap was not managed (punched down or pumped over) during winemaking?
If the cap is not managed, the resulting wine would be considerably less tannic, lighter in color, and would pack a less flavorful punch.
Off-odors would also develop as the yeasts need oxygen to survive.
What are some widely practiced examples of cap management methods?
- Punching down
- Pumping over
- Rack and return
- Rotary fermenters
What are some of the benefits of cap management?
As fermentation is an exothermic reaction, pumping over, punching down, and rack-and-return reduce the heat amassed during fermentation.
These methods also allow oxygen into the must and break up the cap.
Why must the punching down technique be practiced more carefully than other cap management methods?
At the end of the fermentation process, when alcohol is higher, tannins are more easily extracted from the cap and if not practiced correctly, punching down can result in an exceedingly bitter and rough final wine.
What is one of the key advantages of using a rotary fermenter?
Rotary fermenters continuously agitate the cap and juice together making extraction fast but, if the winemaker isn't careful, extraction can be too deep and intense.
Rotary fermenters are commonly used in Australia.
What is carbonic maceration?
Carbonic maceration is an enzymatic fermentation which takes place within the grapes themselves under anerobic (without oxygen) conditions.
Anaerobic respiration of the grapes will convert the sugars in the grapes into ethanol.
What wine region is most well known for its use of both carbonic and semi-carbonic maceration?
How is carbonic maceration carried out?
Whole clusters of grapes are placed in fermentation vessels with CO2 pumped on top of the grapes. The anerobic environment will start the fermentation without yeast by using enzymes already within the grapes, converting the grapes' sugars into alcohol.
How long does carbonic maceration usually take?
Carbonic maceration will usually take anywhere between 1-3 weeks.
What aromas and flavors will carbonic maceration give to a wine?
- Gum drops
- Red licorice
How does semi-carbonic maceration differ from carbonic maceration?
- Semi-carbonic does not use an initial hit of CO2 to blanket the grapes;
- Semi-carbonic allows a traditional, yeast-driven fermentation at the bottom of the fermentation vessel.
When a red wine stays on its skins after primary fermentation is finished it's called extended maceration.
What's the benefit of extended maceration?
This allows the red wine additional time to draw out further color, tannins, and other compounds from the grape solids.
Whether or not to do extended maceration is entirely up to the winemaker.
When are grapes for red wines pressed?
After fermentation has completed.
Malolactic fermentation is:
used in the production of red wines.
For red wine production malolactic fermentation is standard practice instead of a stylistic choice.
Do rosé wines undergo malolactic fermentation?
Malolactic fermentation is avoided for most rosé production as the crisp, fresh acidity of these wines is a defining feature of the rosé style.
What are the 3 methods for rosé wine production that are commonly practiced?
- Direct pressing (aka vin gris)
- Drawing off (aka saignée)
In the European Union, the blending method for rosé wines is prohibited everywhere except for this region.
This applies only to still wines, which is why rosé Champagne can be produced using the blending method.
If making a saignée rosé, how soon will the juice be bled off their skins?
Usually between 6-48 hours
Which wine regions are known for making rosé in the saignée method?
- Anjou (Loire)
- Bordeaux Clairet
- Tavel (Rhône)
At what temperature is most direct press method rosé fermented?
15°C - 20°C (59°F - 68°F)
What wine regions are known for making rosé wines using the direct press method?